December 02, 2019

RSM Scientists Continue To Make New And Surprising Fossil Discoveries

In a recent paper published in Scientific Reports, a team of palaeontologists led by Royal Saskatchewan Museum’s (RSM) Ryan McKellar describe the remarkable discovery of the first record of amber attached to a dinosaur bone in North America.

In the article, McKellar and the team explain how the piece of amber and the jaw bone of a duck-billed dinosaur were likely buried at the same time in an ancient river channel, while the amber resin was still sticky enough to attach and form around the bone.  They have remained together for 75 million years.  What makes the discovery even more unique is that captured and perfectly preserved within the Cretaceous period amber is a tiny insect identified as a bark-feeding aphid.

“Once analyzed, the aphid and surrounding resin provided more details about the source trees for the amber and their living conditions at that time,” McKellar said.  “It also allows us to stitch together with more certainty the sequence of events needed to bring the amber and bone together.”

“In addition to world-class exhibits, like the CN T.rex Gallery and exceptional programming for children, students and visitors of all ages, scientific research is a very important facet of the museum,” Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Gene Makowsky said.  “Fieldwork, advising on new exhibits, and teaching and speaking with the public are just some of the daily activities of RSM scientists as they collaborate with colleagues in Saskatchewan, across the country and around the globe.”

This discovery will be the subject of study for years to come.  Academic publishing contributes to the RSM’s status as an internationally recognized centre for research and teaching.

The article can be found online at

To learn more about palaeontological research and other exciting things going on at the RSM, go to  Visit. Donate. Discover.