Saturday, 7/31

We got going from camp and headed into town for breakfast at a local diner and to do some chores. When we got back to camp we headed out to prospect for new finds and check out a site or two I found earlier this trip that may pan out?

Saw some very interesting looking Pronghorn Antelope on our way into town. Look closely at this photo to check out their namesake sets of horns.

This photo shows how camouflaged they are out in the dry grass. Can you spot them?

On the way to our first stop we blazed a new trail and walked up the side of a very high butte to an area I had seen some weathered bone fragments eroding out on top. It was quite a climb up and offered a rewarding view once we got there. We gathered the large chunks that broke away from where I saw some bone “poking” out of the steeply sloped top of this butte. Once we got foot and knee holds dug in for ourselves we started removing the clay “gumbo” from the sides and top of the possible new find. In relatively short order it was clear it was worth our time & the climb. Turned out to be a fairly long dinosaur limb bone, possibly a shin (tibia) or forearm (radius) from …. I’m not quite sure yet. Will get it back to the lab and work on putting this puzzle back together.

This photo may not do justice to how high we are, how steeply sloped the side of this butte is and how tightly Ej is holding on!

We then prospected for a bit at a second site where I had earlier in this trip seen quite a bit of “float.” In this usage, float refers to lots of small & not so small broken pieces of dinosaur bone that have been exposed to the surface. They are a prime indicator that some bone may be hiding nearby. Almost everywhere we prospect for fossils is hilly, sloped exposed rocky landscape. So, when significant amounts of float are seen in a small area it’s likely a fossil bone can be found uphill from where you’re seeing the parts & pieces scattered about. We searched for a while but did not find the source. Sometimes that means we’re just too late and maybe the bone(s) have already been exposed way too long and all that’s left is this smattering of weathered and tumbled bits of bone. Or, maybe, we just didn’t look hard enough or weren’t holding our tongues just right?! I plan to go back and look again another day. Some of the scrap bone fragments where clearly from a jaw because you could see the tooth sockets. I’ll be back to search here again another day.

We were able to join our host ranch family for a really wonderful evening meal & conversation at a very nice restaurant just up the road (45 miles away) at the Gem Theatre in Wibaux, Montana. It’s a renovated old movie house that still had the ticket counter out front and small lobby from its heyday.

And just for eyeballs on this page take a look at this sweet, little dear named Peaches! Miniature Australian Shepard is the breed (I think). She’s the sweet new puppy of the family who graciously allows me to wonder around their ranch in the blazing summer heat looking for dinosaurs!

This is not an adorable child’s stuffed animal; she’s fully alive, well and precious.