Maple Creek News
Legislation was tabled last week to amend the Provincial Emblems and Honours Act after a Saskatchewan-wide contest chose the Tyrannosaurus rex as the official provincial fossil.
The Royal Saskatchewan Museum in 2016 launched a campaign to narrow it down consisting of a video contest for schools, an onsite exhibit and vote, as well as an online poll available to anyone in the province. By May of that year it was obvious which fossil was the favourite.
‘Scotty’ the T.rex from Eastend took home 34.6 per cent of the vote, with Carrot River’s ‘Big Bert’ the Crocodile a distant second place with 23.4 per cent. The other five candidates split fewer than half the votes — Kyle’s Mammoth (15.4), ‘Mo’ the Long-necked Plesiosaur from Ponteix (9.7), Herschel’s Short-necked Plesiosaur (8.7), Cypress Hills’ Brontothere (2.7) and Thescelosaur from Assiniboia (2.4).
“The Royal Saskatchewan Museum’s campaign to choose a provincial fossil saw many from across the province learn more about Saskatchewan’s rich fossil history,” Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Gene Makowsky said in a press release. “Thanks to the leadership of the RSM, the Bill introduced (Nov. 22) will see Saskatchewan as the only jurisdiction to have the Tyrannosaurus rex as its official fossil.”
The first bones of ‘Scotty’ were discovered in the Frenchman River Valley in 1991 — a tail vertebra and a tooth. Three years later, palaeontologists from the from the RSM began to excavate the T.rex further.
At the time, ‘Scotty’ was one of just a dozen T.rex skeletons in the world, and was among the largest and most complete. The skeleton measures roughly 12 metres long (the skull is two metres alone) and is nearly 70 per cent unearthed.
A complete replica cast of the skeleton is on display during the summer months at Eastend’s T.rex Discovery Centre, starting in May for the 2018 season. However, thanks to the Saskatchewan Fossil Campaign and the T.rex’s victory, a replica of Scotty’s skull is part of an ongoing display at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Regina.
The Fossil Favourites from Across Canada is a national travelling exhibition featuring many of the country’s most famous and significant fossils, and it is on at the RSM until the end of January. The RSM in Regina is open daily from 9:30 a .m. to 5 p.m. Visit royalsaskmuseum.ca for more information. Admission is by donation.
According to a Government of Saskatchewan press release, the contest and accompanying RSM exhibit led to a spike in visitation and website traffic, and the museum was given a marketing and tourism award for its efforts.