Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Avaceratops now has skin!

Very large lambeosaur tibia on the east edge of the site

We've been so busy working the Avaceratops site in central Montana that I've hardly had a chance to think of this blog let alone update it. Luckily, that means we've found a lot of stuff, including most of the skeleton of this very rare animal.

Measuring a jacket before putting plaster over it
The site, which started out as a small hand dug pit at the bottom of a wash, ended up as a hole the size of a decent basement. Bobcat excavators, jackhammers and air tools (complete with 2 compressors running)made for a noisy and gritty dig site, but the work paid off.

That's a sizable hole

Using the bobcat to haul out heavy things

Prep is now starting in the lab with the ultimate goal of making a complete restored cast skeleton. We're slowly filling in our bone map, updating it weekly with the bones we're sure we have. Thanks to Scott Hartman for the base image. You can see more of his reconstructions here.
More bones to come as prep continues

Working the final jacket

As mentioned, the Avaceratops has a very faint set of skin impressions with it. Not extraordinarily spectacular, however it is the first time it's ever been found for this kind of dinosaur. I'm excited!
Flipped and getting lightened for transport

Can you see the skin pattern?

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