Friday, August 31, 2012

When will the heat end?

Over 110 degrees on the outcrop. Ouch.
We are back, finishing our Hell Creek Formation field season and starting our Judith River Formation work in South Dakota and Montana. The fires are pretty bad out there due tot he drought, and silly high temperatures are the norm for now.
Not quite a dinosaur

We located a few specimens including a juvenile ceratopsian in a pretty tough sandstone, and we will be returning in a few weeks to collect the rest. Enjoy the photos!

Oh look! A Pachycephalosaurus!

Heat makes Jacob feel kinda stabby

Just south of the Canadian border

I will replace my Estwing with a jackhammer next trip

Ceratopsian squamosal

Rib, ungual, and scapula/coracoid of the ceratopsian

Friday, August 3, 2012

Sometimes you get the Trike, sometimes it gets you

Jacob and I are back from a second trip to the Hell Creek, working on some sites we discovered on the first trip. We spent the majority of our efforts on the site that produced the left brow horn form the first trip.

Beginning of the dig. Chunky bone fragments circled in orange paint.
We expanded the excavation to the north by about 8 feet, tracing a few bone fragments. The overburden was low, and digging relatively easy, but the bone exposed were rounded isolated small chunks. Not especially promising.

Braincase with distinctive ball of the occipital condyle
As we worked back closer to where the brow horn was found, we started encountering more recognizable bones. Unfortunately, the skull was all that was present, and even then it was partial. In the end we recovered a squamosal, predentary, braincase and maxilla, along with some fragile fragments that will be worked on in the lab.

First batch of bones jacketed, waiting for plaster to cure

End of the dig. The generator and electric jackhammer was a real back-saver!
Headed back out in a few weeks, hopefully more luck then!