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Last updateTue, 28 May 2024 4pm

Red Deer river tubers’ three hour tour takes wrong turn


    The Drumheller Fire Department took two area youths to safety after a rafting excursion on the Red Deer River hit some waves.
     On Sunday, June 13, shortly before 10 p.m. two males, ages 17 and 18, were reported missing. The last sighting was at about 5 p.m when the pair launched near the Morrin Bridge, with plans to tube to the Bleriot Ferry.
    The mother of one of the individuals received a text message indicating they were having difficulty and going to shore.
    No further communication was received, and any attempts to contact the two tubers failed.
    The Drumheller Fire Department was contacted, and launched their rescue boat and began a search of the water and shoreline. The operation was risky because of high water levels, the darkness and high amounts of debris floating in the river.
    The two were located along the river bank at about 2:20 a.m. and were unharmed.

Largest documented dinosaur graveyard unearthed in Badlands


    The largest dinosaur bonebed ever unearthed is providing evidence that the dinosaurs were wiped out in catastropic coastal storms, new findings published this month report.
    A bonebed containing thousands of Centrosaurus apertus, a horned relative to Triceratops as been found near Hilda, 50 kilometres north of Medicine Hat.
    “Data from this mega bonebed provide pretty clear evidence that these, and other dinosaurs, were routinely wiped out by catastrophic tropical storms that flooded what was once a coastal lowland here in Alberta, 76 million years ago,” says David Eberth, Senior Research Scientist at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, the lead author on the study and one of New Perspectives On Horned Dinosaurs, which published the findings this month.
    Covering an area of at least 2.3 square kilometres (the size  of 280 football fields), the Centrosaurus beds aren’t new findings in Alberta, but is the largest yet discovered.
    The massive deathbeds of the beasts help paint a picture of the prehistoric coastal landscape that existed in Alberta was submerged in water.
    This is seen as probably leaving the dinosaurs with no high ground to escape the floods, that can be compared to the floods Bangladesh experience every year.
    “It’s unlikely that these animals could tread water for very long, so the scale of the carnage must have been breathtaking,” says Eberth.
    “The evidence suggests that after the flood, dinosaur scavengers trampled and smashed bones in their attempt to feast on the rotting remains.”
    The mega bonebed also helps explain why dinosaurs are so abundant in Alberta’s Badlands, and also gives clues that there was in fact dinosaurs that herded in large numbers.
    The Tyrrell estimates that the number of dinosaurs in the area could be in the high hundreds to low thousands.
    According to the team, coastal plain floods, like those that afflict modern Bangladesh, occur on a geographic scale that is so vast that they often kill large varieties and numbers of the larger terrestrial animals, regardless of whether they live solitary lives or spend their time in large herds.
    “Because of their size and the scale of the flooding, dinosaurs could not escape the coastal floodwaters and would have been killed in large numbers. In contrast, fish, small reptiles, mammals, and birds may have been able to escape such seasonal catastrophes by retreating to quiet water areas, the safety of trees and burrows, or simply by flying away.”
“We’ve known about the Hilda mega bonebed since the late 1990’s, but the complexities of the project prevented us from documenting and publishing on it for almost 10 years.”

Hoodoo Preservation Project goes ahead


    The Royal Tyrrell Museum will be going forward with erecting barriers around the Hoodoos, possibly being installed this fall.
    The Mail reported in its August 12, 2009 edition, the museum was looking into putting barriers up to protect the popular destination for residents and tourists to enjoy for generations to come. Andrew Neuman confirmed the Hoodoo Preservation Project would be moving forward.
    “We have received some funding to proceed on that project this year,” Neuman tells The Mail.
    He explains they have completed the design and engineering phase and currently has a request for proposals on the Alberta Purchasing Connection website. There was a pre-bid meeting on the site on Tuesday, June 8.
    “The next bit is to start on the fabrication and we expect the installation to take place at the end of the tourist season,” said Neuman.
    He explains there are three objectives to the project. First and foremost is protecting the Hoodoos.
    “There has been a fair amount of vandalism, graffiti and carvings that are speeding up the weathering out there,” said Neuman. “The first objective is to eliminate the close personal contact between people and the Hoodoos themselves, and we’ll do that by putting up an unobtrusive fence. These will identify the sensitive areas and tell people they shouldn’t go into that area, and why.”
    Another objective he said, was to allow visitors a great experience by constructing stairways to ideal viewing venues.
    “We have done a lot of research on where the best places for viewing and taking pictures are,” he said, adding they are even planning special camera ledges to place the camera for the perfect holiday snapshot.
    With the new walkways and barriers, they hope to increase the safety of the site. For example, rain can make the site at best, messy, at worst, hazardous. He adds the improvements will make it more accessible to those with mobility issues, although because of the nature of the site, it will not be barrier free.
    The improvements will also add a shades area and more interpretive signs for the site.
    Currently, the Tyrrell has placed employees at the site to act as both guardians and interpreters. He hopes they will eventually move away from this.
    “We’ll evaluate the success of the project and whether or not any kind of constant presence by people is needed,” said Neuman. “We are hoping it won’t be so the money we are investing in building these new strategies will reflect in our manpower budget.”


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