Monday, April 4, 2011

Horn-faces and prep

We restarted work today on a dinosaur project that I'm actually pretty excited about. With the new discoveries from Utah, it looks more and more like the ceratopsian dinos of the Campanian are very specific to geographical area, in addition to stratigraphic level. For us working in the Judith River that means that you can maybe find Avaceratops and Monoclonius, according to the now seemingly dated conventional wisdom. Except that a new specimen of Ceratops montanus was recently discovered near our dig areas. And we've found things that look a heck of a lot like Anchiceratops. And Styracosaurus. And bits of a big honkin thing that looks a bit like the newly described Kosmoceratops. Oops. What a mess.

Dig site at the end of excavatoion
Typical jacket showing typical not falling down hill bone

The critter we're working on now is a centrosaurine nicknamed "UTC". It was discovered in 2004, and has sat on our shelves for much of the in-between time. It's time to knock out the prep. Unfortunately the specimen was discovered coming out skull first, with those parts slumping slowly downhill. It's going to be an interesting challenge getting it back together.
oooh epoccipitals!

The parts that we have are pretty interesting though, and as prep continues we may be able to get a good idea of what critter we have. Heck, based on the explosion of ceratiopsian discoveries in the past few years (and how most researchers avoid the Judith River Formation like the plague), there's even the possibility that this animal is a new species. We'll keep you updated on the progress as more bones get prepared.

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