A Canadian man was digging a basement for a new home in Calgary when he looked in his digger bucket and found something "extraordinary:" five fish fossils. Edgar Nernberg, who works for an excavation company, knew what he found was special.
"When the five fish fossils presented themselves to me in the excavator bucket, the first thing I said was you're coming home with me, the second thing was I better call a paleontologist," Nernberg said, according to the BBC.
Nernberg donates to Alberta's Big Valley Creation Science Museum, according to the BBC. The Big Valley Creation Science Museum is a Bible-supporting museum meant to counter the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller. The exhibits at Big Valley Creation Science Museum explain how dinosaurs and humans coexisted and how stories like the flood that prompted Noah to build an ark have geological backing.
Yes, Nernberg believes in creationism - the theory that the universe began by a divine act - and he has an interest in fossils. "The first seashell fossils I saw were shown to me by my father in the rocks we had to pick off of our farmland in Manitoba, and I've been watching for and collecting fossils ever since," he said, according to a press release.
The sandstone specimens were determined by researchers at the University of Calgary to be from the Paskapoo Formation, a Palaeocene age sedimentary rock under most of southern Alberta. The impressions are evidence of life from an era following the mass extinction of dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period.
"Because complete fossils are relatively rare from this time period in Alberta, any such discoveries are significant as they shed light on the nature and diversity of animals that lived not long after the extinction of the dinosaurs," said Darla Zelenitsky, paleontologist and assistant professor at the University of Calgary, according to the press release. "These fossil fish are important because they are very primitive representatives of a large group of bony fish known today."
All fossils found in Alberta are legally property of the province and do not belong to the landowners or the individuals who find them. The specimens will make their way to the Royal Tyrrell Museum, where they will be curated, cleaned up, and potentially go on display.
When asked by the Calgary Sun if the 60 million year old fossils change his mind about his belief that the Earth started 6,000 years ago, Nernberg laughed. "No, it hasn't changed my mind. We all have the same evidence, and it's just a matter of how you interpret it," he said. Despite having donated money and exhibits to the museum in Big Valley - the rival to the Royal Tyrrell - Nernberg said he believes there is room in this world for more than one theory. "There's no dates stamped on these things," he said while chucking.