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Des fossiles d'une enorme creature pesant jusqu'a 20 tonnes, sorte de croisement entre un canard et un alligator, ont ete decouverts au Maroc.
Long de 15 m et dote d'une vingtaine de dents acerees dans un long museau etroit, ce dinosaure deja connu pour etre carnivore et qui vivait il y a environ 95 millions d'annees devorait aussi des poissons. Les premiers ossements du Spinosaurus avaient ete mis au jour en 1912 en Egypte et decrits en 1915 par le paleontologue allemand Ernst Stromer von Reichenbach, mais celui-ci n'avait alors pas decele les capacites d'adaptation aquatique de l'animal. Le Spinosaurus surpassait largement en taille le celebre tyrannosaure (T-Rex), qui a vecu en Amerique du Nord plusieurs millions d'annees apres la disparition du Spinosaurus.
Il serait ainsi le plus grand dinosaure predateur connu ayant vecu sur la planete, depassant de 3 metres en longueur le plus gros specimen de T. Selon Paul Sereno et Nizar Ibrahim, des paleontologues de l'Universite de Chicago, la decouverte du fossile du squelette le plus complet d'un Spinosaurus a ce jour montre clairement qu'il pouvait evoluer a la fois sur le sol et dans l'eau. Les ossements, dont des parties du crane, de la colonne vertebrale, du pelvis et des membres, ont ete decouverts au cours de plusieurs annees dans des sediments d'eau douce dans le Sahara marocain, au sud-est du pays. Le saviez-vous?Les reptiles marins comme les plesiosaures et les mosasaures ne sont pas des dinosaures, meme s'ils ont une certaine ressemblance. Ils signalent egalement une grande densite osseuse des membres qui aurait permis a ce dinosaure de rester immerge dans l'eau plutot que de flotter. Il a aussi note, durant une conference de presse, que ce dinosaure devait avoir de grandes difficultes sur le sol a maintenir son equilibre pendant longtemps sur ses pattes arriere, vu son anatomie.
Selon ces chercheurs, l'enorme crete sur son dos, qui rappelle une voile de bateau, devait surtout servir a seduire pour sa reproduction plutot qu'a l'aider a nager. Les fossiles decouverts en 1912 avaient ete detruits alors qu'ils se trouvaient dans le musee d'histoire naturelle de Munich avec d'autres collections de paleontologie, en avril 1944 lors d'un bombardement allie sur la ville. Il a donc fallu attendre pres d'un siecle pour disposer d'un nouveau squelette de Spinosaurus, dont les premiers ossements ont ete decouverts initialement par un nomade collectionneur amateur de fossiles au Maroc. Par chance, les notes, croquis et publications d'Ernest Stromer, qui se trouvaient dans le chateau familial en Baviere, ont survecu et ont permis de faire des comparaisons detaillees avec les ossements decouverts au Maroc.
Pour reconstituer l'image d'un squelette plus complet du Spinosaurus, les scientifiques ont combine les informations provenant des nouveaux fossiles et des versions numeriques des ossements decrits par Ernest Stromer, ainsi que ceux d'un ancetre de ce dinosaure, le Suchomimus, qui etait toutefois tres different. Cette decouverte fera aussi l'objet d'une exposition dans le Musee du National Geographic a Washington, ainsi que d'un article dans le numero d'octobre de la revue.
Unique in the Parks Canada system, Gwaii Haanas consists of the park reserve, the Haida Heritage Site, and the marine conservation area.
Summertime camping is a popular activity in Alberta’s Jasper National Park, the largest park in the Canadian Rockies. Established in 1981, Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan is one of Canada’s newest parks. A sea kayaker navigates the rocks around Flowerpot Island in Ontario’s Fathom Five National Marine Park. British Columbia’s Kootenay National Park features a fully developed hot spring and other popular geological attractions. Purple and coral-hued sea stars cling to a rock in Schooner Cove on Vancouver Island, part of British Columbia’s Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The aurora borealis brightens the sky over Manitoba’s Wapusk National Park, one of Canada’s most accessible northern national parks.
Quttinirpaaq National Park, situated at the northern end of Ellesmere Island, is the second largest national park in Canada and the most remote. Quebec’s Forillon National Park protects a range of varied ecosystems, including natural prairies, seaside cliffs, lakes, and marshes. The Prince of Wales Hotel overlooks Waterton Lake in Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park. One of Canada’s most accessible high Arctic parks, Sirmilik is home to a variety of marine and avian wildlife. Located high in the northwest corner of Yukon, Ivvavik National Park is difficult to access, but its pristine beauty makes the trip well worth the challenge. Le Chateau (the Castle) rock formation juts out of the shoreline on Grand Island in Quebec’s Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve.
British Columbia’s Mount Revelstoke National Park is best known for the scenic parkway that links the town of Revelstoke to the summit of Mount Revelstoke, a gentle parkland of tree-line woods and flowery meadows. An orca surfaces for air in Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve in British Columbia. The Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area offers unparalleled waters for trout, whitefish, lake herring, and walleye. The oldest national park in Newfoundland and Labrador, Terra Nova protects a diverse collection of habitats and is popular for its year-round camping and hiking.
Referred to by staff and locals as “Keji,” Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site teems with wildlife and is home to ancient petroglyphs.
Spectacular, wildlife-rich lowland tundra characterizes remote Aulavik National Park in the Northwest Territories. Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Northwest Territories has more than 11,500 square miles of wilderness that includes ice fields, mountains, alpine tundra, and boreal forest. A 62-mile finger of land between Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula is known for its spectacular shoreline and Niagara Escarpment rock formations. One of Canada’s smallest national parks, New Brunswick’s Fundy is home to the most dramatic tides in the world, making its Bay of Fundy a finalist for one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

The second largest national park in Atlantic Canada, Gros Morne in Newfoundland and Labrador is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Nurtured by a unique Mediterranean climate, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve supports a stunning diversity of rare bird, plant, and marine life spread across 15 islands and innumerable islets and reefs in the northern reaches of the inland Salish Sea. A hiker takes in the view from the trail to King’s Throne in Yukon’s Kluane National Park and Reserve. Visitors walk along the beach near the Covehead Lighthouse at Prince Edward Island National Park. An inuksuk—a type of stone monument that originated with the Inuit—stands sentry over the landscape at Tuktut Nogait National Park in the Northwest Territories. One of the most remote and least visited national parks in Canada, Vuntut in northern Yukon is the cultural homeland of the Vuntut Gwich’in people, whose language gives the park its name, meaning “among the lakes.” The park is also the domain of the Porcupine caribou herd and half a million migratory birds. Wood Buffalo, Canada’s largest national park, sprawls across northeastern Alberta and juts into the southern part of the Northwest Territories.
Windswept white pine, rock faces scraped bare, and wide, wild waters number among the most prominent features of Georgian Bay Islands National Park in Ontario. Taken at Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, this image shows a fight between a redheaded woodpecker and a yellow-shafted northern flicker over a nest hole. Dubbed "the backbone of the world," Glacier's mountain landscape provides a brilliant backdrop for photos. A Cree exclamation of awe, “Yoho” applies perfectly to the park’s big peaks, expansive glaciers, and impressive waterfalls.
The park is best known for its deep valleys, thick coniferous forests, and spectacular mountain scenery, all seen by millions annually as they travel Trans-Canada 1 through Rogers Pass. The only unglaciated park in the province, Ukkusiksalik has extraordinarily rich concentrations of marine wildlife.
World renowned for its cultural heritage and natural splendor, it boasts unparalleled biological richness, including more than 600 archaeological sites. Open year-round, the park’s rugged, backcountry landscape also attracts wildlife viewers and hikers, and, in winter, skiers and snowboarders. Slated to eventually cover an area of 375 square miles, the park’s upland is wild and unmarked; hikers here are rewarded with the landscape’s natural beauty and the freedom to roam anywhere. Located on Lake Huron, Fathom Five is a marine conservation area popular with divers and paddlers and for its island boat cruises. Long Beach, the park’s ten-mile stretch of uninhabited coastline, is one of Canada’s most visited tourist attractions. The park is home to polar bears and other wildlife, including wolves, moose, and many rare bird species. The park has remarkable hiking trails and boasts a cluster of traditional Gaspe fishing villages. Outstanding scenery, sunny weather, and small crowds characterize this isolated park, the Canadian portion of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. The park’s Boyt Island offers stunning sights, and visitors may also catch sight of some of the hundreds of narwhals (such as these pictured here) and seals that inhabit the park. Sculpted by glaciers, the park is 85 percent rock and ice and has the highest peaks in the Canadian Shield. The first national park established in Canada, Banff spans a region of unparalleled mountain scenery and is open year-round for wildlife viewing, sightseeing, and other outdoor activities.
Encompassing more than a thousand islands and islets, the park is famous for having the largest concentration of erosion monoliths in Canada.
Along with Haida Heritage Site, the reserve is the first protected area to extend from the seafloor to the mountaintops.
The Cabot Trail, a world-famous scenic highway, runs along parts of the coastal borders on both sides of the park and crosses the highlands.
The waters surrounding the many islands near Rossport and Terrace Bay offer unique routes for kayakers.
Among the park’s popular activities are bird-watching, full-service and wilderness camping, and hikes to sites like Mills Falls, shown here. The park—a challenging destination that sees an average of 15 visitors annually—protects over 280 archaeological sites and is home to what is billed as the world’s most northerly navigable waterway. It is also home to the northern terminus of the famous Bruce Trail, the oldest and longest hiking trail in Canada.
Inland, forests festooned with dangling “old man’s beard” lichen attract hikers and campers.
It is home to Newfoundland’s second highest peak and to the highest waterfall in eastern North America. The park is home to Mount Logan, Canada’s highest peak, and is a popular outdoor and adventure destination. Nestled in the heart of Quebec, the park is a sprawling network of valleys, lakes, streams, and falls.
Located on Lake Erie at the southernmost tip of mainland Canada, the park offers bike paths, hiking trails, and canoe routes, and its beaches are popular for swimming. Although one of the smallest parks in Canada, it’s a popular destination, with famous beaches and outstanding coastal landscapes.
The park is home to the Coastal Hiking Trail, one of Canada’s most renowned and scenic hiking routes.
Established in 1913 as an elk sanctuary and the only fully fenced park in Canada, Elk Island is a popular destination for birding and viewing the park’s free-roaming bison and elk.

Rich with aspen parkland and grasslands, marshes and small lakes, and spanning deciduous and boreal forests, Riding Mounting is a top wildlife-viewing locale. Covering a range of land between northern Quebec and the Labrador Sea, the park is home to the highest peaks in mainland Canada east of the Rockies, as well as massive, glacier-carved fjords along the coast. Lawrence Marine Park, Pointe-Noire (pictured here) sits at the confluence of the Saguenay Fjord and St. The park’s remote location make extended backpacking or paddling trips the preferred methods for taking in its Arctic wilderness. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is home to one of the last remaining free-roaming wood bison herds in the world, the nesting habitat for endangered whooping cranes, and the world’s largest beaver dam.
Named for the late conservationist writer Grey Owl, the popular trail leads to his cabin on Ajawaan Lake. Lawrence Islands National Park is composed of 24 islands, 129 islets, and 8 mainland tracts inhabited by a rich diversity of plant and animal life.
Located on the eastern shore of New Brunswick, the ecologically diverse park is also a designated Dark Sky Preserve: Lighting is minimized at night, and special programs encourage public awareness of the cultural heritage of the night sky.
The park’s vistas and accessibility make it a popular destination for paddling and camping in summer, and fall brings stunning displays of foliage.
The redheaded woodpeckers tried to chase away the intruding flickers but after this encounter, the fight was over. And it’s most true at Fundy National Park on New Brunswick’s east coast, where, twice daily, the most dramatic tides in the world cover the ocean bed with up to 38 feet of water—the equivalent of a four-story building. Set in a region renowned for its winds, Waterton has special significance as the Canadian portion of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.Park Facts• Border Park Waterton sits in the extreme southwestern corner of Alberta, sharing boundaries with British Columbia and Montana in the United States. The park’s extensive Jones Creek Trail System consists of nearly ten miles of looping paths and gorgeous views.
The flicker managed to grab the redheaded by its tongue and force it all the way down to the ground.
Created to protect and showcase marine life, the park is a popular destination for whale-watching and kayaking.
This rich natural system of forests, once threatened by human development, is now recovering nicely; the only human activity here these days is the quiet footfall of hikers traveling its varied network of coastal, forest, and waterfall-destination trails. Indeed, lush native grassland rolls right up to the colorful peaks, which have been carved from sedimentary rock well over a billion years old.• Picture Perfect With its outstanding scenery, sunny weather, easygoing wildlife, and picturesque wind-raked trees, Waterton is a photographer’s paradise. The park’s isolation, far from any urban center and off the beaten track, keeps the crowds small.• Hikes and Bikes All three of the Waterton Lakes lie along the entry road.
This forest, much of it festooned with dangling “old man’s beard” lichen, is growing in place of earlier, logged-out softwoods. One of the hiking trails is world famous, while mountain bikers will find several trails open to them, too.How to Get There The closest international airport is located at Calgary, 158 miles away. Today the park is home to the world’s oldest red spruce tree at 400 years old.How to Get ThereNearby airports include Moncton, St.
John, and Fredericton, New Brunswick, with Moncton the closest to the park and Fredericton the farthest away. All three airports have car rentals available.Bus terminals operate in Moncton and in the village of Sussex, just off Trans-Canada 2. Note that there is no public transportation to and from the park itself.If you are driving to the park from Fredericton, head east on Trans-Canada 2 toward Moncton, turning south at exit 365 (Coles Island) and onto Provincial Hwy.
5 continues another 5.3 miles to the “townsite” of Waterton Park, as Parks Canada describes the in-park community, summer population about 2,500.
Be sure to inquire in advance of your visit for the Canadian post’s hours of operation and seasonal closures.When to Go Waterton is open year-round, but windy weather discourages visitors in winter.
Few services are available in the park between October and May, when some roads are subject to closure and the townsite population drops to fewer than 40.Spring arrives in early May. The park is busiest in July and August, when daytime temperatures reach over 70?F and may hit the mid-90s?F.Low-elevation wildflowers are at their best in June, while the high country above tree line is most colorful in mid-July. Waterton’s many aspen groves paint the valley floors and lower slopes brilliantly yellow in September.How to Visit You’ll want a full day to tour the park’s three byways, so get an early start. 114.When to GoPeak season runs from late spring through autumn, with the summer months of June, July, and August offering the best weather and a somewhat lower likelihood of stubborn fog, though morning fogs are common throughout the summer and can be great for viewing. Morning light on the mountain front is a spectacle best appreciated from the Waterton Valley viewpoint along the Chief Mountain Highway (Hwy.
6) in the eastern part of the park.Return to the townsite for brunch and enjoy a breezy stroll along the shore of Upper Waterton Lake. Since the waves may get bigger as the day goes by, morning is a good time to take the two-hour-plus cruise boat ride down the lake and back.Then head up scenic Red Rock Parkway to Red Rock Canyon.
The road to Point Wolfe closes with the first snow and reopens when it’s clear in the spring.How to VisitIf you are interested in seeing the tides, be prepared to spend a full day.
The canyon is aptly named, very photogenic, and great fun for the kids.End your day by taking the Akamina Parkway to Cameron Lake to see stately peaks resplendent in the afternoon sun.
Tidal timetables change, so check in advance and plan the timing of your visit around them. The lake offers a smashing view to craggy peaks at the far end, just across the international boundary, plus rare botanical delights along the shoreline.

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