Friday, March 2, 2012

The things you find when you work on stuff

Mildred's skull, with blue tape to mark parts that need to be removed
We've almost entirely finished the preparation of RMDRC 11-021 "Lois", the last parts donor fish for our reconstruction of RMDRC 08-004 "Mildred". We've been going through some of the pieces of chalk that fell out of the huge main jacket when it partially collapsed when we flipped it for removal from the digsite. Sometimes these things happen, especially when the chalk is weathered and fractured.

Feathery and fine gill structures articulated with the arches
Surprisingly one of the chalk pieces produced something very rare: the actual preserved gill structure of this Xiphactinus. Usually with most Xiphactinus specimens, the disarticulation of the skull by scavengers results in these delicate structures being lost. On articulated skulls, they are likely present however no one ever starts removing bones to investigate if they are indeed there. For now they remain pretty rare things. We won't be using these in our restoration, hopefully we can find a good home to donate them to.

Jacob and Lisa fastening plywood to the steel tube frame

In other news on the reconstruction front, we've finished building the frame for Mildred. 21 feet long, 7 feet tall, it's going to be 150 square feet of big bad X-fish. Nearly time to put it on a rolling stand so we don't have to lift it ever again!

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