Buster makes his debut as the first dinosaur native to BC

Erin Laforet / November 7, 2019

Victoria Arbour is the palaeontologist that lead the search for Ferrisaurus sustutensis back in 2017.
(@VictoriaArbour / Twitter)

Curator of Palaeontology for the Royal BC Museum, Victoria Arbour, published an article Thursday outlining the discovery of Ferrisaurus sustutensis, a new species of dinosaur discovered to be native to BC.

“Worldwide dinosaurs are actually named almost every couple of weeks, but from British Columbia, very rarely. This is the first new species from British Columbia, which I think is pretty cool and special.”

Arbour notes that this particular group of dinosaurs, called the Leptoceratopsidae, is quite rare and not as many new species are seen with this particular group.

Nicknamed “Buster”, the Ferrisaurus is closely related to the Triceratops. Buster is a hornless herbivore with a parrot-like beak about 1.75 metres long. What distinguishes the Ferrisaurus from other closely related species is details in its toe bones, as well as a shorter foreman compared to its hind leg.

It was difficult to know if Ferrisaurus was different from other species because researchers were missing key parts of the skeleton, including the skull. It took years of going to museums and comparing Ferrisaurus against other specimens to know that it was a different species.

Arbour wanted to revisit the area where Buster’s bones were discovered in 1971 to try to find more of the skeleton, to get a better sense of how old the specimen was and what sorts of plants and animals could be found in the same environment.

“Right now we basically just have one specimen of this dinosaur that has been found in British Columbia, but we might find as time goes on and more discoveries are made in say like Alberta or Montana that maybe Ferrisaurus sort of roamed abroad or south of North America, than just British Columbia.”

Arbour plans to lead future expeditions to northern parts of British Columbia with rocks that are similar to where Ferrisaurus was discovered. The goal is to find more dinosaur fossils to add to the Royal BC Museum’s collection.

(Cole Sorenson / BCIT News)