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From the Deep Files …

When I started to work at The Manitoba Museum in 1993, I discovered this intriguing correspondence in the “deep files,” inherited from the old Manitoba Museum:

Altamont, Man.
September, 1963

Dear Sir:

Today I was digging a hole along the edge of a slough. After digging through four feet of peat, I came upon this tooth. Two inches below the tooth was a thin layer of white sand.

Could you tell me what kind of animal this tooth is from?

Thank you for the information.

[signature]

There is a sketch of a squarish tooth in pencil on the letter, and a note that it was a “very dark brown specimen.” It looks like a bison tooth to me, and apparently the Museum staff wrote back to that effect. They must have also expressed an interest in visiting the site, as indicated by the second letter:

Altamont, Man.
September, 1963

Dear Sir:

I received your letter concerning the tooth.

The hole which I found the tooth in was dug to bury a fairly large pig. The hole was about 4 1/2 feet deep, the tooth was about 4 feet from the surface. … I found the tooth along the side of the hole, I dug around the tooth but there was no sign of any other tooth or bone of any kind. After a good look for others, we buried the pig in the hole and filled it in.

You are welcome to come to investigate any time, if you still wish to under these circumstances.

Sincerely,

[signature]

There is no note in the file on whether Museum staff visited the site. One suspects that they were not able to find the time to do so.

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Graham Young

Curator of Geology & Paleontology

See Full Biography

Graham Young grew up in Fredericton, New Brunswick. After doing a B.Sc. in biology at the University of New Brunswick, he switched to geology and did an M.Sc. in paleontology at the University of Toronto. After completing a Ph.D. at the University of New Brunswick in 1988, Graham spent two years in Newcastle, England, studying fossils from the Island of Gotland, Sweden. He moved to Winnipeg in 1990 to do research at the University of Manitoba, and has worked at the Manitoba Museum since 1993.

At the Museum, Graham’s curatorial work involves all aspects of geology and paleontology. He is responsible for building the collections, dealing with public inquiries, and preparing exhibits. Over the years, Graham’s research has become broader in scope, moving from specialist studies of fossil corals, towards research on ancient environments, ecosystems, and unusual fossils such as jellyfish and horseshoe crabs. Most of his current field research is on sites in the Grand Rapids Uplands and elsewhere in northern Manitoba.