More about the Horseshoe Canyon Formation
Who originally discovered the Horseshoe Canyon Formation fossil sites?
(Our thanks to Dr. Will Strait for this information)
In 1884 a coal geologist named Joseph Tyrrell found a skull of a tyrannosaur (probably Albertosaurus) in the rocks around Drumheller. He wasn't looking for fossils, but he knew what he was looking at and took the skull back to his colleagues. Organized collecting of the fossils in the area began in 1898, and during the first two decades of the 20th Century, several important paleontologists came to the area, including Lawrence Lambe, the Sternbergs (a father & two-son team), and Barnum Brown. Several museums around the world got specimens from the Drumheller area during those years. After a lull in collecting, some new initiatives in the 1950s and again in the 1980s resulted in the opening of the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller in 1985. Since then, although more work has been done in Dinosaur Provincial Park to the south, the badlands around Drumheller have been almost continuously searched for fossils.