Canada

Rare fossil found on P.E.I.

An Island family has found a fossil on P.E.I. that could have provincial and national significance.

But the family is refusing to give it up to scientists. They're waiting for the right offer.

Five years ago Mike Arsenault and his father Ed found the fossil embedded in a sandstone rock along the shore in Egmont Bay.

They chiseled out the chunk that contained the fossil and they've kept it ever since.

Ed Arsenault has declined several requests for an interview but he has shown the fossil to scientists and Island officials.

Dr. Hans Dieter Suess is a paleontologist with the Royal Ontario Museum. He saw the fossil last summer and confirms it's the only one in Canada.

The skeletal fossil is about the size of a small cat and is a reptile. The white bones are embedded in red sandstone.

Dr. Suess says without further work it's not possible to positively identify the creature. He's also concerned without museum care, the fossil will deteriorate.

Chester Gillan is P.E.I.'s minister in charge of archaeological sites on the Island.

Gillan has seen the fossil as well. He admits P.E.I. has no specific legislation that allows the province to take ownership. Gillan was hopeful the fossil would be turned over the the R.O.M.

But the cash offer made by the Royal Ontario Museum - to Ed Arsenault has been turned down. And the rare fossil remains in private hands.

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