Brief update

ID me, please!?

Been working some in the lab over the last month or so along with giving a couple of tours and getting some details worked out for our fossil lab class at Franklin College for the fall semester. While preparing a long rib from the Clarence specimen (a hadrosaur) I fumbled across this strange piece in the matrix next to the rib bone. I don’t know what it is? Not classic wood nor leaf impression nor other plant known to me. It could just be a random piece of rock with a very weird shape – but I think not. If you zoom in on the photo above you can see the elongated spherical shapes that form this sample and the surrounding rock matrix fairly easily was cleaned away leaving this small piece. The rock cleaned away but not what was left above – makes me think it’s fossilized something? A penny for your thoughts if you have any idea what it could be. Found in the Hell Creek Formation in Fallon Co., Montana in sediments dated from the very late Cretaceous (@66-67 million years old).

A few tours of the workshop recently and some planning for teaching at the college again this fall and doing some pre-planning for our field work in Mont. & S. Dakota starting in early July. We got the pop-up camper repaired after it was really bruised from a tremendous hail storm it braved last year in Montana. The hard top was repaired, the tent canvas removed and patched, top seal replaced, leaks fixed, exterior lights replaced, air conditioning cover replaced and an improved faucet installed in the little kitchen area. Hope it holds up for another field season!

It’s time to take inventory & order some supplies like moulding plaster and burlap strip rolls for making of field jackets (the hard “casts” we apply to bones before they can be handled), camp supplies, tool inventory, gathering of all the supplies needed for eating & sleeping & digging & cooking & driving a few thousand miles…

Looking forward to the trip as we don’t have an established dig to return to this season; we completed the excavation and removed all the fossil bones of the triceratops, Olivia, last year. So it’s time to prospect and look for new things. It’s fun and challenging and can be soul-crushing when you go 3 or 4 or 5 days in a row without finding anything. A person may start to question their own abilities to do this crazy work – I sure have in the past. And … we usually find something and/or have a good time trying. We have 5+ people scheduled to come out this year. Most are veterans of past digs and are just silly enough to want to come out again!

More updates to follow soon. I plan to leave Indiana shortly after the July 4th holiday and will be out west for @5 weeks.

Here’s the @33 inch long rib that the unknown sample pictured above came from. Just “flipped” this specimen over so we’re now working on the other side.