Monday, January 30, 2012

Baryonyx in Colordo: 100th post

It's been 1oo posts since I started this blog. Some people would have something special planned out for an occasion like this. Plan? Why start now?

Amazingly, the post I did about a year ago on our asembly of a cast Baryonyx skeleton is still the main traffic driver on this blog, after the updates of course. In order to celebrate, I'm putting up a few more pics of the cast for future google image surfers.
With a copy of the Maidstone slab in the background

Nice paws
This specimen is on display for a few more weeks in the RMDRC, before getting shipped off to its new home overseas. 

34 feet (11m) long is big for almost any theropod

Friday, January 27, 2012

Daspletosaurus prep update: now with arms

Hip block. Yowza.
I know I've spent a lot of my previous blog posts focusing on the Platecarpus skull we were getting ready to send off witht he travelling circus to Tucson. Well, they're out the door and I can swing my attention back to our Daspletosaurus "Pete III".

Need some claws

Preparation  is about 98% finished, with a few straggler parts and the pelvis block to finish up. We've also begun the restoration of some of the bones, partly for increased stability and partly because they're much less ugly now.  Mark Wildman posted on his blog recently a tidbit mentioning Daspletosaurus had the longest forelimbs of any tyrannosaurid. I'm not sure if that's correct, however comparing our measurements with others published for Tyrannosauurs rex, we're a bit longer overall, even though we estimate Pete III to be nearly 10 feet shorter in overall length than "Sue".
The beginning of restoration of the arms

One of the nice things about preparing and restoring these bones (finally) is that we can uncover some new information about Pete III. Based on the size of its femur, we can estimate it was around 20 years old when it died, which is pretty old for Daspletosaurus. I've starting to use "it" when referring to Pete III because one of the next mysteries I hope to solve is whether it was male or female. Stay tuned for updates!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Finished! Platecarpus skull pictures

I dress well

Its pretty side

Its other pretty side

Not much of an update, but I need to close out this project I've been blogging about. The world's largest Platecarpus planifrons skull is done and in the crate, ready to ship to Tucson. Hopefully I will never see it again!

Shark bites on the face

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Platecarpus skull:shark bites and the rest

Things are finally moving out the door in preparation for the big Tucson gem and mineral show at the end of the month. I've been sidetracked for about a week on other projects (including getting a mosasur cast skeleton ready for shipment to Japan), but I've been able to throw a few hours here and there at the Platecarpus skull too.

Looking better but still not finished
As you know, it seems to be the largest specimen of Platecarpus planifrons ever recovered from Kansas, this coming from a student who has measured over 800 individuals. All parts are now assembled and there is just some restoration on teeth and the maxilla to complete before it gets paint on its restored parts.

It looks so happy!
An interesting thing about this specimen is that even though it was a pretty large critter (over 23 feet) it still ended up as a meal for a shark. The frontal, over the right eye, has the tips of 2 Cretoxyrhina teeth embedded in it, with gouges from several more. It also fits with scavenging behavior where shark bites on bones forward of the eye socket are rare, but pretty dang common towards the back of the skull, where all the meaty goodness of the jaw musculature is.

At least I hope that bite was after death. Otherwise it sure would hurt.