Wednesday, September 26, 2012

More with Avaceratops

We just got back from the final dig of the 2012 season in the Avaceratops quarry. The weather was outstanding with sun, highs in the 80s and lows near 40. Getting a little chilly in my tent, but nothing uncomfortable.

A few of the epoccipitals. Not very big or pointy.
When we decided to take a jackhammer to the overburden we had only recovered some postcranial elements and one part of the frill, the right squamosal. Many hours later we had blasted out several tons of rock from above our bone layer, and were able to get digging.

The smallest group jacket, with at least 4 bones
To our surprise, nearly all of the bones found in this expansion of the quarry were disarticulated parts of the skull, including some parts that had never been seen before in this genus. We recovered (so far) 8 epoccipitals, the predentary, and a complete jugal (all new), plus both postorbital horns, a left dentary, nasals, maxillae, the other squamosal, and both splenials. There are even more bones in the blocks that we couldn't get a good look at yet, so completeness should further increase.

left Nasal, very well preserved

inside of right maxilla, with a few teeth still in place
I am interpreting the site as a logjam along the southern edge of the quarry, made of (now) carbonized conifer trunks and surprisingly the limb of a very large hadrosaur, the femur measuring a whopping 1.25m long. Check back for more photos as prep continues, and stop by the lab for a look if you are in Woodland Park!

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