Scientists have discovered mammal remains from creatures that roamed the Bulkley Valley over fifty million years ago.
Brandon University biologist, David Greenwood says while looking for plant and insect fossils in Driftwood Canyon scientists discovered part of a tiny hedgehog and a tapir.
He says both animals are from the pre-Ice age Eocene era.
“The world was very, very warm and North America in particular was so warm that there were alligators found from what is now Texas all the way to the Arctic. And palms certainly were found as far north as Smithers.”
He says the fossils are of early versions of the animals that have evolved over time and left the area when the temperatures cooled.
“We found a little hedgehog that is very early in the evolution of hedgehogs. Unlike living hedgehogs they didn’t have the spines. They just had fur like a mouse and they had a long tail which is also unlike living hedgehogs. It was a tiny little animal about two inches long.”
The tapir, which now lives in rain forests like the Amazon was about the size of a Cocker Spaniel and didn’t have the trunk-like nose that today’s species has.
Greenwood says this is a significant find for B.C. as these are maybe the fourth and fifth mammal fossils ever found in the province from that era.