May 6, 2020

Here’s an update on the piece we’re working on now. Cut quite a bit of the plaster & burlap cast (field jacket) away from the piece as we clean, remove rock and temporarily glue loose pieces in place. It’s looking pretty cool. Can really see the huge neural processes sticking up at the top of the photo and can count the individual vertebrae (although they fuse together in the live animal for strength, they can still be separately counted). There appears to be 7 vertebrae. The small piece to the far right in the photo is actually a process from a separate vertebrae and is temporarily just “stuck” there, having been glued in place when the piece was still on the ground – just to keep it where we found it.

Can also clearly pick out each transverse process from this side along the bottom of the photo. The transversals stick out from each side of each vertebrae. I guessed at the number of hours we’ve spent so far on preparation of this piece at about 30 or so. Then I went and did a bad thing and added up all the hours to date on the bench and it totals 62.5! Just like me to believe we can get things done much faster than we really can.

Here’s the sacrum from our hadrosaur 023-144 so far –

We’re about ready to work from the “top” side of the piece to clear away more rock matrix from around those tall processes. Then eventually we’ll stabilize the whole piece and “flip” it over to work it from the other side (currently the bottom).

Here’s an image showing the piece in situ (in place) as we found it in 2018. This photo was taken before the piece was moved – just had exposed it from all sides and removed rock from the top. The sacrum is under (to left) of the knife. Hard to distinguish what’s what and where the rock matrix stops and bones start.

Another photo after more of the surrounding matrix had been removed.

Last image; I’m leaning over the sacrum and trying to figure out how best to preserve part of the vertebrae that’s coming from the pile in front of me but is under our sacrum piece. Decided to “break” the small piece at a natural crack and leave it as part of the field jacket of the sacrum – to be recovered and returned to its rightful vertebrae once we prep the sacrum (now!).

More to come later …