There's nothing quite like a nice October day in the Niobrara chalk. Lots of hiking, fresh air, and occasionally a few fossils.
|Scrappy Cimolichthys verts in the outcrop|
Though the puropse of this past 2 1/2 day trip was primarily for scouting, we did return with a few jackets of specimens, including a nice Ichthyodectes
tail from the lower chalk and part of a giant Clidastes
from the upper chalk. We'll be returning very soon to recover the rest of the Clidastes
, as well as a new Nyctosaurus
specimen I discovered on Friday (more on that later), and possibly the Pentanogmius
I located, or one of the 3 xiphs I stumbled across. It's good to have so many choices.
|Mike evaluating a Xiphactinus skull|
Interesting thing about the Clidastes
. The tail is chock-full of pathological vertebrae, from what looks to be an old infected bite wound. No clue yet as to whether the bite was from a shark or another mosasaur, however from all the intraspecific damage we see on other specimens, I wouldn't doubt it was the result of Clidastes
|Ouch! Most certainly a grumpy mosasaur|