Saturday, May 16, 2015

Getting ready for the big trip

My wife and I  (Peggy and Greg) have been planning a big road trip to Alaska for a number of years. This year we are finally doing it. We leave on May 18th. We plan on spending 2 months or so, driving all the way to Prudhoe bay and seeing the midnight sun. Preparations to do this have occupied a lot of my time over the last few weeks. I'm not turning this blog into a road trip journal, but I may include some Paleo-related stops such as the Royal Tyrrell museum, the peace river paleo center, ammonites in Alaska and other juicy bits.

At OMSI, we've been slowly grinding out bones and doing a lot of scanning. The student I've been working with at Century High school has gotten really good. She can scan a bone, fix all the problems and have it ready to upload to our files in about two hours. Sadly, school is almost over and I'll have to find another way to get the bones scanned later in the summer. Portland Community College has a scanner, perhaps I can do it there. Here is the latest batch of scanned bones sent off to Alaska. We have a textbook centrum and neural arch [242], two possible radii [245,246], the smallest humerus [262], the fifth braincase [265], a coracoid [263], part of a skull internal bone [247], and one bone I have no clue [257].

For new bones, I only have one strange bone that may be part of a juglar, though I'm not sure. And sadly this is all we will have of this bone. It was sheared off at the surface of the concretion - the rest is lost somewhere in space and time. The smaller bone next to it is a miniature radius, or at least it is a smaller version of the pair of bones sent to Alaska shown above. I have a still smaller one yet - hurrah for an age progression!

Nestled against this bone was the first loose tooth we have found. I think it's a palate tooth, as it is very small. The bit of bone visible in the photo is about 2/3 root+bone, and only 1/3 was the exposed bone. The crown is only about 2 mm wide and 2mm high. I tried to get a picture through the microscope eyepiece. It is perfect - even the grooved surface of the  tooth is present. 

Last of all, we had some fun in the lab this last week. The traveling exhibit being installed this week is "Ripley's Believe it or Not"(R). One of the exhibits got broken in shipment. It is the actual skull of a two-headed calf! Since we deal with broken bones a lot in the Paleo lab, the exhibit guys asked us to repair it. I undertook the job. The bone structure, as you can expect, is bizarre, There are two noses, three orbits, the jaw is a "W" shape, and being a newborn the bones are extremely fragile. But with the help of modern glues it's back together, and on exhibit!

Sincerely, Greg Carr