British Columbia

Dig this: you can vote online for B.C.'s official fossil

The race features a mixture of ancient creatures including a type of crab, an ancient forerunner to the salmon and a large, dinosaur-like sea reptile called the elasmosaur.

Forget municipal elections — this is a vote that really rocks

A 12-metre elasmosaur fossil was found on Vancouver Island in 1988 and it is now on display at the Courtenay and District Museum. (Courtenay and District Museum)

The Pacific Dogwood is B.C.'s provincial flower, the Steller's Jay is its bird — but what about an official provincial fossil?

Seven prehistoric relics are in the running for that honour right now in an online survey.

That race features a mixture of creatures including a type of crab, an ancient forerunner of the salmon and a large, dinosaur-like sea reptile called the elasmosaur.

Pat Trask, curator of natural history at the Courtenay and District Museum, is advocating for that last entrant — for several reasons.

"The elasmosaur has some pretty big teeth. He's quite a favourite with the kids because he's large and scary," Trask told All Points West host Robyn Burns. "It's Loch Ness Monster-ish, if you will."

Also, his brother discovered the first elasmasour fossil found west of the Rockies. You can decide for yourself if that's a conflict of interest.

Eosalmo driftwoodensis, a forerunner to modern-day salmon, is one of the hopefuls to become B.C.'s official provincial fossil. (Government of British Columbia)

'Collective natural heritage'

Trask said that he and others have been lobbying the province for some time to adopt a provincial fossil to go with other provincial symbols.

Much of B.C. was underwater millions of years ago, he explained, which is why many aquatic fossils have been discovered in this province.

"It fosters our sense of collective natural heritage," he said. "We can trace all life, back to the beginning of time … and we're all part of that. We're just an extension of that."

Other provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan already have them and he believes it's time for B.C. to get a petrified symbol as well.

You can find the official online survey online. Voting ends Nov. 23.

Listen to the full story:

With files from CBC Radio One's All Points West

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