Royal Tyrrell Museum
To say that Drumheller is in the middle of nowhere is not quite correct. Drumheller IS nowhere, or at least are the badlands just outside of town.The area looks as if the earth was turned inside out and what was meant to be hidden is now exposed. The Drumheller Badlands are one of the few areas in the world where sedimentary layers from earlier geological periods have been scraped off by natural processes, exposing a rich deposit of animal and plant fossils and even complete dinosaur skeletons.
The Royal Tyrrell Museum is Canada’s only museum dedicated exclusively to the science of palaeontology. In addition to housing one of the world’s largest displays of dinosaurs, the Museum offers a wide variety of creative, fun, and educational programs that bring the prehistoric past to life.
The Museum is operated by the Government of Alberta under the Ministry of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women. The museum is named after Joseph Burr Tyrrell, a 26-year-old geologist who, while working for the Geological Survey of Canada in this region, stumbled upon an impressive skull of Canada’s first known meat-eating dinosaur.
On August 12, 1884, he stumbled upon a 70-million-year-old dinosaur skull, the first of its species ever found, just a few kilometres from where the Museum now stands. Although he wasn’t a palaeontologist, he realized his discovery was significant. After carefully removing the fossil from its resting place, and taking great care to transport it safely to Calgary during what would be a week-long journey, it was shipped to Ottawa where it eventually ended up at the National Museum of Natural Sciences.
Today thousands of cubic metres of soil, gravel, and bedrock are excavated in Alberta every year. When fossils are exposed through industrial activities, palaeontologists work with companies to excavate and preserve scientifically important specimens.
Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.Gustave Flaubert
Unlike many boys I was never a big dinosaur fan when I was younger but I have to admit that the displays were very stunning. Entering the museum area we drove through a portion of Canada’s badlands and I can easily understand where that name would come from. You did have the feeling that you were traveling into the distant path. I found myself looking down at the rock formations hoping to find some bones.