Talks & Field Trips Schedule 2019

VanPS Talks:

Wednesday, September 18, 2019 at 7:00 pm
Location: Vancouver Public Library, Kitsilano Branch
2425 MacDonald Street, Vancouver

Speaker: TBC

Topic: TBC

If you have fossils you would like to discuss or to have identified, please bring them along!


2019 VanPS Field Trips:

Field trips run March - October

Please note: Field trips are free, however participation requires membership and a signed waiver form. Younger members, accompanied by a responsible adult, are welcome on our field trips.
Pets are not allowed as they complicate our insurance coverage.


When and where are the meetings usually held?


Everyone is encouraged to become a member. The membership fee is Can$30 per individual or family.
If you would like to attend our field trips, a membership is required.


All VanPS members are also invited to attend other BC Paleontological Alliance (BCPA) society field trips. Please note that you need to be a paid-up VanPS member to participate, and will need to sign a field trip participation waiver.

Vancouver Island Paleontological Society Field Trips

The Vancouver Island Paleontological Society (VIPS) is a non-profit society of professional and amateur paleontologists based in Courtenay, BC. For information about their field trips, please contact VIPS President Dan Bowen at 250-897-5026.

Please note: all VanPS members are bound by our Code of Ethics and the BCPA Policy on Fossil Collecting.

  1. A reminder to VanPS and BCPA members that all paleo finds should be collected and catalogued appropriately, and that all finds of scientific interest should be brought forward and offered to the professionals working in the area. Please keep accurate records so that data is not lost to science because of an oversight

  2. If members have fossils they have not been able to prep, label, and store in a way that will make them easily accessible to science, they should ask for help so that this can be done in a reasonable amount of time. We will gladly help you with labelling and organizing your finds from VanPS field trips so that important data is not lost.


Past Lectures and Events

May 15, 2019

Speaker: George Gough, M.Sc.

Topic: Ancient Forces and Ancient Life in the Salton Trough of Southern California

VanPS member George Gough spoke about his experience as a certified paleontology volunteer of the California State Paleontology Society in Anza Borrego Desert State Park. George talked about the very unique features of the Park and the the rich diversity of plant and animal life that flourished in the Salton basin of Southern California during ancient times. He also talked about the evolution of mammoths, camels and horses.

March 20, 2019

Speaker: Rhy McMillan, PhD Candidate, Pacific Centre for Isotopic and Geochemical Research

Topic: Bones, Stones, and Lasers: High-resolution Structural Investigations of Palaeontological and Archaeological Materials using Raman Microspectroscopy

Raman microscpectroscopy is a non-destructive analytical technique that has wide applicability in investigating the molecular and structural characteristics of both solid and liquid materials. Rhy will discuss the application of Raman microspectroscopy to three related research projects and how it is used for addressing key questions about human history and the history of life in general.

January 16, 2019

Speaker: Marianne Wong, VanPS Treasurer

Topic: Highlights of three fossil locations in Newfoundland: Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve, Green Point Geological Site, and Flowers Cove. Newfoundland fossils are protected by law from leaving the province, but Marianne will have plenty of photos to show as well as a few stories to tell.


November 21, 2018

Speaker: Julius Csotonyi

Topic: Paleoart: A Mutually Beneficial Affair Between Science and Art

It is clear that natural history artwork has always relied heavily on science, but scientific communication also benefits increasingly from carefully executed scientific illustration, in the form of artwork for press releases, manuscript figures, and journal cover images. In no field is this mutually beneficial interaction more apparent than in paleontology, where life reconstructions of prehistoric organisms require the efforts of paleoartists. Preparation of such artwork is subjected to careful scrutiny by experts in an intensive process of review and revision, and benefits from an artist’s own scientific background. The scientifically informed images that result from this process are then also available for educational outreach to the public in museum exhibits, books, and even postal stamps and coins.

The VanPS also held its AGM at this meeting.


Fossil Show 2018
Date and Time: Sunday, September 30, 2018 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Location: Richmond Nature Park
11851 Westminster Highway, Richmond
Fossil casting, fossil rubs, and fossil displays.
Event open to the public. Admission by donation.


September 26, 2018

Speaker: Kirstin Brink, UBC

Topic: Tooth or Consequences: Why can't people regrow teeth?

Kirstin Brink is a palaeontologist interested in the evolution and development of teeth. She is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of British Columbia, funded for five years by a Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, and a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship. She received her MSc. in Geosciences at the University of Calgary studying skull growth in the duckbill dinosaur Hypacrosaurus, and her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto studying the evolution of teeth in the early synapsid Dimetrodon. Kirstin is a volunteer with the Pacific Museum of Earth at UBC, working on cataloguing the fossil collection.


12th British Columbia Paleontological Symposium

Date: August 18-19, 2018
Location: Courtenay, BC

The British Columbia Paleontological Alliance meets every two years at a symposium that brings together many branches of paleontology, including vertebrate, invertebrate, paleobotany, micropaleontology, paleoecology and paleoclimatology.

The 2018 Symposium was hosted by the Vancouver Island Paleontological Society. For futher details, please visit


Cretaceous Paleobotany: Food for Dinosaurs, Food for Thought

Date: June 16, 2018
Location: Courtenay and District Museum, Courtenay, BC


Ruth A. Stockey, Oregon State University
Araucaria from Brannen Lake

Gar W. Rothwell, Ohio University
Parataxodium Flora of North Slope Alaska

Brian Atkinson, University of Kansas
Dog days of the dogwoods? Cretaceous fruits from Vancouver Island

Alex Bippus, Humboldt State University
Fossil mosses from the Early Cretaceous of California and Vancouver Island

May 16, 2018
Location: Kitsilano Library - 2425 MacDonald Street (Note change of location)

Speaker: No speaker for this meeting. VanPS members brought fossils to display.

No meeting was held in March 2018

Science World hosted Richard McCrea and Lisa Buckley on March 30 and 31. They did half hour presentations on "Dinosaurs and Paleontology in BC".
VanPS displayed fossils at this event in the gallery.

January 17, 2018
Speaker: Perry Poon, VanPS President
Topic: Hiking to the Burgess Shale

This meeting was also our Annual General Meeting.

November 15, 2017
Speakers: VanPS members
Topic: Annual Member's Presentations

VanPS members gave presentations about the Eocene fossil site at Republic, Washington, and the Pipestone Creek bonebed tours at the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum in Alberta.

Fossil Show 2017
Sunday, October 1, 2017
Richmond Nature Park, 11851 Westminster Hwy.

Several specimens of BC's fascinating prehistoric fossils were displayed by the Vancouver Paleontological Society and Vancouver Island Paleontological Society. The public had the opportunity to make fossil casts and fossil rubbings.

The VanPS would like to thank the Richmond Nature Park for providing space for us and our fellow societies to display fossils again this year.
For additional events at the Richmond Nature Park, please visit

September 20, 2017

Speakers: VanPS members and general public

Topic: My 2017 Summer Fossil or Geology Trip

VanPS members and others had an opportunity to talk about a visit to a museum, a rock shop, or a field trip, or anything fossil or geology-related that they did over the summer.

May 17, 2017

Speaker: Dr. Paul L. Smith, UBC Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences

Topic: Tales from Pangea: How Geology Shapes the History of Life


The biosphere, or life at a global scale, is an exceptionally thin layer resting on Earth, a solid body over which it has no control. The Earth is subject to relentless change, some of it mind-numbingly slow, some of it cataclysmic. How has this shaped the history of the biosphere? In this talk we will explore the influence of the supercontinent called Pangea whose formation and break-up still echoes in our modern world.


A geologist specialising in paleontology, stratigraphy and the Jurassic System, Paul Smith is a graduate of McMaster University who was a Faculty Member at UBC from 1980 until 2016 and is now Professor Emeritus. From 2000 until 20009 he served as the Head of the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences helping it achieve its status as one of the top in the world, housed in its own state of the art facilities. From 2011-2012 he served as Vice Provost and Associate Vice President of UBC when he initiated the project that led to the founding of Vantage College. He has been recognized by numerous awards including the Killam award for excellence in teaching, the Fulton award for service to UBC, and the Billings Medal of the Geological Association of Canada for outstanding contributions to paleontological research.

March 15, 2017

Speaker: Perry Poon, Vancouver Aquarium, and VanPS Chair

Topic: Prehistoric Sharks: Helicoprion and Carcharodon Megalodon

November 16, 2016

Speaker: Randal Mindell, Douglas College

Topic: Losing the trail of ancient vertebrates in southwestern British Columbia

While fossil plants and shallow marine invertebrates abound in the fossil record of southwestern British Columbia, evidence for vertebrates is fleeting. Significant finds have included whales and hippo-like mammals in the Oligocene of Vancouver Island, birds and marine reptiles from Late Cretaceous deposits of the Comox Valley and the suggestion of dinosaurs in more southern exposures of the Nanaimo Group. Oddly, contemporaneous rocks formed in the same depositional basins from just across the border in Washington have produced remains of a theropod dinosaur as well as dramatic trackways. Based on collections from Stanley Park, Kits Beach, Mt. Sumas, Sooke, Sucia Island, Hornby Island and the Comox Valley area, this talk will contemplate where in the local fossil record these vertebrates might be found. Are fossil vertebrates hiding in plain sight or is there something about the rocks, the environments they have formed in and the indignities they have endured that is obfuscating their occurrence?

Fossil Show
October 2, 11am - 4pm
Richmond Nature Park, 11851 Westminster Hwy.

BC's prehistoric past came alive when the BC Paleontological Alliance brought fossils to Richmond Nature Park. Family friendly event - included fossil cast making and rubbings.

Fossils from the Vancouver Paleontological Society, the Courtenay and District Museum and Paleontology Centre, and the Vancouver Island Paleontological Society.

The VanPS would like to thank the Richmond Nature Park for providing space for us and our fellow societies to display fossils again this year.

September 21, 2016

Speakers: Various VanPS members and general public

Topic: Informal meeting and presentations of fossils found over the summer

May 18, 2016

Speaker: Dr. Michael Wilson, Faculty Emeritus, Douglas College

Topic: Late Pleistocene Megafauna from the San Juan Islands and Vancouver Island: Recent Findings

Recent finds of large extinct mammals from Late Pleistocene deposits in the San Juan Islands and Vancouver Island provide insights concerning the early recolonization of this newly deglaciated landscaps, between about 12,000 and 10,500 radiocarbon years ago (ca. 14,000 to 12,500 cal yr), shortly after breakup and retreat of the Puget Ice Lobe. Several finds of giant bison (Bison antiquus) have been made in the San Juans (especially Orcas Island), along with a giant ground sloth (Megalonyx jeffersonii) from Orcas and a giant short-faced bear (Arctodus simus) from San Juan Island.
The bison also made it to Vancouver Island, based on several finds from Victoria and the Saanich Peninsula, at a time when there were at least narrow water barriers between the islands and the mainland. The bison, while large-bodied, had unusually small horns compared to those of the mainland, suggesting an "island effect". One of the Orcas Island bison (from Ayer Pond) shows evidence of butchering by humans (cutmarks and cleaver blows) about 12,000 14C yr ago, the same age as the Manis Mastodon Site at Sequim on Olympic Peninsula, also interpreted as having evidence of human activity.
In addition, a mammoth (Mammuthus columbi) tooth from the Hood Canal area, Washington, is newly dated to about 17,000 14C yr ago, helping to constrain the timing of the Puget Ice Lobe advance. Mammoths were present in the Puget Lowland and on Vancouver Island before the Puget Ice Lobe advanced, but they appear not to have returned after the ice retreated, even though they were likely present east of the Cascade Range. These finds are discussed within a context of reconstructed environmental changes associated with the advance and retreat of Last-Glacial ice.


March 9, 2016

Speaker: Dr. Kirstin Brink, Department of Oral Health Sciences, University of British Columbia

Topic: Uncovering the hidden dental diversity of the first apex predators to identify Canada’s Dimetrodon borealis

Dimetrodon was one of the first top predators on land, 290 million years ago. It had several characteristics that made it an efficient predator, such as its large, serrated teeth. A close study of the teeth revealed many differences in tooth shape between species, and that tooth shape changed over evolutionary time. The shape of the teeth of Dimetrodon was key in the re-identification of an enigmatic fossil collected in 1845 as Canada’s own species of Dimetrodon, Dimetrodon borealis.


January 20, 2016

Speaker: Ludovic Le Renard, University of British Columbia

Topic: Palaeomycological patterns: using fossils to inform fungal evolution


November 18, 2015

Speaker: Andy Randell, Strata GeoData Services

Topic: Palaeoenvironmental Interpretations of the Eocene Hampshire Basin, United Kingdom

This talk took a look at the evolving environment of the Hampshire Basin in the United Kingdom during the Eocene and Oligocene. It included an overview of the historic "Alum Bay Sands" on the Isle of Wight, and their fossil and lithological evidence of a dynamic and changing landscape, from deep sea marine to shallow embayment then low land freshwater ecosystems. Evidence was presented from the rich assemblages of plant and mollusc fossils found in the section.

This meeting was also the VanPS AGM. The current Executive members were re-elected.

October 4, 2015

Fossil Show at Richmond Nature Park


September 16, 2015

This was a meeting where all members had the opportunity to talk about some of the fossil collecting or other paleo-related activities they did over the summer.


July 15, 2015

Speaker: Hanson Wong, Vancouver Paleontological Society

Topic: History of Pacific Museum of the Earth and tour of fossil collections

Hanson Wong gave a presentation on the history of the Pacific Museum of the Earth (PME) in the Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences building at UBC, followed by a tour of the fossil collections and preparation lab in the Beaty Biodiversity Museum across the street.

There was also a demonstration of the Omniglobe in the PME.

May 20, 2015

Speaker: Rhy McMillan, Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, UBC

Topic: Geochemical taphonomy and early diagenesis: evaluating time-averaging at Scladina Cave, Belgium

Archaeological and palaeontological bone is irreversibly altered through time. Exhumed bones and teeth from Pleistocene contexts, such as Scladina Cave in Belgium (a Neandertal site that has yielded some of the oldest human DNA on record), can provide both ante- and post-mortem chemical and isotopic information. The preservation of in-vivo signatures is fundamental for life history analyses, while ex-vivo alteration provides insight into post-mortem processes. Erosional reworking, a common taphonomic process, causes time-averaging and thus affects the temporal resolution of sedimentary facies. This is a prominent issue for Pleistocene cave sites, and this talk will describe the use of trace element geochemistry and X-ray diffraction to assess the degree of bone diagenesis and mixing between facies in Scladina Cave.


March 18, 2015

Speaker: Dr. Vera Pospelova, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria

Topic: Evolution and Applications of Fossil Phytoplankton

Marine phytoplankton is a group of single-celled photosynthetic organisms that forms the base of oceanic food chains. It has been recognized that eukaryotic phytoplankton diversity and abundance govern marine invertebrate diversity throughout the Phanerozoic. In this presentation, Dr. Pospelova will briefly review major evolutionary changes in four groups of primary producers (acritarchs, dinoflagellates, coccolithophores, and diatoms) and focus on paleoceanographic signals recorded in sedimentary records of fossil dinoflagellates. A few examples of recent dinoflagellate studies from British Columbia will be provided.


January 21, 2015

Speaker: Martyn Golding

Topic: New conodonts from northeastern B.C., and what they tell us about the Triassic

Re-assessment of conodont collections from throughout northeastern British Columbia has allowed the recognition of a number of new species. This in turn has led to the development of a new timescale for part of the Triassic , which allows greater precision in biostratigraphic correlation. This talk will introduce some of the new species and show how they are changing the way we think about the Triassic of North America.


November 26, 2014

Speaker: Jim Haggart, Geological Survey of Canada, Vancouver

Topic: Quantification of morphology of Cretaceous Baculites ammonites: reassessment of baculitid diversity and biogeography

Despite their simple appearance, baculitid ammonites have great value as biostratigraphic tools and for dating rocks that formed in the world’s Late Cretaceous oceans. Some endemic baculitid lineages are also used as examples of unusually rapid evolution in restricted ocean seas. However, a new method of examining baculitid morphology demonstrates that we don’t know as much about baculitids as we thought we did.


September 17, 2014

Speaker: Bruce Archibald, Simon Fraser University

Topic: The Red Queen and Court Jester in green lacewing evolution: bat predation and global climate change

Understanding how one group of organisms replaces another, and why it may then radiate to reach much greater diversity, remain vexing problems in evolutionary biology. This study examines how change within the green lacewing family might have been affected by concurrent evolution of the bats (the Red Queen hypothesis) and global climate change (the Court Jester hypothesis).


July 16, 2014

Speaker: Clio Bonnett, University of Victoria

Topic: Dinoflagellate cysts from the Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous sedimentary rocks of Grassy Island, British Columbia

This is the first study of the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous dinoflagellate cysts of the Kuyquot Group on Grassy Island, off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Clio Bonnett studied these microfossils for her Masters thesis, and used them to develop biostratigraphic zones to complement existing Buchia (bivalve) zones of the Kuyquot Group. In addition to providing important biostratigraphic information, dinoflagellate cysts provide valuable information about the paleoenvironments and paleogeography of western Canada during latest Jurassic to earliest Cretaceous time.


May 21, 2014

Speaker: Perry Poon, Vancouver Aquarium and Vancouver Paleontological Society

Topic: Eocene fossils of the Princeton area, British Columbia

The shale beds of the Princeton area formed from lake deposits approximately 48 million years ago and contain several important fossil sites. The shale beds contain Eocene fossils, often showing exquisite details of preservation. A variety of plant, insect, and fish fossils have been found in the deposits and the Vancouver Paleontological Society visited these fossil sites a number of times between 1996 and 2005. Perry Poon will present highlights from those expeditions as well as a summary of important new discoveries.


March 19 , 2014

Speaker: Kazu Moriya, Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, UBC, and Department of Geology, Kanazawa University, Japan

Topic: Depth habitat of the Mesozoic ammonoids: nektic or demersal?

Ammonoids evolved from nautiloids in the mid-Paleozoic (Devonian) and went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous. During their evolutionary history, they occupied a variety of marine environments from shallow epicontinental seaways to the pelagic open ocean. It is widely accepted that ammonoids had neutral buoyancy, allowing then to actively swim within the water column, but their depth habitat has previously been interpreted based circumstantial, indirect evidence: most workers assumed that ammonoids were nektonic swimmers but there was no direct evidence showing that they actually lived within the water column.

Dr. Kazu Moriya has utilized oxygen isotopic thermometry of Late Cretaceous ammonoid shells to assess the depth habitat of these ammonoids. He has found that the isotopic temperature of all ammonoids analyzed is comparable to that of benthic organisms, indicating that the Late Cretaceous ammonoids were not nektonic swimmers but demersal organisms living at the sea-floor.


February 22, 2014

This was a special meeting, held at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, UBC, to take advantage of the FestEvolve Events at the museum..

Speakers and Topics:

1. "65 million years of pre-history: the record of dinosaurs from the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary to the Upper Cretaceous of the Peace Region of British Columbia", by Rich McCrea and Lisa Buckley, Peace Region Palaeontological Research Centre, Tumbler Ridge, BC.
Results of recent and ongoing research on tracks and skeletal finds from the Mesozoic of northeastern British Columbia with an account of the recovery by helicopter of British Columbia’s first complete dinosaur in the summer of 2013 and the realization that the dinosaur excavation site is actually a bonebed instead of the remains of a single animal. Other topics will include recent findings with dinosaur tracksites in British Columbia including the newly discovered “Dinosaur Gorge” from the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary that contains the northernmost records of sauropods as well as one of the oldest records of avians in the world.

2. "Tumbler Ridge Aspiring Geopark and the potential for other global Geopark proposals in British Columbia", by Charles Helm, Peace Region Palaeontological Research Centre, Tumbler Ridge, BC.
There are just over 100 Geoparks currently in the Global Geopark Network. The majority of these Geoparks are in Asia with several others in Europe. To date only one Global Geopark has been established in North America (Stonehammer in New Brunswick). Several other aspiring Geopark concepts are being proposed in Canada, the vast majority of which are in eastern Canada. British Columbia has several unique and breathtaking geological landscapes, some of which have existing tourism infrastructure and which are functioning as de facto Geoparks, others may need some development. The Tumbler Ridge Aspiring Geopark may be an example that can be followed towards establishing a number of Global Geoparks in British Columbia.


November 20, 2013

Speaker: Martyn Golding, Dept. of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, UBC

Topic: “Those Fascinating Little Whatzits” – What Are Conodonts and Why Do We Care About Them?

Conodont fossils are ubiquitous in marine rocks from the Cambrian to the Triassic and their species underwent rapid evolution. Since their discovery more than two hundred years ago, these enigmatic organisms have been assigned to almost every major zoological phylum. Martyn Golding will discuss his Ph.D. research on the biology and ecology of conodonts, as well as their uses in addressing major problems of Earth history.


October 6 , 2013

Fossil Fair at Richmond Nature Park


September 18, 2013

Speaker: Dr. Paul Smith, Dept. of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, UBC

Topic: The Influence of Extinction Events on Late Triassic and Early Jurassic Ammonoids

The Late Triassic-Early Jurassic was a time of extinction for many taxa, including the ammonoids. Extensive ammonoid faunas from this interval are present in British Columbia. Professor Paul Smith will use these faunas, as well as those from other areas, to investigate the impact of extinction on the group. Dr. Smith’s areas of scientific interest include invertebrate paleontology, stratigraphy, biogeography, and extinction events.


July 17 , 2013

Speaker: Pat Trask, Courtenay and District Museum and Palaeontology Centre

Topic:"How my Brother's Curiosity Changed my View of the World"

Noted natural historian and educator Pat Trask discussed marine repiles and the discoveries in the local Cretaceous fossil beds of Vancouver Island. An enlightening and entertaining presentation!

Pat and the museum were recently featured in the Globe and Mail:


May 15, 2013

Speaker: Graham Beard, Vancouver Island Paleontological Museum, Qualicum Beach

Topic: Survivors: Amazing Tales of Biological and Ecological Persistence From the Fossil Record

There are a number of organisms and ecosystems represented in the fossil record that have survived virtually unchanged since the earliest times, from the Precambrian down to the most recent Ice Ages. This illustrated presentation will discuss examples of these survivors.

Speaker's Bio:

Graham Beard has collected fossils from British Columbia and around the world for 50 years. He is an award-winning writer on fossils and director of the Vancouver Island Paleontological Museum in Qualicum Beach.


March 27, 2013

Speaker: Dr. Stuart Sutherland, Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, UBC

Topic: Staring Into the Bottom of a Paleozoic Tea Cup

The Chitinozoa are a group of enigmatic marine microfossils that that have been variously described as fungi, protozoa, or eggs of an unknown fossil marine animal. They were common in the Early Paleozoic oceans between 485 and 358 million years ago, a period that would see the evolution of fish, the first land plants, and the first animals to struggle onto the land. Despite the uncertainty regarding their biological affinities, Chitinozoa are proving to be invaluable in the hunt for oil and gas, timing the history of the Early Paleozoic, and understanding how the climate and oceans may have operated around 450 million years ago.

Speaker's Bio:

Dr. Stuart Sutherland is a Senior Instructor of paleontology, sedimentology and paleozoic stratigraphy at the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia. He has a Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from the University of Leicester, UK, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from Sheffield Hallam University, UK.
He spent four years working on his post doc at the Natural History Museum in London, investigating the Lower Palaeozoic Sedimentation and Palynology of the Cantabrian Mountains of NW Spain.

After emigrating to Canada in 1998 he spent some time working in the oil patch in and around Calgary before arriving at UBC in 2000.

His teaching interests include introductory Earth Science, Sedimentology and Advanced Paleontology. His main research interest involves the elucidation and study of global paleoenvironmental change in the Paleozoic utilizing the disciplines of micropaleontology, palynology and sedimentology to identify changes in oceanic conditions.


January 16, 2013

Speaker: Dr. Jim Haggart, Geological Survey of Canada (GSC)

Topic: New paleontological discoveries from the Cretaceous Nanaimo Group of Vancouver Island

Speaker's Bio:

Dr. Jim Haggart, Research Scientist at the Vancouver office of the Geological Survey of Canada, will talk about new fossil discoveries from the Cretaceous rocks of Vancouver Island, dating from 70-90 million years ago. The new paleontological information provides evidence for new times of deposition for these rocks, and also insights into the unusual paleoecology of the heteromorph ammonite cephalopods.


Past Field Trips

June 15, 2019
Location: Racehorse Creek slide area

April 6, 2019
Location: Kitsilano area - meet at the end of Dunbar Street, just past Point Grey Rd.

On this field trip, we looked for plant fossils, such as Fagus and Castnea-type leaves, Sycamore leaves, fern, palm fragments, conifer shoots, Metasequoia and seeds and cones.

September 22, 2018
Location: Kitsilano area - meet at the end of Dunbar Street, just past Point Grey Rd.

On this field trip, we looked for plant fossils, such as Fagus and Castnea-type leaves, Sycamore leaves, fern, palm fragments, conifer shoots, Metasequoia and seeds and cones.

October 14, 2017
Harrison Lake
Trip leader: Perry Poon, VanPS

Perry led a trip to the west side of Harrison Lake to search for Cadocera and Buchia. Some interesting bivalves were found by a VanPS member at the Hale Creek site.

September 9-10, 2017
Trip leader: Perry Poon, VanPS

Perry Poon lead a small group of VanPS members on another field trip to Princeton. The group found interesting fossils such as Dawn Redwood leaves, deciduous leaves, and March Flies.

September 24-25, 2016
Trip leader: Perry Poon, VanPS

Perry Poon lead a field trip to Princeton. The group visited six fossil sites, including Lamont Creek, Summer Creek, Blakeburn Mine, and Coalmont Bluff. All the sites are lake bottom sediments which have turned to shale. Fossils in these areas include the Dawn Redwood and leaves (very common), fish, insects, and maybe amber. They are 48 million years old (Eocene).

September 19-20, 2015
Ashcroft area
Trip leader: Mark Howard (VanPS member)

VanPS Member Mark Howard lead a field trip to the Ashcroft area to look at Triassic and Jurassic rocks and fossils. Participants left on Saturday morning, September 19, and drove / car-pooled to the Semlin Hill area near Ashcroft to look for Jurassic fossils.

Saturday evening, participants stayed overnight in the area around Ashcroft, either in campgrounds or motels. Campground options included the Barnes Lake campground near Ashcroft, the Legacy Park municipal campground on the Thompson River in Ashcroft or the Brookside campground in Cache Creek.

On Sunday, September 20, participants traveled to Spatsum Creek to look for Triassic fossils, and then returned to Vancouver on Sunday evening.


July 18, 2015
Campus Walk at UBC - Living Fossils

Perry Poon from the Vancouver Paleontological Society led a walk around the UBC Vancouver campus looking at live examples of prehistoric plants (e.g. Ginkgo, Dawn Redwoods). Participants then walked through the fossil collection at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum.


June 27, 2015
Racehorse Creek, Chuckanut Formation, Washingtong State
Trip Leader: George Mustoe, Western Washington University


July 5, 2014
Mt. Baker Jura-Cretaceous
Trip Leader: Jim Haggart

An exploratory trip with Jim Haggart to look for Jurassic-Cretaceous fossils near the town of Glacier, in the Mount Baker region of Washington State. J-K rocks have been known in this region since the 1950s when Professor Peter Misch found mollusks of this age while hiking in the alpine areas north of Mount Baker. (GSC Bulletin 103, pl.21) These rocks are exposed at several locations along the highway leading to the Mount Baker ski area, at relatively low elevation along the North Fork of the Nooksack River. The trip involved searching for these exposures to see if Misch’s collections of ammonites, belemnites, and bivalves could be duplicated. The trip was exploratory in nature, as no one from VanPS had visited these localities previously. Several fossils of bivalves, belemnites, and plant material were found.


Saturday, June 22, 2013
Spanish Banks, Vancouver
Leader: Randal Mindell

Plant paleontologist Dr. Randal Mindell lead a visit to the Kitsilano Formation exposures found in the Spanish Banks area. We looked for Eocene plants, in particular grasses, palms, birches, walnuts, beeches, Metasequoia, and ferns.


Saturday-Sunday, August 11-12, 2012
Vancouver Island Cretaceous (2 days)
Leader: Jim Haggart

This field trip looked at Upper Cretaceous fossil localities along the east side of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.  Stops included Departure Bay (Comox Formation), and Englishman River (Haslam Formation) on the first day. On day 2, there was a stop at Trent River (Cedar District Formation). The localities are part of the Nanaimo Group succession of coastal Vancouver Island and contain abundant shallow-marine, continental shelf fossil assemblages, including ammonites, bivalves, and gastropods.  The strata have also produced marine vertebrate remains. 

We combined the collecting opportunities with ‘behind-the-scenes’ paleontology tours of both the Qualicum Beach Museum and the Courtenay and District Museum.

July 14, 2012
Harrison Lake Jura-Cretaceous (1 day)
Trip Leader: Jim Haggart

This field trip looked at Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous fossil localities along the west side of Harrison Lake, British Columbia. The localities are part of the Coast Belt succession of British Columbia and are the only readily-accessible record of Jurassic-Cretaceous sedimentation and fossil faunas in the southwestern British Columbia region.