Sunday, June 22, 2014

Beefy Platecarpus Restoration Update!

For the past few weeks, TPI field crews have been scouring the outcrops of Western Kansas and finding some spectacular specimens. More on those in a future blog update.

Since the field crew was gone, the lab crew is much less distracted and has made great progress in assembling the Cap'n Chuck specimen of Platecarpus tympaniticus. Skull reconstruction is now complete and painting of the small restored areas is all that;s left. total length ended up being 52cm, but the width gives it more of a bulldog appearance than the lower chalk Plesioplatecarpus planifrons. I'm still trying to get used to all these new names since the reclassification of plioplatecarpines a few years back.

Top view
The only bones I was completely missing were both squamosals, but they were pretty simple to fabricate.
If you look carefully, we even included the mounted epipterygoids
The skeleton has had individual clips fabricated to hold each bone securely in place. Those subassemblies are now being fastened to the armature. The specimen is intended to be hung at its future museum home, however building it on cables in the lab is too unsteady. The posts supporting the superstructure will later be removed before shipment. The light colored vertebra fourth from the left is the first part of the mosasaur I discovered coming out of the outcrop.
Ribs beginning to be fit, though all still need adjustment

Individual bones are assembled into segments so that it can be quickly and precisely set up in a new facility. All limbs are removable, as are the ribs and skull. The vertebral column breaks down into segments. With any luck though, the steel armature will be nearly invisible on the final mount.

Front paddles nearly assembled.