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Torvosaurus tanneri

The specimen of Torvosaurus tanneri is currently on display in Madrid, Spain. The genus Torvosaurus...

Late Cretaceous: Mosasaur Detail

A close-up view of the dentition of an ancient aquatic, carnivorous lizard, the mighty Mosasaur...

Gods & Cephalopods

A great temple to the god Amon was built at Karnak in Upper Egypt around c. 1785. It is from Amon...

Paltechioceras of Wrangellia

Those working in the Jurassic exposures on Vancouver Island are a determined crew. Most of the...

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Heidi HendersonRSS Feed of this column.

Blue Planet, Explorer in Residence. Co-author of In Search of Ancient BC.

Fossil Huntress... Read More »


Cache Creek is the gateway to B.C.'s Cariboo Country, sporting big, open fields, cowboys and horses. It is also the stepping off point for field trips to the Eocene fossil beds at McAbee and Kamloops Lake where fish, insects and plant fossils abound.

While the site is now an arid hillside topped with finger-like hoodoos, some 51 million years ago it was a flourishing lake. As fish and other inhabitants died, their remains settled to the bottom and were preserved in the fine-grained clay, ash and silt that would one day become shale. McAbee, named for the nearby village of McAbee on the Thompson River, is one of the richest and most accessible Eocene deposits in North America.

About two dozen families of eurypterids “sea scorpions” are known from the fossil record. Although these ancient predators have a superficial similarity, including a defensive needle-like spike or telson at their tail end, they are not true scorpions. They are an extinct group of arthropods related to spiders, ticks and mites and other extant creepy crawlies.

During the middle Eocene, 45-50 m.y.a., a number of freshwater lakes appeared in an arc extending from Smithers, through the modern Cariboo, to Kamloops, the Nicola Valley, Princeton, and Republic, WA. The lakes likely formed after a period of faulting produced a number of basins, called grabens into which water collected.

If you like to try your hand at new things and have a penchant for the old or shiny.. no not your dating taste, but something earthier... you may want to consider a trip to Vermillion Bluffs near the town of Princeton, British Columbia. Princeton has long been known as a hotbed of paleobotany.