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60 million-year-old fossils found in Calgary during basement excavation

WATCH: A contractor has dug up a huge piece of history in a Northwest Calgary basement. Gord Gillies explains.

CALGARY – The fossils of five fish thought to be 60 million-years-old have been uncovered in the city’s northwest.

The near-perfect fish fossils were unearthed by Edgar Nernberg during the excavation of a basement he was digging in the community of Evanston.

“I knew right away that this was different from the other fossils I have uncovered in my many years of excavating,” said Nernberg.

The fossils were concealed in a block of sandstone in the Paskapoo Formation, a roughly 60 million-year-old rock formation that underlies Calgary.

“Complete fossils are relatively rare from this time period in Alberta,” explained Darla Zelenitsky, paleontologist and assistant professor in the geoscience department at the University of Calgary.

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“Any such discoveries are significant as they shed light on the nature and diversity of animals that lived not long after the extinction of the dinosaurs,” adds Zelenitsky.

The specimens will now make their way to the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, where they will be curated, cleaned up, and potentially go on display.

In Alberta, all fossils found are the property of the province, not of the landowners or the individuals who locate them.

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One of five fossilized fish recently unearthed while excavating a basement in Calgary, Alberta. Global News / Dani Lantela
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One of five fossilized fish recently unearthed while excavating a basement in Calgary, Alberta. Global News / Dani Lantela

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