33. Fossil Feather (1879)

Fossil Feather

This fossil is a rare example of an impression of a feather preserved as a carbonate concretion from the Green Creek locality in Ottawa. It was collected by an illustrious amateur scientist, the Marquess of Lorne, just after he had become Canada’s fourth Governor General (1878-1883).

The Dominion Annual Register & Review for 1879 recorded the discovery. “His Excellency the Governor-General, who is known to be a proficient geologist, has devoted some attention to the palaeontology of the vicinity of the Capital. Among the discoveries which he has made, one of much interest is a feather, apparently of a duck, in one of the nodules which occur in the post-Pliocene clays not far from Rideau Hall.” The Marquess later donated the fossil to the Geological Survey of Canada.

The fossil feather comes from the time when the focus for the Geological Survey of Canada was shifting away from Montreal. The Survey moved to Ottawa in 1881, and quickly became a force there. The Marquess of Lorne sponsored the establishment of the Royal Society of Canada in 1882, and many Survey geologists were among its early members.

Category: Rocks, Fossils, Minerals and Meteorites

Decade: 1870s


Wagner, F. 1985, Fossil of Ontario, Volume 2, Royal Ontario Museum, 70 p.

Proceedings of the Natural History Society of Montreal for January 26, 1880; in The Canadian Naturalist and Quarterly Journal of Science, v. 9, p. 310. http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/32317#page/9/mode/1up 

The Dominion Annual Register & Review for 1879, Palaeontology Report: Science Section, 1880, (ed.) H.J. Morgan (Keeper of the Records, Canada), p. 287.

GSC 175 - CGC 175