Geology, Palaeontology and Early Prairie Inhabitants

I will take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Joey Addesi and I am one of eight team members on the 2014 BIOBus crew. I am quite a simple guy really, I just love being outdoors and have a thing for animals and plants, I always have. It all started off in a fairly normal manner with little to worry about the boy who collected small and unfortunate creatures like spiders, beetles, frogs and toads and stuffed them into jam jars, tanks, buckets and ice-cream tubs. It is, after all, a healthy occupation for an eight-year-old. Driven by my natural curiosity with the world around me, I am working towards completing my B.Sc. degree in Ecology at the University of Guelph.

Our first round of hand collecting at the Rock Creek Trail.
Our first round of hand collecting at the Rock Creek Trail.

A long and tedious, yet rewarding, hike through the native grasslands of Rock Creek Trail today highlighted some of Grasslands National Park’s unique secrets. The geology and paleontology of Rock Creek Trail and surrounding area tell a story of fascinating land formations and fossils. The diverse landforms are windows into geological time. The East block is one of a handful of places around the world that reveals the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary, a thin, white, chalky layer in the soil, separating age of dinosaurs from mammals – evidence bearing witness to a world changing event. The revealing landscape of the Badlands led to the first recorded find of dinosaur remains in Western Canada in 1874. It is worth the trip to see the breathtaking badlands of the East Block and to discover the astonishing dinosaur bones exposed in the eroding layers of earth.

Apart from the breathtaking land formations and the richness of fossils of Rock Creek Trail, these prairies were the domain of native peoples who had linked their lives to the migrations of American bison. One after the other, they came – Gros Ventre, Assiniboine, Cree, Blackfoot and Sioux. They left behind Bison drive lanes, arrow heads, and tipi rings for you to see. The park has thousands of archaeological areas and is one of the largest concentrations of undisturbed pre-contact cultural resources in Canada. Rock Creek Trail shows you a 360′ view of native grasslands with many secrets not to miss!


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