When a teenager helped unearth a dinosaur nest in Alberta

A teenager's discerning eye and knowledge of dinosaurs helped paleontologists unearth a major fossil find near Lethbridge, Alta., more than three decades ago.

Wendy Sloboda's keen eye spurred a major find near Lethbridge, Alta., in 1987

In September of 1987, the public learns about a big dinosaur find in Alberta. 2:35

An amateur fossil-hunter's discerning eye and knowledge of dinosaurs helped paleontologists unearth a major fossil find near Lethbridge, Alta., more than three decades ago.

In May of 1987, Wendy Sloboda found what she believed to be the fossilized remains of a dinosaur eggshell.

Wendy Sloboda is seen discussing the find with CBC in September of 1987. (The National/CBC Archives)

"I was looking on the ground and I found eggshell — what I thought was eggshell," Sloboda told CBC News in September of that year, when the location of the site was publicly revealed a few months after she first made her find.

After scientists saw samples of what she found, they came to check out the same site themselves.

Kevin Aulenback, a research technician with the Royal Tyrell Museum of Paleontology in Drumheller, Alta., made an additional finding that further confirmed the importance of the site.

"Lo and behold, I looked to my side, there was a tibia ... from a baby hadrosaur, as well as a chunk of eggshell," said Aulenback.

Dr. Francois Therrien, Curator of Dinosaur Palaeoecology at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, holds a clump of clay with egg shell fragments from a Hypacrosaurus, a crested duckbilled dinosaur next to models of reconstructed eggs at Devil's Coulee near Warner, Alta., Monday, Aug. 18, 2014. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

When The National covered the nest story in September 1987, reporter Whit Fraser pointed out that the bones of either unhatched dinosaurs or newborn dinosaurs were visible at the site.

"The remains of dinosaurs have been found before in Alberta, but the scientists say this one is more significant because it allows the paleontologists to study the young animals," Fraser told viewers.

The Alberta government purchased the land where the finding was made — a site now known as the Devil's Coulee Dinosaur Egg Site. It remains a research site and a place the public can visit on guided tours, at selected times between May and Labour Day.

Sloboda has since had a legendary career as a fossil hunter and has even had a species of dinosaur named after her.