Saturday 7/23

Jeff’s first day here on the ranch with me this season. We got up and went into town for groceries, ice and to stop in to say hello to our ranch host, Merri Beck, at her really neat clothing store in town, Russell’s. It was “Crazy Days” in town this weekend, meaning parties and sidewalk sales at each store and basketball 3 on 3 tournaments and other crazy fun stuff. It was nicely busy with lots of folks in Merri’s shop. We went in just to say hi but as usual when going into this beautiful shop we lingered and purchased!

We got back to camp, threw the groceries into their rightful storage places and headed out to find Clarence! Jeff and I worked on prospecting into the walls around the edge of the dig site. We’re probing back into the layer which is about 14” thick that we’ve found most of the bones in or around. Probing with ice picks and chipping away at the soil to pull it out of the walls looking carefully for any sign of bone. It’s a hard rocky layer so lots of false finds that turn out to just be rocks. Most common statement to each other is, “What’d you think, bone or rock?” Most often it’s rock!

Jeff at the Clarence dig probing for the next bone.

The evening before I found a tiny tooth that had serrations on it in a small spoils pile. So I wanted to sift the remaining pile to see if anything else turned up. Did find several shards, fragments, of broken tooth. Cool that we’re finding a few meat eating dinosaur, theropod, teeth in and amongst the bones of Clarence. Seems like some type of raptor(s) were feasting on the remains of Clarence. I started probing into an area that hadn’t produced any bones recently but I thought maybe they’re hiding just beyond where we last stopped on this side of the dig? Found only small shards of bone here and there; no significant pieces, no turtle shell fragments, nothing. Then, … a really pretty, 1-1/4” theropod tooth just rolled out in the sediment I was pulling out. A meat-eating dinosaur tooth with clear serrations on both sides and significant wear on the sharp tip of the tooth. Wow! Consulted a paleontologist friend back in Indiana and he said it appears to be from a Nanotyranus. A smaller version of the famous T-rex. I was really stoked to find this. Almost, but not really, makes up for not finding any more Clarence bones. Got a call from our ranch hosts about meeting up for dinner (evening meal out here is called supper) and we accepted so had to close up the site a little earlier than usual and head back to camp to clean up then drive into town.

Likely Nanotyranus tooth
Found in the wall just behind my hands in the photo
Pretty cool

Met up at the Old Skool brewery for some good beers and pizza meal. Enjoyed their company as usual. Ranch owners adult son and young family joined us so I got to hold the 5-month old again. She slobbered all over the shoulder of my shirt but she was a doll and had no stranger danger issues. Another local rancher joined us and Jeff and I enjoyed chatting with everyone. Good day on the ranch, good morning in town, and capped off with a nice meal with friends.

Merri with her grand baby