Department of Tourism and Culture

We are working to improve our online services. Visit our new beta website and share your feedback with us.

About the Department

Heritage Resources

About Palaeontology

Palaeontology FAQ

Can I keep fossils that I find in Yukon?

You are required under the Historic Resources Act to tell the Yukon Palaeontology Program about any fossils found in the Yukon. Any fossils found on settlement lands are to be reported to the appropriate First Nation. The Historic Resources Act applies everywhere in Yukon except in National Parks. If you find a fossil, please leave it where it is, record its location, take a photo if possible, and contact the Yukon Palaeontology program or appropriate First Nation.

If you find a fossil in the Yukon, you may be allowed to keep it in your possession, but the Yukon Government or First Nation owns it. If you find a fossil on private land, the land owner takes custody of it unless some other agreement has been made. The Yukon First Nation government will set terms and conditions to protect the fossil.

What do I do if I unearth fossils?

In an area known to contain rich palaeontological resources, activity is likely to expose fossils, principally fossils of Ice Age mammals, which are protected under the Historic Resources Act (HRA). Ice Age fossils are frequently uncovered during activities such as placer mining and highway construction throughout the Yukon. Fossils that are unearthed should be set aside and protected and the Yukon Palaeontologist should be informed. Under the HRA, bones and other fossils are held in public trust.

What do I do if I find a fossil bone or tusk at a Yukon mine site?

If you find a fossil bone or mammoth tusk at your mine site, please contact the Yukon Palaeontology Program office or Klondike Field Station. Also, please consult our Best Management Practices for Fossils at Yukon Placer Mines for more information.

Am I allowed to collect fossils in Yukon without a permit?

No, the Heritage Resources Act prohibits the collection of fossils without a permit. If you are from a qualified research institute and are interested in collecting fossils in the Yukon you require a Scientists and Explorers Research License. Please contact the Yukon Palaeontology Program for further information.

Yukoners recognized for discoveries of prehistoric bison fossils
Yukoners recognized for discoveries of prehistoric bison fossils. (L-R) Premier Darrell Pasloski, Kwanlin Dun First Nation Chief Rick O'Brien, Craig Duncan, Marcus Deuling and Tourism and Culture Minister Mike Nixon.

Contact Palaeontology Program

Grant Zazula
Yukon Palaeontologist 
Heritage Resources Unit
Cultural Services Branch
Department of Tourism & Culture
Government of Yukon
Phone: 1-867-667-8089
Toll free (In Yukon): 1-800-661-0408,  ext. 8089
Fax: 1-867-667-5377

Office Location
133A, Industrial Road
Whitehorse, Yukon

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 2703 (L-2A)
Whitehorse, Yukon
Y1A 2C6

Klondike Palaeontology Field Office
Elizabeth Hall
Assistant Palaeontologist
Cell: 1-867-332-8981
Field Office in Dawson City (September to May)
Whitehorse office: 1-867-332-8880 (September to May)