Portefeulje: Landbou en Tuinbou
Beriggewer: Lydie Terblanche
Datum: 5 Desember 2023
GREAT BRAK, AT THE CENTRE OF THE WORLD’S BEST-PRESERVED PLEISTOCENE FOSSIL TRACKWAYS
A visit to any museum harnesses an appreciation of our natural heritage. In this regards the Great Brak River Museum is definitely a front runner. “Friends of the Museum”, members of the Great Brak Conservancy, as well as members of Klein-Brakrivier VLV branch (Ria, Elfride, Elrina, Susanne, Eva & Lydie), gathered at the museum and were privileged to enjoy a captivating presentation by Dr Charles Helm on his latest fossil facts and finds in Great Brak River and surrounding coastlines.
Charles Helm was born in Cape Town and moved to Canada in 1986, settled in Tumbler Ridge in northeastern British Columbia in 1992. Following the discovery of Cretaceous dinosaur trackways near Tumbler Ridge by his eight-year-old son and a friend in 2000, he has made Cretaceous dinosaur, Triassic fish, and marine reptile trackway discoveries. He is the author of nine books, one of which is a book on dinosaurs for children.
Since 2007, he has applied the palaeontological knowledge he acquired in Canada to a 350km stretch of our coastline, documenting a wealth of the best-preserved Pleistocene fossil trackways in the World. With his team, more than 250 vertebrate track sites have been identified along our coastal areas, including 35 elephant track sites; track sites from the extinct giant Cape Zebra (Equus capensis); extinct buffalo tracks; tracks made by the great, great grandparents of the brown hyena, rhino, Aardvark, ostrich, baboon spiders, fossil giraffe tracks, fossil snake tracks and numerous fossilised droppings. Two Middle Stone Age stone artifacts were also found embedded in a surface containing multiple reptile trackways. There are no existing reptiles capable of making such tracks and traces, which probably represent an indication of a previously more extensive range for the Nile crocodile, a monitor lizard and may even include a “crocodilian”. He also discovered six hominin track sites, which are also collectively the oldest sites in the world that are attributed to Homo sapiens.
A major threat is posed to these surfaces by the increasing presence of graffiti, which may deface or destroy fossil track sites and other evidence of events, when they were composed of unconsolidated sand tens of thousands of years ago. Therefor an increased awareness of the importance of this heritage resource along our coastline is necessary to prevent further damage. The public can assist by fostering an appreciation for our natural heritage.
For more information on the Great Brak Museum attractions and their activities:
064 681 0600
Voor van links na regs: Mike en Ria van Straten, Elfride. Middel: Elrina, Susanne, Hans en Eva Bouw. Agter: Lydie
Charles Helm, aanbieder