N.S. man who dedicated life to uncovering fossils has fossil named after him
Published Monday, June 11, 2018 10:27PM ADT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 12, 2018 7:26AM ADT
The fossil cliffs at Joggins are world famous, but a fossil found on Blue Beach in Hants County, Nova Scotia has drawn the attention of some of the world's leading paleontologists.
Blue Beach is a five-kilometre stretch along the Avon River where it empties into the Minas Basin and it offers a treasure-trove from earth's history 350-million years ago.
Chris Mansky has been collecting fossils along its shoreline for almost a quarter century and now has a fossil named after him.
“It was a fish, and I didn't find it,” Mansky said. “It was my colleagues who found a little fish here.”
A paleontologist from the University of Calgary discovered a skull casing from a 350-million year old fish here in 2015 -- and unveiled it last month as avonichthys manskyi.
“It was top secret until the day it was published, so it was just as much a surprise that they had even found it, much less name it,” he said.
Paleontologists from universities like Calgary, Harvard, and Cambridge continue to study fossils that Mansky has found here -- including rare tetrapods -- an animal that evolved into amphibians and was among the first to conquer land.
Mansky already had a passion for fossils before he visited Blue Beach, but it grew stronger there.
On a recent field trip to Blue Beach, two busloads of elementary school students hang on his every word – as they should.
Nobody knows the treasures of Blue Beach quite like him. He and his wife, Sonja Wood, have a more than 45,000 kilograms of rock stored in their fossil museum.
Wood has also been immortalized by paleontologists after they named a horseshoe crab fossil after her eight years ago.
"Yeah well we kind of feel like a couple of old living fossils,” said Wood. “But yeah, we're both honoured, not just for ourselves but for our province.”
With files from Jayson Baxter.