Born and raised in Williams Lake

Born and raised in Williams Lake

Museum features fossil collection

Fossil fanatics will be in for a treat when they visit the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin for the next few weeks.

Mitchell Johnson

Special to the Tribune/Advisor

Fossil fanatics will be in for a treat when they visit the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin for the next few weeks.

Fossils from the Williams Lake area are now on display until mid-August.

These rocks give a glimpse into prehistoric Williams Lake and its natural history. When I was younger I found the fossil of a fern in my backyard here in Williams Lake, though I didn’t know what it was at the time.

Fossils were crucial in sparking my interest in science and animals, which was only fuelled over the years.

Fossilization is a rare event.

Generally, fossils form when an animal or plant dies and is buried soon after so that other animals don’t have a chance to eat it.

Mudslides and floods are likely causes of such rapid burials.

Over time more layers of dirt or silt are added over the dead animal or plant and the weight of all those layers squeezes out the minerals the animal used to have and replaces them with minerals from the surrounding layers of dirt or silt.

The harder parts of the animal like bones, teeth, or shells become rock embedded in the surrounding mud.

The layers of mud allow us to estimate how old the fossils are. We cannot be sure of the age of the fossils in our collection because we don’t know the exact location where they were found.

However, the Encyclopedia of British Columbia notes that fossils from the Cariboo-Chilcotin and nearby areas range in age anywhere from 650 million years old in the Cariboo Mountains and 65 million years old in Horsefly, to 25 million years old in Quesnel. Interestingly, the rocks in the Cariboo Chilcotin region are among the oldest in the province.

According to the Encyclopedia of British Columbia, much of this region used to be volcanic islands in what is now the Pacific Ocean which collided with ancient North America when it broke away from the supercontinent of Pangea.

The islands merged with the western coast of North America and created most of the interior and Chilcotin plateau and could explain the great age of the fossils in the Cariboo Mountains.

Many of the fossils in this exhibit came from Walter Albert Remier.

He was born in Germany in 1932 and brought his family to Canada in the 1950’s, eventually settling in Williams Lake in 1968.

Over the years he collected many fossils from Williams Lake and the surrounding area.

He wished for them to be donated to the museum after he died so others could enjoy them. The Remier fossils are some of the more detailed fossils in our collection, many showing imprints of the wings from insects or the veins of leaves.

The amount of detail shown in these fossils make them especially rare.

Other fossils have been donated to the museum by several different people over the years and these are some of the larger fossils in the museum’s collection. These larger fossils include a bed of shells and a piece of petrified wood.

My childhood interest in fossils was one thing that has led me to pursue a Bachelors of Science degree at Thompson Rivers University, majoring in animal biology.

A museum may seem an odd place for someone studying animals to work in over the summer, but when I started university here in Williams Lake I worked as a research assistant with one of the biology professors.

That gave me some basic skills as a curator which has now landed me at my current job with the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin as a curatorial assistant.

I spend my days in the storage room cataloguing artifacts and linking them to the database.

The hope is that soon we will know the precise location within the museum of each artifact in the collection, which will allow us to locate artifacts for creating displays faster and more efficiently.

The Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the summer.

For more information, please call 250-392-7404 or email us at mcc@wlake.com.

Just Posted

Michelle Jacobs receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 28, 2021. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
126 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

There are 22 individuals hospitalized due to the virus, and 13 in intensive care

A Cariboo Regional District director and School District 27 trustee, Angie Delainey is also a fourth generation business owner in downtown Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Angie Delainey appointed Cariboo Regional District representative on regional board

Delainey and Steve Forseth represent the CRD at the North Central Local Government Association

Pauline Schmutz, 75, receives her COVID-19 vaccine from public health nurse Donna McKenzie on Tuesday, April 13 at the community clinic at Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake campus. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Additional COVID-19 vaccine clinics scheduled for Horsefly, Big Lake

Anyone 18 and over who has not received a vaccine yet is encouraged to register

The Cariboo Regional District. (Angie Mindus photo)
Industrial park slated for Watch Lake Road

Building company Omnitek to start building new plant on 32-acre site

Kokanee Bay Fishing Resort on Puntzi Lake has been purchased by Tsideldel First Nation. (Kokanee Bay Fishing Resort photo)
Tsideldel First Nation buys Kokanee Bay Fishing Resort at Puntzi Lake

“It’s a good opportunity for the band, our children and our future,” said Chief Otis Guichon

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Most Read