TUMBLER RIDGE, BC -- Prehistoric bird and dinosaur tracks have been identified near Tumbler Ridge.

The tracks were found in 2014 on the slope of the valley of Ninesting Creek, which flows into the Wolverine River. Scientists have identified an “unusual assemblage” of three distinct track types, which are around 112 million years old.

One of the track types is from a four-toed, bipedal dinosaur called an oviraptosaur, which was a theropod the size of an emu or an ostrich.

Another set is from a large three-toed bird, and are the largest bird tracks from the Mezozoic Era found in North America and among the largest in the world from this time period.

The last set is from a pterosaur – a flying dinosaur. They may be the first of their kind to be identified in BC, although tracks have previously been found in Alberta, Alaska, and the western United States. They appear to be the oldest thus far identified in Canada.

Twenty tracks were identified in all, within six trackways. According to a statement from the Tumbler Ridge museum, “the discovery confirms the importance of northeastern BC as an area rich in fossil tracksites.”

These new findings have been published in the peer-reviewed science journal Cretaceous Research