We've just returned to the lab from a 2 week expedition to the Hell Creek Formation in South Dakota. The weather was very hot, the bugs were out in force, and I had a grand total of one shower during our stint in the wilds. Here's a bit of what we found.
|partial triceratops skull before excavation|
Finds were a bit sparse in week one. Lots of hiking and lots of incredibly bare outcrops. Occasionally I founds some Champsosaurus
bones or gar scales, but for the most part it was just a bit depressing. Then I made my big "find" of the first half of the trip: a Pachycephalosaurus
|Not a pretty dome|
|but they're so rare|
Just when things were starting to look bleak, I found 2 Triceratops
sites a few days apart. The first so far is just a pile of ribs (we will expand the dig later to see if more is present) but was in a great location where we could drive the truck to, no overburden, really ideal.
|We can always use more parts|
The second one, in true Anthony fashion, I found by tracing a bone fragment to the top of a 50-60 foot cliff that had bones sticking out of it. I knocked out a very small excavation the first day and kept running into more bones. Jacob and I returned for a few more very hot (120 degree plus) excavation days and found over 20 bones so far. A few were recovered, and we will return to the site in a few weeks with a bobcat to move some serious dirt and continue the excavation. So far it's mostly really big vertebrae, ribs, and girdle elements, though there is some skull and rooted teeth too. Fingers crossed for a complete-ish specimen!
|Looking down from the site. Part of the humerus can be seen poking out|
|Looks like quite a climb up to the site|
|Dorsal vertebra awaiting excavation|