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Prehistoric Giants 
Ilka Bauer

Long before there were people, many huge animals roamed what is now known as Canada. Some dinosaur fossils found in Nova Scotia are two hundred million years old, and vast herds of plant-eating dinosaurs and their predators used to live in places like Alberta and Saskatchewan, while aquatic ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs ruled shallow seas.


About 65 million years ago, dinosaurs and their kin disappeared, and mammals began to grow big. Megacerops, the animal in the illustration, roamed the North American plains about 35 million years ago. At two metres tall and three metres long, it was one of the largest mammals of its time. With two blunt horns on its snout, it probably behaved much like a modern rhino. Fossils of this creature were found in Saskatchewan, and you can see its skeleton and reconstructions in the Canadian Museum of Nature. If you are in Ottawa for the sesquicentennial, consider paying it a visit!


Canadian Museum of Nature, Cast of Characters, online: <>


Lambe, Lawrence M (1908). The Vertebrata of the Oligocene of the Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan. 

Contributions to Canadian Palaeontology, Volume II, Government Printing Bureau, Ottawa.


Lull, Richard S (1905). Megacerops tyleri, a new species of titanothere from the Bad Lands of South Dakota. The Journal of Geology 13: 443-456


Osborn, Henry Fairfield (1929). The Titanotheres of ancient Wyoming, Dakota, and Nebraska (2 volumes). US Geological Survey Monograph 55, US Government Printing Office, Washington.


Rachel Ward, Dinosaur bones found in Bay of Fundy cliffs, CBC News (13 November 2015), online: 


Shepherd, Kieran, “Go Big or Go Home. Canadian Museum of Nature: 'Filled to bursting with skeletons and dioramas'”. Ottawa Citizen (8 July 2007), online:

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