Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mystery Bone

August Update

Today's post will be brief as no work was done on Bernie in August. Both myself and Jerry, the two OMSI volunteers working on the beast, went to Como Bluff Wyoming on a week-long dig for the Tate museum in Casper, Wyoming. There was 8 or 9 people at the dig (depending on the day). In total we removed and packaged 22 bones. One my be an Allosaurus brain case or Camarasourus jaw. We won't know for sure until it's prepared. We also got Stegosaurus ribs, several partial teeth, and several unknowns. Also I spent a week on Vancouver island, BC, gathering Cretaceous plants and ammonites, and collecting trilobites from the Spence shale in Idaho and fossil fish at Kemmerer, Wyoming (Green river formation). So most of my time was field collecting work, not inside in the lab at OMSI.

Back to Bernie. We have been working on clearing matrix from around a rather large bone that may be part of a skull. It's rather hard to visualize what it is, but a semi-circular notch on the right side may be a partial eye orbit. Here's a couple of pictures.

It is over 165mm (6 1/2 inches) long, 85mm (3 1/2 inches) wide, and very thick in places. I still think it's part of the skull, though I can't place it. 
Can you?
There is another bone on top of it that may be a skull part, too - bottom left in the picture. Also bundled in there is the large Nautiloid, a medium sized centrum, a partial rib, and another bone directly under the bone on top of it. These are all touching each other at some point!

So we have a large mystery bone. It will be several months before it's out, what with moving all the bones on top of it and removing about 2 Liters (1/2 gallon) (minimum) of rock to get access behind it. And we still have to get behind the scapula and a long bone to get them out, too. 

All - in - all, good work to look forward to. 
Sincerely, Greg Carr

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