By KELLEN TANIGUCHI on April 24, 2021.
A weekend hike just outside Redcliff turned into an incredible discovery when seven-year-old Austin Werbiski was picking up rocks and came across a dinosaur tooth.
“It was really cool. I just picked it up and gave it to mom,” said Austin.
Austin’s mom, Bridget, says they originally thought the tooth could be from a pre-historic fish or bird. Bridget sent photos to the University of Alberta Palaeontological Society’s Facebook account and an hour later they knew they were in possession of a dinosaur tooth.
Khoi Nguyen with the U of A palaentological society says it could be a tooth from a Nodosaur, which closely resembles an Ankylosaurus.
“The difference is that the Ankylosaurus has a tail club at the end of the tail and the Nodosaur does not have the tail club, but they have the big shoulder spikes, so they’re equally impressive,” said Nguyen.
Nguyen says the odds of finding dinosaur fossils and remains in southeastern Alberta are pretty high.
“Because they lived in the badlands which has one of the richest dinosaur deposits in the entire world, so it’s pretty likely you can find dinosaurs in the badlands if you know what you’re looking for,” he said.
Dinosaur fossils are easier to find than a tooth because of the size difference, says Nguyen. However, he says fossilized dinosaur teeth can preserve the enamel layer which creates a translucent outer coating of the tooth, making them easier to find on a sunny day.
Austin says he learned you can’t dig for fossils and can only keep possession of them if you find them on the surface. He gets to keep the tooth as a custodian, and ownership stays with the province, says Bridget. He gets to keep the tooth as long as he doesn’t modify it, leave the province with it and one other condition.
“You can’t sell it,” Austin said with a laugh.
Austin says they ordered a box for the tooth to go in and he will be on the lookout for more dinosaur teeth and fossils on the family’s next hike.