It seems that fans of Drumheller and its dinosaur heritage have stood up and spoken.
The Mail posed the question to its readers in the July 15 edition, is Drumheller the Dinosaur Capital of The World? It was in response to a blog that is connected to www.smithsonian.com posted on June 16 of this year. The blog asked the question “Where is the Dinosaur Capital of the World?”
At the time, Drumheller had garnered a meager 67 votes and was trailing Glen Rose Texas, which had 860, and more than 80 per cent of the votes. In just two weeks, the tables have turned. Drumheller has now surpassed votes, and as of Monday had 74 per cent of the votes.
Two days after the story in The Drumheller Mail was published, Brian Switek, who posted the blog, took notice of the article and the subsequent selections on the poll.
“Now The Drumheller Mail has weighed in on the great debate. According to the newspaper, Drumheller has tons of dinosaur fossils, a long tradition of palaeontology and some dino-centered culture that can’t be beat,” he said in the blog.
“The true Dinosaur Capital of the World should have a strong tradition of excellent palaeontological research, and in that respect Drumheller is hard to beat.”
Comments from those who took the time to vote have been both nostalgic and passionate.
“If Glen Rose equals our sun, Drumheller, RTMP, Dinosaur Prov. Park is the equivalent of the rest of the stars in our galaxy. In terms of competition for “Dinosaur Capital”, there frankly is no contest… entirely different levels of magnitude involved,” said one.
Another commented, “I grew up in Drumheller until I was 18, and as a child we had shoe boxes full of dinosaur bones, crystallized rock and petrified wood. It was so common. Back then, the Drumheller museums didn’t even want to buy them from us kids for a little candy cash. However, that all changed once the Royal Tyrrell Museum was built. The whole town now is a tourist beacon, truly the Dinosaur Capital of the World. Had I known this, I would have kept all those boxes of palaeontological finds, and I’d be a millionaire by selling them on eBay!!!!”
The author of the blog, Brian Switek, said he was shocked to see the numbers skyrocket.
“I was also surprised that, in round one, Glen Rose beat Drumheller! Even though I did not voice my own opinion in the first post I felt pretty confident that Drumheller would easily be the winner,” said Switek. “Therefore I was surprised when Glen Rose pulled ahead, but I was glad to see that, ultimately, Drumheller won the popular vote.”
Switek expresses that he does have a soft spot for Drumheller.
“Philip Currie, who helped found the Tyrrell, is one of my personal palaeontologist heroes,” said Switek. “I saw him on documentaries about dinosaurs all the time when I was a kid, and the way he talked about prehistoric life inspired me to try and become a palaeontologist myself.”
A local man has helped drive the campaign to have Drumheller remain recognized. Lance Tanke began a Facebook page. Late Wednesday night, July 22, and in less than a week there were already well over 300 members, all supporting Drumheller’s claim to being the Dinosaur Capital of the World.
“I would go on every couple hours, and more and more people joined… it was kind of ridiculous,” said Tanke. “It’s our title we deserve to keep it,”
He takes pride in Drumheller remaining the Dinosaur Capital.
“Dinosaurs really put Drumheller on the map. If we lose this then what do we have to fall back on?” said Tanke. “It is important to me that we keep this going.”
The Mail asked Switek, “is this the last word?”
‘Since there is no official body that can grant the title of “Dinosaur Capital of the World” I think there will always be some towns that want to challenge Drumheller. That said, I think the people of Drumheller can sleep pretty safely. They live in a place with excellent fossil sites, a first-rate museum, internationally-known palaeontologists, and more dinosaurs around the place than you can count,” he said. “If that does not qualify Drumheller for the title of “Dinosaur Capital of the World”, I don’t know what does.