June 24, 2022 Tours & Turtles

We had a couple of tours this week in the fossil workshop. Three great young people with their mom & grandmother came on Wednesday and then we had four or five local public school teachers (not sure if all 5 of the adults were teachers but believe at least 4 were) and a handful of teenagers with them on Thursday. Both tours were fun and I hope were at least somewhat enlightening. As usual, I didn’t take any photos so I’ll have to see if either group shares any with me.

The local school teachers are looking at how what we do at SIPI could fit in to some part of their routine science coursework so possibly I could visit their classrooms in the fall. We’ll see how that works out.

Been working on the clean up and preparation of a big turtle we excavated last season at the dig site of Clarence the hadrosaur. We’ve found quite a lot of random bits & pieces of turtle shell all over the hadrosaur site as well as some snail fossils, gar (fish) scales, crocodile scutes (bony “scales” that cover croc bodies) and at least one triceratops tooth. Also found a large turtle specimen that we’ve not cleaned enough to determine it still has the whole top shell surface (carapace) basically intact and most (@80%) of the bottom shell (plastron) present and accounted for. It’s about 16” x 16” across the top shell so it’s a nice, big specimen. Does it have a name, of course it does; it’s Cecil. I’ve posted a couple photos in previous posts of our clean up and update those today. Here are a couple of photos show how far the clean up has gone since we started –

From a couple of weeks ago; still working on clean up of the bottom of Cecil, the plastron.
Same general viewpoint as photo above, but a lot of clean up has happened and we’ve removed Cecil from the confines of his plaster field jacket.
“Right” side up; this is the top shell, the carapace of the turtle. Looks like it’s complete and just needs a few more hours on the bench to remove remaining rock.
Another view of the top shell; it’s a big one.

And we found a smaller turtle shell nearby Cecil. It appears to be half the turtle shell; just the bottom, the plastron. Bailey, our current intern, has been in charge of the preparation of this specimen we named Cecilia! Here’s a couple of photos of Bailey’s work –

Cecilia in process of being cleaned up.
Bottom shell only from this turtle sample.