A team of paleontologists said Thursday that they have unearthed dinosaur bones near Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia, dating as far back as 75 million years.
Rich McCrea and Lisa Buckley said they have found bones from the Upper Cretaceous period that are from the duckbilled dinosaur Hadrosaur and a Tyrannosaur, the big predator of the era.
"We've found broken or shed Tyrannosaur teeth near rib and vertebrae of a Hadrosaur, so one scenario could be the Tyrannosaur tucked into a dead Hadrosaur and went to town and some teeth fell out or broke off on the bones," McCrea said.
McCrea and Buckley started prospecting north of the town last summer as they looked for hills or significant outcroppings that could hide pieces of a lost world.
Earlier this month, the duo returned with shovels, picks and plasters to begin a full-scale dig.
They found 198 pounds (90 kilograms) of bone just sitting on the surface of a sloping bank and knew they'd hit a jackpot.
The team spent a week and a half removing up to 45 tons (40 metric tons) of rock and dirt to get to the bone bed, where the pieces were nicely separated and not in fragments.
Buckley said only a few bones had been attacked by plant roots or erosion.
"These are great museum-quality finds," McCrea said.
The paleontologists will continue to work on the dig for another four to five years while they explore other potential sites in the province.
"We've no doubt that there are other sites, they just need to be discovered," McCrea said.
Dinosaur bones have been discovered at only two other sites near Tumbler Ridge, the last time in 2004. Those bones were shipped to a gallery in Alberta.