Palaeontological Services

A palaeontological resource includes fossilized remains of animals (bones, teeth, scales, shells) and plants, fossilized footprints, eggshells, and even coprolites. In general, any proposed activity likely to threaten the integrity of a historic resource (in this case, fossils) is preceded by a Historic Resources Impact Assessment.

Palaeontological Historic Resources Impact Assessments

Two types of field assessments are commonly conducted for industry and development related activities: Pre-Impact Assessments and Post-Impact Assessments (or Monitoring).

Pre-Impact Assessments are completed prior to construction. A palaeontologist surveys the proposed footprint and evaluates potential impacts to any fossil resources. Any documented fossil observations are reported on, including discussing their significance, and providing further recommendations:

  • no further action recommended (low to no potential to impact fossil resources);
  • avoidance of certain areas (if possible, may help avoid future mitigation); and
  • monitoring (a palaeontologist needs to be present during certain construction activities).

Post-Impact Assessments, or Monitoring is required when proposed developments are located in areas that have high potential for significant fossil resources. An efficient monitoring program is developed, in which the palaeontologist is only present during relevant development activities. Once monitoring is complete, a report describing site observations is completed, including recommendations such as no further concerns for palaeontological resources within the area, recommend clearance; or the discovery of significant palaeontological resources. Finding significant resources requires the site to be designated as a “high sensitivity zone for palaeontological resources” and future activities within the area should be monitored.