October 7th was Winnipeg's Christian Pflouffe's, an Undergraduate Student at the University of Manitoba (UofM), second visit to Morden. His first time was when he was a kid and his parents brought him to see the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre (CFDC). He remembers his parents took him to see the giant Mosasaur and the fish and statues that were there. He notes, that while it was pretty exciting for him as a child, he still finds it interesting. Pflouffe has always had an interest in dinosaurs and other life from the past. He and two other students from the UofM, Ilona Funk and Jessica Janssen, came out to Morden to bring back a specimen that he will be writing his Undergraduate Thesis about.
"We came to Morden because the sample that I'm working on for my Undergraduate Thesis is of a Plesiosaur skeleton," explained Pflouffe. "So, it's basically a large prehistoric reptile that lived back then in the oceans. It was found out in Morden about almost twenty years ago now, and we went there to go and retrieve the sample."
He continued to describe one of the components of his study.
"This Plesiosaur had a lot of its gut contents still in it. So, my goal is to kind of really figure out what this Plesiosaur was eating at the time, its last meal, it's diet and so forth. So, I'm going to be dealing with a lot of that sediment material and just the gut contents and try to figure that stuff out."
Assistant Professor of Paleontology at the UofM in the Department of Earth Sciences, and Adjunct Curator of Vertebrates at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre, Kirsten Brink, added this about Plouffe's thesis work.
"There's a chance that this might be a new species of Plesiosaur, so it might be a new species that we haven't seen in Manitoba before, or might be something completely new to science, or it might be another smaller version of another species that we do already have in Manitoba."
CFDC Executive Director, Adolfo Cuetara, shared how Brink came to work with the organization.
"The CFDC signed last year, together with the UofM, a Memorandum of Understanding to connect the researchers (students and graduated) with the paleontological resources we have (fossils). Thanks to that agreement, Kirstin Brink is now our Adjunct Curator of Vertebrates and also a Director at the CFDC Board of Directors, and she is already directing a few research projects with CFDC fossils. The scientific research is what gives sense to the CFDC existence, and it is a part of our Statement of Purpose, so we are promoting any research project with the UofM."
Brink described how her role connects the CFDC and the students and their work at the UofM.
"I'm helping to figure out which fossils they have in the collection are scientifically relevant and scientifically important, so bringing students, like Christian, to help work on describing the fossils that are in that collection already. And then, hopefully, next year, we'll be able to actually start a more rigorous field program, so we can go out to these new sites in the Morden area and start collecting new material to bring to the museum."