This Week in History
"Them Dry Bones..."
For the week of Monday August 20, 2007
On August 26, 1957, Joseph Burr Tyrrell died only a few months before his 99th birthday. During his lifetime, Tyrrell undertook many diverse projects and made significant contributions to geography and history in Canada.
In 1884, Tyrrell led his own expedition north of Calgary to study the geology and search for coal resources. It was there that Tyrrell came face-to-face with a dinosaur skull while climbing up a creek’s bank. This was the first discovery of carnivorous dinosaur bones in Canada. The area was rich in dinosaur bones and fossils and, in 1985, the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, named in honour of Tyrrell’s discovery, opened in Drumheller, Alberta.
After leaving the GSC, Tyrrell, with his vast knowledge of geology, pursued mining. He was a private mining consultant in Dawson at the height of the Klondike gold rush and later became the general manager and president of the Kirkland Lake Gold Mining Company.
Tyrrell filled in blank spots on Canada’s map and expanded knowledge of geology and other scientific disciplines. He also contributed to Canadian history by editing and publishing the journals of 18th- and 19th-century explorers and fur traders Samuel Hearne and David Thompson. Joseph Burr Tyrrell was designated a National Historic Person in 1970.
For more information on Tyrrell’s travels, visit the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library’s Barren Lands Digital Collection.
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