Local couple’s fossil may be a whole new species

Graham and Tina Beard get a visit from the Smithsonian

Dr. Peter Ward holds the fossilized remains of what could be a whole new species of ammonite.

Dr. Peter Ward holds the fossilized remains of what could be a whole new species of ammonite.

Tina Beard has been a big fan of the art of Ray Troll for many years, even travelling to his home in Ketchikan, Alaska to view his work.

Now, after a surprise visit from the artist, Beard, along with her paleontologist husband Graham, may well end up as subjects themselves in one of his paintings — alongside what could be a whole new species from their fossil collection.

“They spent a good two hours in the museum, photographing and looking at all the different specimens,” Beard said. “They think we may have a brand new species of hetomorphic ammonite at the museum and they’re all excited about that.”

The fossil is of a bottom-dwelling tentacled creature that had a shell shaped somewhat like a giant paperclip.

“Many ammonites have nice spirals, but in the latter part of the Cretacious period there were many species that started to uncoil,” Graham explained. “They were benthic, which means they crawled along the seabed. They wouldn’t be able to escape predators, so they had four rows of spines that stuck out like a porcupine.”

It’s those four rows of spines that set it apart. While there are other hetomorphic ammonites, they only have two rows of spines, so this could be a whole new species.

The potential of having a new species in the collection is big news for both the Beards, but the possibility of being included in an art book by her favourite artist is what has Tina over the moon.

“I’ve always admired his work because there’s a lot of paleontology in it,” she said. “It’s all tongue in cheek. He’s an amazing artist.”


The meeting took place on Sept. 3, when the Beards got a phone call from Peter Ward from the University of Washington.



Just Posted

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Whiskey Creek gas station burned to the ground after camper van explosion

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

District of Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, left, and Snaw-Naw-As Chief Gordon Edwards sign a memorandum of understanding outside Snaw-Naw-As Market on Friday, June 18. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Lantzville and Snaw-Naw-As sign memorandum of understanding

District and First Nation create joint working group

John Furlong told the Vancouver Board of Trade on Feb. 20, 2020 that he thinks the city could and should bid for the 2030 Winter Games. (CP photo)
A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read