Friday, July 23, 2010

Fieldwork Friday #12

Yikes! I have not done a Fieldwork Friday in a year! Something is just wrong with that!! I have been pretty busy at work recently. I am running the Mygatt-Moore Quarry in western Colorado this summer. I had been intending on doing some Fieldwork Friday post now that I have been out in the field, but have never gotten around to it. Sorry about the lack of post recently. There is a lot going on in my life at the moment that keeps me from blogging. So I thought I would give you a quick update on one of the more interesting find we have had at the quarry recently.

Tibia with dig participant for scale
A week ago this past Thursday we successfully removed a large sauropod tibia from the quarry. This is most likely from Apatosaurus, or possibly Diplodocus (but we are pretty sure at this point it’s Apato). It was initially discovered by one of our museum’s volunteers, Tom S., on July 1st as we worked the quarry. We worked hard to get it out of the ground on July 8th. Luckily for us this bone was relatively easy to excavate! It was 1100 mm long and nice and straight. We commonly get sauropod vertebra at the quarry (too many in my opinion lol), so it was nice to find something easy to excavate for once. Those freaking verts can take way to long to get out (sorry, I could rant on verts all day). The last time we removed a sauropod limb bone from the quarry in 2007 – a nice Apatosaurus fibula. It only took 8 trip participants, museum volunteers, and employees to drag the tibia on a tarp the short distance from its former 150 million year old resting place to the awaiting truck for its trip back to the museum prep lab.

Tibia encased in the field jacket and ready to be flipped

The down side of the tibia

Tom and his great find! 
It would be nice if we could get several more limb bones this summer. So far it has been dominated by sauropod verts, ribs, plenty of float and quite a few Diplodocus, Apatosaurus and Allosaurus teeth. My dream is to finally get a Mymoorapelta femur from this quarry. Fingers crossed.

Two of the teeth collected this summer

If anything else of interest pop’s up this summer I will be sure to post something about it. If you are going to be in western Colorado this summer be sure to pull off on exit 2 of I-70 and say hello!

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster. Please see the "Field Work Friday Rules" about the work I do and collection practices.


Doug said...

"too many in my opinion lol"- sometimes i wonder who has more vertebra: snakes or sauropods. Why are sauropod vertebra so hard to dig out? And why a Mymooropelta femur? Seems oddly specific. Cause another paleontologist i know had a similarly specific thing he wanted to find, but he had an interesting reason.

ReBecca Hunt-Foster said...

I guess it would depend on the snake or sauropod. Sauropods have around 95 I think. Not sure......
Sauropod verts are hard to dig out because they inevitably;y have something washed up next to them (at our quarry) and have a tendency to be large, with random processes. Limb bones are nice and straight and much easier to get out.
We do not have a Mymoorapelta femur yet from this quarry (may just be 1 in the whole world, we will know soon), so it would be nice to have one.

C.C. Green said...

Glad to hear you had a productive summer our there! I was out at the Mygatt-Moore quarry for a day dig last year and found a sauropod vertebrae. One of the other volunteers spent all day digging it out and barely got the top of it uncovered. That is some hard rock out there! I was going to come back out and volunteer this year but decided to go to WY and dig mammals with the DMNS. Digging is so much easier up there. The bones are just crumbling out of the Paleocene-Eocene fossil red beds. I barely had to dig at all :)

ReBecca Hunt-Foster said...

Hi C.C.! We have found several sauropod vertebrae this summer as well. The rock here is not really that hard, but more hard than the Paleocene-Eocene material you were digging in, I am sure. I have some fiends that work in sandstone quarries and I always feel bad for them. That can be some hard rock! Hope you had fun with the DMNS guys - was that with Richard Stucky?

C.C. Green said...

Yeah, sure was. Richard Stucky, Ian Miller (paleobotany) and Bob Raynolds (geology). It was a blast. They are doing some awesome work up there, putting together the complete ecology of the time during the PETM. Worked my first fossil leaf quarry which was really exciting.

ReBecca Hunt-Foster said...

Very cool!