Fossilized champsosaurus skull could still be out there near Climax, USask student says


A University of Saskatchewan (USask) paleontology student is going hunting for the rest of a champsosaurus skeleton found at a dig site last summer.

70c8fc80

While volunteering on a research trip in August 2020, Jack Milligan discovered the fossils of an animal that lived about 66 million years ago.

Read more:
Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Regina reopens to public on Sunday

“Champsosaurs are semi-aquatic crocodile-like reptiles that superficially look like crocodiles. They’ve got long snouts with sharp teeth and long tails, scaly skin,” Milligan said.

“They would have lived in swamp environments and rivers and would have hunted for the same food as crocodiles so like fish and amphibians and would have lived alongside crocodiles.”


Click to play video: 'Canadian dinosaur research recognized by CNN and National Geographic'







Canadian dinosaur research recognized by CNN and National Geographic


Canadian dinosaur research recognized by CNN and National Geographic – Jan 6, 2021

The Calgary native said finding the second-most complete skeleton of its kind in Saskatchewan was exciting.

Story continues below advertisement

“I found the first couple of bones and one bone just kind of led to another, led to another, led to another and I was just stumbling over my words and screaming on the inside going like, oh, my God, this is a skeleton we’re dealing with and it’s a feeling that all paleontologists live for and I was on cloud nine right from the get-go,” Milligan said.

“It was a mixture of euphoria and shock if I’m to be honest with you. Because every early-career paleontologist has that dream of … to the field and finding the next big discovery and in all honesty, when I was out at the site, I wasn’t expecting to find it. It was just one of those things.

“We think it’s about 35 to 40 per cent complete. So we have a few bones from the back, a dozen or so ribs, as well as bones from all four of the limbs, including the arms and legs and some tailbone. So when you lay them down on the table, it does look like a champsosaur, just a headless champsosaur.”

Read more:
Costumed ‘T. Rex’ caught breaching coronavirus quarantine in Spain

This summer, Milligan plans to return to the dig site near Climax, Sask., to search for its missing skull.

“That’s the most important part of the animal that we still don’t have. Finding the skull will be able to help us identify exactly what kind of champsosaur it is, hopefully down to the species level,” Milligan said.

Story continues below advertisement

Climax is approximately 350 km southwest of Regina.




© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.