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Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre

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Title: Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Morden, Manitoba, List of museums in Manitoba, Culture of Manitoba, Manitoba
Collection: Fossil Museums, Morden, Manitoba, Museums in Manitoba, Natural History Museums in Canada
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre

Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre
Established 1971
Location Morden, Manitoba, Canada
Type history museum

The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre, formerly known as the Morden and District Museum, is located in Morden, Manitoba in the lower level of the Morden Recreational Complex. The museum currently houses the largest collection of marine reptile fossils in Canada.[1] (Janzic and Hatcher 2008; Nicholls 1988)


  • Collections 1
  • Programs 2
  • Plans 3
  • Multimedia 4
  • Research 5
  • Honours 6
  • Affiliations 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Field excavations occur along the Manitoba Escarpment area of the Pembina Hills in the Red River Valley. Most fossils that are collected are from the Pembina and Millwood Members of the Pierre Shale. In the summer of 2009, field staff were working on the multi-species death assemblage. This last summer (2010) has been filled with many new discoveries, including the "Xiphactinus Kill Zone," which received international press. Preparation will be underway this winter to try to have the specimens up on display for next summer.

The Discovery Centre also houses numerous specimens of the Cretaceous squid Tusoteuthis longa; these specimens represent the northern most known occurrence of these molluscs in the Cretaceous seas of North America. (Nicholls and Isaak, 1987).


The Discovery Centre offers school programs, guided tours, summer day camps, paleo tours, fossil dig programs and much more. The museum has a large database of research information pertaining to the fossil collection from the Late Cretaceous Period.

The prized specimen is a 43-foot (13 m) long mosasaur fossil, the second largest in North America.

Fossil dig programs continue each summer from May to September along the Manitoba Escarpment. A short necked plesiosaur specimen 26 feet (7.9 m) long was excavated in 2004/5, and the Executive Director Anita Janzic has published two scientific abstracts on the specimen and its stomach contents. (Janzic 2007; Janzic 2006)


The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre is in the early fundraising stages to build a new 'state of the art' museum just west of the town of Morden, Manitoba with a net zero energy theme. The plans also include a new field station on the Manitoba Escarpment.

Details of the entire fossil collection are being digitized and uploaded to in a groundbreaking move to provide access to the fossil collection to paleontology researchers and students worldwide. Other projects include a series of 4 education kits for grades K - 12, which will bring the museum content and subject matter into the Manitoba school curriculum.


To bring some lighthearted fun but still educational themes to the museum, Lulu and the Tomcat the popular musical duo have written, performed and recorded a series of fossil related songs which are available in the museum gift shop on CD or as a CD and 7 book kit called 'Fossil Rock'.

The renowned film producer, David Rabinovitch of Fleetwood Films has produced a 4 minute introductory film, a 20 minute educational film and is working to secure funding to produce a documentary film. The film will include the story of how 'Bruce' the huge mosasaur on display in the museum gallery was discovered on the Manitoba Escarpment, was then excavated and brought to the Town of Morden; and how this started the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre back in 1971.


Scientific research is at an all-time high in the museum departments of vertebrate paleontology and geology. Current research is focused on marine paleoecology of the Western Interior Seaway, stomach contents of plesiosaurs, stratigraphic cartography and the use of ArcGIS along with geochemical analysis of the bentonite stringers located in the upland region of Pembina Mountain. Visiting researchers from Japan, China, England and the United States are also assisting us with various other research endeavors relating to the marine waters of the Late Cretaceous Period in Manitoba.

The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre hosts the bi-annual Manitoba Paleontology Symposium to help facilitate awareness of this research and the overall advancement of paleontological research within the province and throughout the various communities of Canadian paleontology.


The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre was given the status of a “Manitoba Star Attraction” in 2005 by Travel Manitoba and is truly a must-see destination for children, families, paleo-enthusiasts and anyone interested in the natural world or just passing through town. The museum is open every day except for designated holidays and is conveniently located in the lower level of the Morden Recreational Centre. Simply follow all of the “Manitoba Star Attraction” signs to the museum and prepare yourself for an adventure 83 million years in the making!


The Museum is affiliated with: CMA, CHIN, and Virtual Museum of Canada.


  1. ^ "History". Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  • Hatcher, J., A. Janzic, and K. Aotsuka. 2008. Preliminary Report on the Taphonomy of a new Multi-Species Death Assemblage in the Pierre Shale Formation, Southern Manitoba. Canadian Paleontology Conference, Proceedings No. 6, Winnipeg, MB, pp. 29–33.
  • Janzic, A. and J. Hatcher. 2008. Late Cretaceous Marine Reptile Fossils of the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre. Alberta Palaeontological Society, Twelfth Annual Symposium, Abstracts Volume, p. 28. Mount Royal College, Calgary, Alberta.
  • Janzic, A. 2007. A New Short-Necked Plesiosaur from the Pierre Shale Formation of Manitoba. Abstracts and Field Manual, Manitoba Paleontology Seminar, p. ii.
  • Janzic, A. 2006. A Preliminary Analysis of Stomach Contents from a new Polycotylid Plesiosaur. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 26 (Supplement to No. 3), p. 81A.
  • Nicholls, E.L. 1988. Marine Vertebrates of the Pembina Member of the Pierre Shale (Campanian, Upper Cretaceous) of Manitoba and their Significance to the Biogeography of the Western Interior Seaway. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Calgary, 317 p.
  • Nicholls, E.L. and H. Isaak. 1987. Stratigraphic and Taxonomic Significance of Tusoteuthis longa Logan (Coleoidea, Teuthida) from the Pembina Member, Pierre Shale (Campanian), of Manitoba. Journal of Paleontology, 61(4): 727-737.

External links

  • Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre

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