The Royal BC Museum’s (RBCM) robust collection of artifacts just got a whole lot bigger this week, as it accepted a donation of nearly 18,000 fossil specimens gathered from the McAbee Fossil Beds Heritage Site, near Cache Creek, B.C.
The collection was made by the late John Leahy, who once managed the site, and his colleague David Langevin.
Many of the pieces comprise numerous organisms such as plants, insects, fish, and so on.
“This is an exceptional donation of paleontological material from a remarkable site in B.C.,” says Royal BC Museum CEO Professor Jack Lohman.
“As befits an epoch-spanning treasure, we anticipate the Leahy-Langevin collection will be used as a research resource for decades to come, and the foundation of numerous educational activities and public programs.”
We are delighted to announce that the @RoyalBCMuseum has gratefully accepted a donation of the world's largest collection from the McAbee Fossil Beds. Donated by the late John Leahy, the Leahy-Langevin collection comprises of 18,000 pieces #RBCMFossils pic.twitter.com/4CLp15t87C
— Royal BC Museum (@RoyalBCMuseum) August 23, 2018
Bed site home to diverse variety of fossils
The McAbee fossil beds are home to fossils from a period known as the early Eocene Epoch—52 million years ago.
The beds are some of the most important in the world, and are renowned for their abundance, quality, and diversity of fossils, according to the RBCM. They’ve been designated as a provincial heritage site due to their history and significance.
Leahy, a Kamloops-area teacher, was respected as an “informed amateur” in the world of fossils, and used a scanner to take detailed photographs of his finds.
Those photos were then sent to scientists across the continent, and contributed to a significant amount of paleontological research.
A museum curator’s report shows that many of the fossils are of species new to science.
The donation comes at the same time as the kick-off for a campaign encouraging B.C. citizens to vote for an official provincial fossil.