Thursday, 7/15

Dropped Elizabeth off at the small airport in Dickinson, ND early this morning for her flight home to Indiana. We enjoyed the 2+ hour drive over from our dig site in Montana to Dickinson last evening. We stopped off in lovely Medora, ND; a small tourist town on the south boarder of the Teddy Roosevelt Nat’l Park. We just got out and walked around to stretch our legs and see the town nestled in some high light-tan/yellowish badlands that tower over the small town. Here’s Eliz with TR!

Took off and stopped at a favorite scenic overlook of painted badlands as far as the eye can see. I can’t drive by without stopping to stare out at the vastness. (And dream about all the fossils buried out there!). These are part of the TR National Park.

I grabbed a chai latte at a favorite coffee shop in Dickinson Thursday morning and caught up on some blogging and reading then drove back to camp (about 2 hour drive). I did a couple of upkeep chores at camp (including clean up of two dead mice)

Took off to examine our dig #026-106, a hadrosaur we dug in 2019. When we wrapped up in 2019 there were one or two bones we left in place as we ran out of time at the close of the season. When that happens we mark the fossils on our map of the dig, cover them with a tarp then re-bury them to protect the bones from weather. That last step is the hardest to do (mentally!). Difficult on the psyche to bury bones you just worked so hard to carefully expose. But it’s what we do. This is what the site looked like as I walked up; as we left it two years ago-

Our map showed we left at least one (partial?) bone in place as we ran out of time. We’ll see if it’s just this small piece left or …. maybe a lot more to this same specimen is still in the ground here for us to discover.

Here’s a sampling of random, small fossil bits & pieces found exposed at the surface by two years of rain and just time. There is some turtle shell, pieces of crocodile scutes, fish scales & random pieces of Dino bone

We carefully peeled back the rocky soils and found the tarp then uncovered the bones from 2019. We started the slow process of removing the overlaying rock/matrix to see how far back the bones may go. The first one was locked in some very hard conglomerate rocky matrix so worked hard to “chase” it back into the hillside. Found it only went about 4-5 more inches from where we stopped in ‘19; and found the terminal end of the bone. Not sure but maybe a partial scapula (shoulder bone)? It’s very broken into pieces but may go back together once in the workshop? Here’s a shot of this thin bone that may be a scapula.

Ran into this “friend” as I walked the @150 yards from this dig site back to the truck. I was more friendly than Mr. Rabbit this time.

Here’s a photo of a sunset over some badlands that I took on the ranch as we drove back to our camp site.