Joseph Tyrrell

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Joseph Tyrrell
Joseph Burr Tyrrell

(1858-11-01)November 1, 1858
DiedAugust 26, 1957(1957-08-26) (aged 98)
Alma materUpper Canada College
University of Toronto
Known fordiscovery of Albertosaurus in Alberta, c. 1884
Scientific career
Fieldsgeology, cartography

Joseph Burr Tyrrell, FRSC (November 1, 1858 – August 26, 1957) was a Canadian geologist, cartographer and mining consultant. He discovered dinosaur (Albertosaurus sarcophagus) bones in Alberta's Badlands and coal around Drumheller in 1884. Canada's Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta was named in his honour.

Tyrrell was born in Weston, Ontario, the third child of William and Elizabeth Tyrrell. He was a student at Weston Grammar School before graduating from Upper Canada College in 1876 and receiving a law degree from the University of Toronto in 1880. However, after articling for a law firm in Toronto, his doctor advised him to work outdoors due to his health.

He joined the Geological Survey of Canada in 1880,[1] leading or participating in numerous explorations. He led the 1893 and 1894 expeditions into the Northern Barren Lands, down the Dubawnt River, the first visit to the Kivalliq Region Barrenlands by a European since the explorations of Samuel Hearne in the 1770s. His younger brother, James Williams Tyrrell, accompanied Tyrrell on the expedition, which included the first European contact with the Ihalmiut, an Inuit people now almost extinct.

Tyrrell married Mary Edith Carey in 1894 and they had three children, Mary (1896), George (1900), and Thomas (1906).[2] Mary Edith was founder and first president in 1921 of the Women's Association of the Mining Industry of Canada.[3] In 1894, Tyrrell stumbled upon biographical recollections (11 books of field notes, 39 journals, maps and a narrative) of Canadian overland explorer, cartographer and fur trader David Thompson and, in 1916, published them as David Thompson's Narrative.[4]

Tyrrell went into the gold-mining business in 1898, a career that would last more than 50 years.

He was mine manager of the Kirkland Lake Gold Mine in northern Ontario for many years starting in 1926.[1]:191[5]

Tyrrell retired to northeast Scarborough on the Rouge River, where he established substantial apple orchards and interest in grafting and breeding. The expanded orchards, later managed by his son George, are now the site of the Toronto Zoo. He died in Toronto in 1957 at the age of 98.

Honours and awards[edit]

Places named for Tyrrell[edit]

There is also Tyrrell Lake, a small alkali lake near Warner, Alberta.

Institutions named for Tyrrell[edit]


Other honours[edit]


On 1 November 2018, Google Doodle commemorated his 160th birthday.[7]


  1. ^ a b Barnes, Michael (1986). Fortunes in the Ground. Erin, Ontario: The Boston Mills Press. p. 170,198–199. ISBN 091978352X.
  2. ^ "Joseph Burr Tyrrell". Retrieved 2008-01-27.
  3. ^ "Hall of Fame Inductee". Archived from the original on 2007-12-14. Retrieved 2008-01-27.
  4. ^ "A short history". Archived from the original on 2008-01-23. Retrieved 2008-01-27.
  5. ^ Pain, S.A. (1960). Three Miles of Gold: The Story of Kirkland Lake. Toronto: The Ryerson Press. p. 53.
  6. ^ "Kazan River". Archived from the original on 2007-11-10. Retrieved 2007-12-25.
  7. ^ "Joseph Burr Tyrrell's 160th Birthday". 1 November 2018.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]