Sunday, July 28

Up and out to the dig site early this morning. Clear morning with pleasant breeze again today. Wonderful digging weather, especially with the shade canopy up (and staying up day after day {knock on wood}). The ranch owners, Don & Merri, came by the site today to say hello and check it out. Don said he didn’t think he’d have the patience required and would bring in a backhoe and Merri declined my generous offer to hang out with me and dig bones! Great to have them check out the dig and see first hand what may be found on their ranch. I did mess up though – I neglected to get a photo of them at the site with the cool set of bones as a backdrop; silly me!

Here’s head of a rib that looks to be pretty good-sized and is just starting to get unearthed.

Here’s the 34″ long thigh bone (femur) we’ve exposed and put a field jacket on today.

I removed the fibula that was jacketed (field jacket is the term for wrapping a specimen in foil then overlapping burlap strips soaked in plaster) yesterday, and was partially resting directly upon the femur; it separated well with almost no fragments disturbed from either bone (success!).

I also cleared away matrix from all sides of the 34” long thigh (femur) bone and created a tunnel under it in the middle as well as undercut away the matrix at each big end. All this preparation done so that the jacket can be applied and kind of “grasp” edges on the bottom of the bone around all sides. This way after you’ve jacketed the exposed portions, you can safely “roll” the jacketed bone over without having all the matrix below, along with bone, fall out.

We jacketed the femur and incorporated a piece of wood in with the burlap & plaster to act as a stiffener/splint to help keep this large and heavy bone intact for travel back to the workshop in Indiana.

Add photo of jacketed femur –

Here’s a photo of one of two unguals (last bone of a foot that forms a toe) found so far.

A paleontologist friend shared with me that these toe bones of hadrosaurs and triceratops look very similar but that the triceratops toes typically have deep grooves on the top side at the very edges. Only cleaned about half this toe; you can see the lumpy, orangish-colored mineral that’s absolutely adhered to right side and see how thick the rock is that needs to be encouraged to let go! Looks to me like this little piggy toe is saying “I’m a triceratops!”

I enjoyed listening to several podcasts today on my fun little dinosaur emblazoned Bluetooth speaker that my daughter, Olivia, gave me several years ago. Perfect for listening to some music or a podcast while we’re working longer term at one site.

Stayed out on site until almost dusk; it is so very peaceful and beautiful in the evening light.