Monday, March 30, 2009

Welcome to the paleo lab

Welcome to the RMDRC's paleo lab blog. We're a working preparation, molding, casting and mounting lab in Woodland Park, Colorado. This blog is intended to give you a glimpse at more of the projects we're working on both here and in the field than what we're able to show in the monthly newsletter. Constructive questions and comments and suggestions are welcome.

We specialize in late Cretaceous marine reptiles, fish and dinosaurs, however who knows what kind of project may pop up.

To start, here's an update on a long-running project of ours, Pete 3, RMDRC 06-005, a Daspletosaurus torosus specimen that we excavated in 2006 from the Judith River Formation in central Montana. It's in a very splintered condition, but we've developed techniques to allow us to prepare this material in order to mold it (paper in press). Currently there are 67 bones prepared, mostly ankle, pes and caudal elements. We still have an estimated 200 bones to work on. It is hard to tell for sure as we had to be very cautious in the field and expose as little as possible before jacketing. This gives us happy surprises of additional bones in the jacket.

We estimate Pete to be about 11m (36 feet) long, and it should take us a good year to prepare all of the material. Scapula-coracoid is 1100mm long, mt II (in photo) is 460mm. Prep is now concentrated on a medium-sized (we'll rate it as a 2-hernia) jacket with the left ilium and a cervical vertebra, as well as another similar sized jacket with articulated mid caudal vertebrae and chevrons.