Vertebrates of the Ancient Arctic Seas: Palaeontology of the Late Cretaceous Anderson River Formation, northern Northwest Territories, Canada

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: geology, fossils, paleontology

Principal Investigator: Vavrek, Matthew J (3)
Licence Number: 15770
Organization: Royal Ontario Museum
Licensed Year(s): 2016
Issued: Oct 20, 2015
Project Team: Dr. Matthew Vavrek (Project Leader, Royal Ontario Museum), Dr. Takuya Konishi (Project Collaborator, Brandon University), Dr. Todd Cook (Project Collaborator, Penn State Erie), Robin Sissons (Team Member, Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum)

Objective(s): To search the exposed rocks along the banks of the Anderson River for fossils of extinct marine vertebrates and to understanding the diversity and abundance of life that once lived in the ancient seas that covered the area.

Project Description: The research team will be travelling to the Anderson River via helicopter, approximately 220 km due west of Inuvik. The team will be camping in a small fly camp while in the field. Two weeks will be spent in the field, searching the exposed rocks along the banks of the Anderson River for fossils of extinct marine vertebrates. All work will be done on foot. Any fossils that are found are important to understanding the diversity and abundance of life that once lived in the ancient seas that covered the area.

The research team will be searching the area by foot, with all members carrying bear spray and at least one person carrying a firearm for protection. Standard palaeontological procedures will be followed when collecting any specimens the research team find during exploration of the area. Any fossils on the surface will be marked by GPS and the local setting will be noted in field notes. Unbroken fossils will be collected and placed in bags or vials (depending on size) with accompanying labels noting their original location. Broken fossils may be glued in the field using standard palaeontological glues, or, if larger, collected using plaster bandages. Any sites in danger of being broken or destroyed by erosion that are not to be excavated immediately will be stabilized as best as possible (i.e. through reburial and/or gluing) prior to vacating the area.

The research team would like to arrange for a local wildlife monitor from Tuktoyaktuk to accompany us, as the research area will be within Tuktoyaktuk administered Inuvialuit Private Lands. Also, the research team would be interested in doing some public presentations in some of the communities that are near, if there was a desire from local residents for it.

Previous palaeontological work that the research team have done in the Arctic has attracted the attention of local news outlets, and the team will publicize the importance of these northern field regions to our understanding of biodiversity through time.


The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from July 11, 2016 to August 1, 2016.