Friday, July 21

We had a good day to all around. Went into town first thing for ice and a few groceries then got back to camp and made some sandwiches to take out with our lunch stuff then headed back out to the triceratops dig site. But on our way decided to walk about a little bit prospecting for new finds in an area past the triceratops that I’ve never walked before. We spent and hour or so walking to the east from our dig site into some very interesting and inviting looking exposed buttes. Inviting in the sense that they just kind of “looked” like they may house some dinosaur bones! I can’t really tell much of anything about what may be found by only looking at the color of the exposed sediment or the height or the amount of rock outcroppings. It just takes time and perseverance to walk and walk and keep your senses open for any hint of a new find.

While prospecting this new area came across this classic example of fossil bone that’s been exposed at the surface – appears to have “exploded” from the freeze and thaw pattern that happens.
This circle is a set of bone material we needed to collect to get out of the way. We’ll see what turns out to be from this area to the south of the main frill piece.
Steve helping Jeff get this grouping of bone ready to cast.

We went back to the dig site, opened up the canopy for shade, removed the tarp that was over the bones and got to work. Jeff is working where he left off yesterday and me the same. Jeff worked on a “ pile” of bone material that we can not tell if it articulates together, is part of something bigger or is just loose pieces that do not go together at all. So he cleared all around the pile to try to define the outer edges and then we applied a plaster field jacket to this small area so it could be taken as a whole and worked on in safe clear environment back in the fossil workshop at home. Steve worked on the frill area again removing the hard and thick rock coating to try to find where it separates from bone touching it. We try to find the edges of each bone so that it can then be isolated from ones nearby and plaster field jacketed for safe removal.

The exposed frill is in the center with hard, thick rock covering bone to the left and right in this image.

I enjoyed the satisfaction that came from breaking the solid rock covering away from the frill area; kind of strange thing to get into but is very satisfying to discover a system or technique that works and doesn’t harm the underlying fossil. The larger frill area is coming along nicely and is taking shape with the classic look of the bone with indentations where blood vessels would have traveled near the bone.

I think we add a touch of hobo to the ranch environment when we get fully set up!
So nice to be able to drive right up to our dig site – truck is about 20 feet from the dig. My back is toward the dig in this photo while Jeff relaxes in the truck all ready to head back to camp.