Kindergarten & Grade 1 Registration (Fall 2018)

To register your child, call or visit your designated HSD school. Learn more...

 

A giant beaver jaw from about 50,000 years ago was found in a gravel pit in southeastern Manitoba.

Dr. Graham Young is a curator of geology an paleontology at the Manitoba Museum. Young says the giant beaver or Castoroides ohioensis (species name) would have lived towards the end of the ice age, right before the glacier thawed and formed Lake Agassiz. He notes the giant beaver would have been much larger than a modern-day beaver and estimates it would have been the size of a bear.

Young notes it's an unusual find in Manitoba, in fact, this is only the fourth area in all of Canada where a giant beaver piece has been found.

"There have been three [other] documented occurrences in Canada. I think there's been quite a little bit found in the Yukon of this sort of creature. The other ones, that I know of, are single occurrences. One is the Don Valley brickyards in Toronto, not too far from the middle of Toronto nowadays. The other one was what is now an island right in the middle of the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick."

He says, while all of these finds are quite spread out, there are other occurrences in the north-central U.S. including Minnesota, noting this find in Manitoba may be linked with the Minnesota occurrences.

2017 10 beaver2(Photo credit: Randy Mooi)Young estimates this piece is about 50,000 years old but he says those numbers are getting near the limits of carbon dating. He notes this particular piece has not been carbon dated, but they have tested other pieces found in the same area which are believed to be from the same time period. He adds this piece is almost certainly from the last 100,000 years.

"Carbon dating even now requires some destruction of a sample. It used to be quite a little bit and now it's a very small amount, but still, it's a lot easier to sacrifice a little bit of wood then to drill out part of a rare fossil bone."

Young says finding a piece like a jaw is much better for identifying the species.

"Of course it would be great to get the entire creature, but something like the jaw is really good because you can get an identification from it. So, for instance, we've had various other pieces from the area, there was a bison vertebra donated at the same time. With the vertebrae you can say 'yes, it looks to be bison' but you can't say what species because all bison have similar vertebrae. Whereas, if you get something like a jaw or part of a skull, you can actually say what species you have."

He explains the process a fossil goes through when donated.

"It very much depends on what you're getting. The trick or challenge with pieces that have come from places like the [Southeast] is that it's been soaked in water for many centuries so it needs to be dried out slowly. Even when you dry it slowly you'll get some cracking, so that's a substantial challenge, to dry it really slowly. With this particular piece, it ended up going to our conservation people who put it in a special bag with a monitoring device so they could monitor the humidity, the moisture content."

Young says their conservators have told them the piece is in their collections room where the humidity is kept quite high. He notes it's not something they could put on exhibit for months because the drying process can take a long time.

"It might need a special climate-controlled case because, as you know, buildings in Winnipeg tend to be really dry in the winter time. So, any of these bones that have come from places like that, they're okay in our collections room because it's maintained at a humidity of 30-something percent. But humidity is a fraction of that when you get out into buildings in Winnipeg, which is why things like musical instruments crack up. It's the same sort of issue with bones as with wood."

He notes there are a few theories as to why the giant beaver would have become extinct.

"There were a lot of big creatures that went extinct at about the same time," he says. "So, we're talking 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. This was the same time as mammoths, mastodons, the horses that were native to North America, and some of the ground sloths; so, a lot of the big things went extinct. It was that time of Lake Agassiz (when the glacier moved south to form the lake), it was the time that the climate was changing a lot and rapidly. We know that when we get climate change, a lot of creatures are stressed and populations shrink. They probably found it hard to find food. At the same time humans arrived. So, it's probably that whole combination of factors."

Young reiterates it was probably a combination of climate change, landscapes changing, declining food, and humans arriving. He adds humans are good at making use of food resources, so there were big creatures with lots of meat on them that could nicely feed a family.

He says, over the years, there have been several pieces found in the Southeast including many mammoth pieces, which he says are believed to be from the same time period as the giant beaver.

"They'd all be from the same general ice age period. Things come out of gravel pits and things in gravel were probably, somewhat transported before they were buried. I think it's kind of interesting that there have been quite a lot of ice age pieces come from southeast Manitoba over the years."

Young says he looks forward to more findings in the future.

 

Kindergarten & Grade 1 Registration (Fall 2018)

To register your child, call or visit your designated HSD school. Learn more...

 

More Local News

House Near St. Pierre Is A Total Loss Following Fire

The St. Pierre Fire Department battled for seven hours on Saturday to try and save a burning house but in the end, it was a total loss. Fire Captain Rene Frechette says crews arrived on scene around…

Families Enjoy MHV's First Winter Carnival

Families from the southeast enjoyed a wide range of activities on Saturday at the Mennonite Heritage Village's first winter carnival. Jonathan Kroeker brought his family to the carnival and says it's…

St. Pierre RCMP Confiscate Modified Gun

A prohibited firearm was recovered last Tuesday following a traffic stop near the corner of Highway 59 and PR205 in St. Pierre. RCMP say the gun is a modified .22 caliber rifle and was loaded at the…

Is Generosity In Southeast Linked To Churches?

The Lead Pastor at Steinbach EMC says he is not surprised by Steinbach's ranking as the most generous city in Canada. Statistics Canada this week released data on charitable giving for 2016. That…

SRSS Students Taking Action On Various Human Rights Issues

A group of students from the Steinbach Regional Secondary School are hoping to take a stand and raise awareness for various human rights issues in the coming school year. Staff mentors have been…

Cold Southeast Manitoba Weather Is No Match For Actif Epica Athletes

Approximately 70 runners and cyclists will be going through communities in southeastern Manitoba this Saturday as they take part in the winter ultra-marathon Actif Epica. Organizer Scott Wiebe says…

Spring Is On The Mind Of Many Steinbach Residents

Steinbach residents were already thinking ahead to spring on Friday at the Mayor's Open Door. Chris Goertzen says one resident expressed concerns about tree trimming on street corner lots. "If people…

Louis Riel Day Will Be Quiet For Business

Monday promises to be a quiet day for retail in Steinbach. Ben Dueck, Executive Director for the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce, says Louis Riel Day is a statutory or general holiday in Manitoba. As a…

Chinese New Year Celebrated In The Southeast

Many Chinese citizens in the southeast are celebrating Chinese New Year today. Sue Tat from Grunthal Garden Restaurant says most of the festivities take place on New Year's Eve. "It really depends if…

Bad Luck Or Just Slow Year For Ice Fisherman?

An avid ice fisherman from Niverville says he got into the sport at a very young age and has been something he's enjoyed doing with his family over the years. Bradley Kutzak notes his father…

Marchand Business Owner Wins 'Just Watch Me' Video Contest

The owner of Evolve Green in Marchand is this year's recipient of the 'Just Watch Me' video contest. The contest is run by the Community Futures organization which helps rural entrepreneurs with…

French and Metis Cultures Being Celebrated Across The Southeast

This the time of year that French communities across Southeastern Manitoba celebrate the French and Metis Culture. Schools in St. Pierre, La Broquerie, and St. Anne participate in a wide variety of…
2017 02 grunthal2

Grunthal LUD Saving For Big Project In 2019

The Chair of the Local Urban District committee of Grunthal says residents shouldn't see an increase in taxes this year on the LUD portion of their bill. The committee is planning to transfer…
2018 02 pansy

Repaving Pansy Road "One Perogy At A Time"

Residents of Pansy will see improvements made this year to Pansy Road, without taking on more of a financial burden. But, the scope of the project has been scaled back. Council for the Rural…

Snow Clearing Underway In Steinbach

Despite the lack of significant snow accumulation this winter, compared to last, City of Steinbach crews have been out clearing streets and boulevards. Public Works Department Head Randy Reimer says,…
cameron friesen budget2016

Manitoba's Fiscal Plan Remains On Target

Manitoba Finance Minister Cameron Friesen say the province is on track with regards to it's budget targets for this year. In December, the province released its second quarter report which showed the…

Bram Family Experiences First Olympics

Following last week's flag presentation in Ste. Anne, the Larocque and Bram families were able to present the flags to their daughters Jocelyne and Bailey in Pyeongchang. Last Wednesday, the…
2018 01 harold laninga

Meth, Marijuana, And Crack Cocaine Most Common In Steinbach

The Staff Sergeant for the Steinbach RCMP Detachment says while the use of fentanyl seems to have quieted down ... meth, marijuana, and crack cocaine are the three most prevalent illegal drugs in the…

Heart Attack Survivor Says Better Safe Than Sorry

February is Heart and Stroke month and a local heart attack survivor says when it comes to heart health, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Ray Perreault suffered a heart attack this last…

Generosity Displayed In Southeast

Data released Wednesday by Statistics Canada shows Blumenort is still the most generous community in the southeast. For 2016, the median charitable donation, claimed per tax filer in Blumenort was…

Steinbachonline.com is Steinbach's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide

Kindergarten Registration

09 January 2018 9:00 am - 20 February 2018 8:00 pm

École Héritage Immersion Kindergarten registration





Blind Date with a Book 2018

01 February 2018 10:00 am - 28 February 2018 9:00 pm

Jake Epp Library, Steinbach





Providence Public Lecture Series: Pandora's Gifts - Language Learning Through Expressive Arts

20 February 2018 7:00 pm

Steinbach Arts Council (Studio B), Steinbach





Games Night at the Library!

21 February 2018 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Jake Epp Library, Steinbach





Login