Tuesday, July 18

We got up and went into town for a few errands and for Steve’s chai latte! I don’t exactly rough it when out on digs. W got an estimate my insurance company asked for on the broken windshield. We also got some groceries and ice and gas, and after the coffee shop break we stopped by Russel’s clothing and home furnishings to see Merri (the ranch owner). We got back to camp and grabbed some lunch items that got tossed into our portable lunch cooler.

We decided to go prospecting for new finds and walked a fence line back in behind where Juliet was uncovered years ago. We saw large deposits of bone that had eroded out to the surface some time ago and now are just hundreds of small parts of bone. Too numerous and worn down to ever be collected. Safe for millions of years buried under ground, but will not lasts long once exposed at the surface. We did a long walk about and prospected for fossils in badlands buttes I had not ever walked before. Found a couple pieces of what we think are petrified wood, a shed antler from a mule deer and some micro fossils.

Cone flower and a type of clover
Close up of a dead cedar branch
Amazing how life prospers even in such a harsh environment

We worked our way up to the micro site were there’s a significant pile of exposed bone that’s just fractured into a bunch of tiny chunks. Again shows what happens once a fossil gets exposed at the surface and it quickly reacts to freeze and thaw cycles and begins to rapidly decay. We each found some fun little pieces, things like fish scales, small fish and other animal vertebrae, fractured pieces of teeth, crocodile scutes, etc. We then walked back to the truck and sat in the shade of a cedar tree to relax and enjoy our lunch.

We drove to the main dig site where we’re working on the triceratops bones but we were still in the mood for prospecting so we ditched the main dig and walked around in that area a bit. We decided to divide and conquer so I went one way and Jeff another. We each prospected for an hour or two and meet back at the dig site. Neither of us found anything; which can be frustrating but is not unusual. If it were easy anyone could do it! We relaxed and had one adult beverage at the site then headed back to camp. On the path back we met up with one of the ranch hands who was taking her children and sister and kids out to see us at the dig site! We were a,most back to camp so we encouraged them to go check it out without us. They were out for a good long time and nicely stopped by camp on their way out. All the kids seemed intrigued by what they saw and clearly had fun playing around out in the badlands. One of the adults had found a worked piece of stone, a tool like a scraper we all agreed upon, and he insisted I keep it. Very kind act from one person to another.

Sorry, it’s turned sideways but look at the edge of the stone closest to the ruler to see the fine, sharp edge created by someone to use this as a tool.