Vancouver Island Paleontological Society AGM, discussion on forest plants Saturday afternoon

The marine fossils of Vancouver Island have been well showcased over the past 30 years since the discovery of the elasmosaur in the Puntledge River and the rising interest in paleontology in B.C.

However, there is another story that has received less notoriety. That is the story about the ancient forests that lined this ancient shoreline, and the diversification of plant fossils from the Cretaceous and Paleogene rocks on Vancouver Island.

Randal Mindell, paleo-botanist, will provide insight into this forest, the delicate mosses, ancient dogwoods, alien cycadeoids and the early records of flowering plants. The occurrence of this shoreline forest alongside marine organisms suggests a convoluted journey from the margins of an ancient coastline to the bottom of the sea. The preservation of these plants is remarkable and gives us an idea of what the terrestrial forest and upland wetlands looked like.

What other plants made up this ancient forest, what animals lived in this forested area, what was the paleo-climate like to support these plants and how big was this forested land mass?

At the recent BCPA symposium in Courtenay, David Smith, a vertebrate paleontologist from the Royal Ontario Museum and a leading expert on the hadrosaur, confirmed the fossil bones found in the Trent River were from a hadrosaur. This new discovery changes the way we look at the exotic terrain called Wangellia that makes up part of the Nanaimo Basin where we find fossils and deepens the interest of its origin.

North Island College students welcome.

Come to the Courtenay Museum Saturday, March 2 and learn more about the ancient forest plants. Meet the elasmosaur, voted as B.C.’s provincial fossil. The lecture will start at 1:30 p.m. and will be followed by the Vancouver Island Paleontological Society’s AGM at 3 p.m. All members come at 1 p.m. to renew your membership.

For more information, contact Dan Bowen, chair VIPS, 250-897-5026.

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