Wednesday, 7/28

We woke up to overcast skies this morning and much reduced heat – what a relief! When we got in the truck to go out prospecting the temperature read 77 degrees – just wonderful. It did get up to 91 later in the day, but with gentle breezes most of the day & continued overcast skies it was so, so pleasant compared to what we’ve been experiencing so far this month. Sorry to be going on & on about the weather but it has been a terribly significant factor in our ability to be productive out in the barren, rocky landscapes where the dinosaur bones hide.

We began our day by prospecting some areas I’ve not walked in several years. Saw quite a bit of small items, micro fossils. Often have to be on hands & knees with my face close to the ground to find these small fossils. Quite a sight, I’m sure, for any local cattle rancher to somehow come across me face down to the ground out in this high plains desert landscape; what could they possibly think? “What is that person doing laying on their belly on the desert floor in this heat?” Or maybe they’d just figure the heat has got to me and I’m a goner!?

We each found some interesting micro fossils eroding out of several different areas; things like – ray tooth (like a sting ray, but different species), crocodile teeth, tiny pieces of dermal (jaw bones) of an ancient lizard, tiny theropod (meat eating dinos) finger & toe bones, fish vertebrae and fish scales, interesting tiny pieces of turtle shell, etc.

I clearly have to be crazy to be searching for such tiny little items; but they help fill in details about the environment and fauna that lived in this area 66 million years ago.

We also did some work at Clarence the hadrosaur’s site. We “flipped” over the plaster jacketed fossil turtle found yesterday as well as removed the second turtle shell found nearby. Seems our hadrosaur dig is turning into a turtle extravaganza! I sure look forward to examining and studying this large turtle we uncovered. Looks to be a complete bottom shell (plastron) measuring about 16” long by about 14” wide – a big one.

While cleaning up the dig we found another large fragment of what appears to be turtle shell. Not sure yet, but we’ll find out. It’s Turtle Town!

Called it a day around 6pm and celebrated a much, much more pleasant weather day in the field – what a relief. Tomorrow is a new day with who knows what adventure in front of us….