Monday, April 20, 2009

Fossil of the Week 4/20/09

Back on the dinosaur side of things, we're working on a very large Triceratops skull. This unnamed skull was discovered in 1999 by Mike Triebold in Harding County, SD, and has been taking up a lot of room in storage ever since. We opened the jacket at the end of March and have been working at it in small increments ever since. There is a large area of ironstone concretion on this, the down side, making preparation difficult and time consuming. Once cleaned and stabilized, we'll rotate the jacket upright and work on the other side, hoping to have a 3d skull mounted in a few months. As you can see, it is missing its beak, lower jaws and a portion of frill. These items will be restored later with plastic and epoxy putty.

The interesting things about this skull is the morphology preserved. It has a relatively large nasal horn, yet short and fat browhorns. There is a high degree of variation known in Triceratops, primarily because there are more skulls known than skeletons. In fact, Triceratops skulls are among the most common dinosaur fossils discovered in the Hell Creek Formation. This is the exact opposite of how we find other dinosaurs.

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