Million-year-old fossils discovered at Calgary Goodwill location

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Old items are often donated to Goodwill, but usually not this old

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A millions-year-old fossil found in a Calgary thrift store will soon be on display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

Goodwill Brand Coordinator Daud Abbasi finds some curious-looking stones in a box of donated items destined for recycling or landfill at the Goodwill Calgary Impact Center. I found.

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Abbasi used Google and various other apps to try to verify the authenticity of the fossils.

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They then contacted an expert at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, who, based on the photos and information he sent, was able to confirm that five of the seven fossils were genuine.

“If we had just dumped it in the landfill, we would have been in trouble,” Abbasi said.

While acknowledging that they could just be stones that fell from someone’s backyard, he was cautiously optimistic until he learned what was found.

“I was excited and very overwhelmed to find something like this,” he said. “I had to put on my thinking hat and say, ‘Let’s be a geologist,’ and see what the research would show.”

Although museum staff have not yet seen them in person, they have been able to confirm that two of the fossils (petrified wood) likely date from the Cretaceous Period, 66 million to 145 million years ago.

Another find is a fragment of a coral plate from the Ordovician period, about 450 million years old, said Brandon Stryliski, the museum’s director of collections. There are also some bones from an ornithischian dinosaur, probably a hadrosaurid or ceratopsian dinosaur.

Calgary Goodwill Fossil
Fossils, including fossils, coral and possible dinosaur bones, were discovered in a Goodwill donation box. Gavin Young/Postmedia

With finds like this, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where they came from, Strylisky said. Without much context, such items are used in teaching and research.

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“How fascinating is it to walk through history and think, ‘Wow, what I’m holding in my hand is 116 million years old,’” Abbasi said.

Abbasi said older items are often donated to Goodwill, but they are usually not very old.

Strylisky said discoveries like this are very common for museums. The museum encourages the public to be on the lookout for similar discoveries.

They can provide information to give more perspective on the finds, which will lead to a deeper understanding of Alberta’s paleontological history, Strylisky said.

He said he encouraged people to visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum as their first point of contact with fossils.

“For example, if someone has something that their grandparents collected, we would be happy to work with them to keep it here at the museum and use it for research and educational purposes,” he said. Told.

Abbasi said much the same is true for Goodwill.

“We appreciate Albertans donating items. Some of them have a lot of history with them,” Abbasi said. “We do our best to find the best place for all donated products.”

But for him, this was a once-in-a-lifetime discovery. Current plans are to send the fossils to the Royal Tyrrell Museum for further study.

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