Courtenay and district Museum hosts Paleontological Society AGM

What do ratfish, vampire squids, dumbo octopi, and giant sea monsters all have in common?

What do ratfish, vampire squids, dumbo octopi, and giant sea monsters all have in common?

They will attend the AGM of the Vancouver Island Paleontological Society (VIPS) at the Courtenay and district Museum on April 13 from 1 to 3 p.m.

What they do have in common is the fact that they all represent new species of animals discovered in the local fossil beds. These fossils represent animals previously unknown to science. Guest lecturer Pat Trask will help put these new discoveries into prospective with and illustrated talk.

VIPS president Dan Bowen notes that many of the discoveries were made by members of the Vancouver Island Paleontological Society and others, who have donated many of them to science and some of the type specimens are now held at the Courtenay Museum.

Through these efforts science has benefited by the writing of many scientific papers. The museum’s large and growing inventory of fossils contains the remains of turtles, mosasaurs, elasmosaurs, ammonites, crabs, bivalves and fish to name a few that were part of the ancient ocean.

One fossil that our VIPS members collected over the years were aptychi, or the jaws of ammonites that are similar to our present day octopus. Over 30 specimens were donated to the museum years ago and recently scientists from Japan travelled to Courtenay to study them. The results were two new species of octopods.

The museum has recently expanded the paleontological exhibits and created a new layout to accommodate the 13-metre Tylosaur, a large marine reptile and showcases the fossil jaws and teeth of a Tylosaur fossil found during the construction of the new Inland Highway.

You are invited to step back in time to glimpse at the marine environment and the species that inhabited it.

After the lecture, Trask will be available to provide a tour of the new exhibits.

— Courtenay and District Museum

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