royal alberta museum
13,791,155
visitors since 1967

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Surface Collecting (collecting isolated fossils that are clearly on the surface of the ground) is permitted on private land with the landowner's permission and on provincial Crown land.

Excavating (digging) refers to dislodging in any manner, fossils imbedded/buried in the ground or rock face. Excavating requires a permit, which is available only to professional palaeontologists.

Fossils in Protected Areas - Fossils may not be collected in any provincial/national park or protected area.

If you live in Alberta, and legally surface collected, you may keep the material as a custodian of the fossil, although ownership remains with the Province of Alberta.

The Historical Resources Act prohibits removal of fossils from the province without a Disposition Certificate issued by the Government of Alberta.

For more information on the Historical Resources Act, contact the Royal Tyrrell Museum's Resource Management Program.

To purchase a copy of the Historical Resources Act, contact:

Publication Services
Main Floor, Park Plaza
10611 - 98 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5K 2P7

To view the Historical Resources Act online visit The Queen's Printer - Province of Alberta.

Fossils collected in Alberta cannot be sold without obtaining permission from the Government of Alberta through the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Fossils sold in Alberta shops are often collected in the United States, Europe, and Africa where laws regarding fossils are different.

We are happy to help try and identify fossils. You may contact us about bringing the fossil into the museum for us to look at, or you can photograph the fossil and send us a picture via traditional post or email.

That really depends on the type of fossil. Fossils that are petrified (turned to stone) tend to be quite robust and may not need preservatives. Many Ice Age fossils from Alberta are not petrified and can be quite fragile. If you've found a fossil and have questions about preservation, please contact us.