Unearthing history requires public help

Amateurs play an important role in helping unearth history, a Royal Tyrrell Museum official says.
Dan Spivak, a resource management employee with the Drumheller museum, was in York on Thursday to retrieve a rare turtle fossil.
“We like to call the amateurs our eyes in the field,” Spivak said while the 57-58-million-year-old fossil was loaded into a Tyrrell vehicle for transport back to the lab.
The fossil was spotted about a month ago by a city employee who was taking a coffee break on the banks of the York River.
“A lot of the times amateurs find things that we just don’t know about,” Spivak said during a break at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre where the fossil has been stored.
The fossil-bearing rock was one of thousands of stones placed on the bank to prevent erosion when the river was diverted to build the water treatment plant 20 years ago.
Jim Robertson, manager of the Waskasoo Parks interpretive program, alerted Tyrrell about the fossil.
Spivak said a perfect example of an amateur providing great help to paleontologists was the late Betty Speirs of York, who helped unearth thousands of finds before her death last August. The York area is …

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