Thursday, September 29, 2022

Mosasaur fossil discovered at mine near Lethbridge

An excavator operator at a mine south of Lethbridge discovered what is believed to be a Mosasaur fossil late last week. The Mosasaur was a marine reptile which lived in the inland sea that covered Alberta during the cretaceous period around 75 million years ago and would often grow to be 7-8 metres long, with a skull that measured up one metre long.

“This day is awesome. I am like a kid in a candy store frankly. This is the very first discovery that I am a part of and it’s amazing,” said David Lui, CEO and president of Korite International, which owns the mine where the discovery was made. “You grow up as a young kid you study about dinosaurs and all the marine life and the fact that we found a Mosasaur is a fantastic discovery.”

A Mosasaur fossil was found at a Korite International mine south of Lethbridge. (Photo by Tyler Hay/My Lethbridge Now)

Evan Kovacs, foreman at the mine, said the fossil was well preserved and was not compact or compressed like others he has seen in his six years working for Korite.

“The excitement is always a little high every time we find something in general but when it ends up being a vertebrae fossil like this Mosasaur or any other dinosaur… it’s always a great moment,” Kovacs said. “The excitement definitely rises and everyone is excited to hear what the experts have to say about the details of it.”

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The company called the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology after uncovering the reptile’s skull. 

“This piece had [an] amazing skull piece, you had a jaw section with the teeth for both the uppers and lowers together in the same rock — it was an absolutely amazing piece,” said John Issa, vice president at Korite.

This was not the first fossil discovered at the mine, Issa said the company has found about 12 marine reptiles and three dinosaurs. When a discovery like this is made, Issa said crews leave the area to experts from the museum. He said he anticipates it to take a week or two before the fossil is fully extracted and crews can continue mining in the area.

“Knowing that we can discover these species we are going to be very mindful, very careful and we are already careful on how we mine for ammonites and ammolite,” Lui said.

Crews from the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology dig to uncover a Mosasaur fossil at a Korite International mine south of Lethbridge on May 11. (Photo by Tyler Hay/My Lethbridge Now)
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