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.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Book Suggestion: The Second Jurassic Dinosaur Rush

My friend Paul Brinkman has a new book out that I encourage everyone to check out – The Second Jurassic Dinosaur Rush: Museums; Paleontology in America at the Turn of the Twentieth Century. It is available on from University of Chicago Press (preview here on Google Books). I have not had a chance to finish the book yet, but I am really enjoying reading it so far! It covers some of the local paleontology that took place in my area of western Colorado back in the early 1900’s when Elmer Riggs of the Chicago Field Museum was excavating the worlds first Brachiosaurus here in Grand Junction. He later also collected a partial Apatosaurus specimen from Dinosaur Hill in Fruita, just down the road from the museum where I work. The Brachiosaurus site is now on property owned by the museum (“Riggs Hill”) and is an island of Morrison Formation lost in a sea of subdivisions. I wonder if Riggs would still recognize the area today. The Dinosaur Hill area is still relatively undeveloped (especially compared to Riggs Hill) and the museum maintains a trail here that we co-manage with our local BLM office. Paul’s book is giving a great background on Riggs, along with work that took place post Marsh & Cope for big east coast museum. I suggest that anyone who is interested in paleo history check out this book, especially if you are curious about many of the immense, classic dinosaurs that you see on display in the old, big museums of the east. If I get a chance when I finish the book I will post a better review of its contents.

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Movie Review: Creation

I FINALLY got to see Creation this week. It is available on Netflixs now. I never had a chance to see it when it was in theaters (it never showed anywhere near where I lived). I really enjoyed the movie and felt like the showed Darwin for the human that he was. I am sure there were some liberties Hollywood took for dramatic effect, but I thought it played well to convey the point. Darwin was a Christian that grappled with his observations in science and his faith, or lack there of after his daughter dies. Darwin has to deal with hypocrites and trouble makers, and his wife, who was a devout Unitarian, and her fear that they would never live together in heaven if he continued to pursue his thoughts on evolution. Huxley proclaimed that Darwin would finally be the man who is known for “killing God” which seems to freak Darwin out pretty bad (see the trailer below at about 65 seconds in). It was an interesting insight into Darwin’s home and family life. There are quite a bit of flashbacks to move the story along. My husband did not like this, but it did not bother me too much. In the end I thought it was well acted and an interesting story. I really do not understand why so many Christians would be afraid to see this film. Maybe they would be more understanding of the man behind the Origin of Species and stop being so afraid of what they really do not know. Darwin was just another human, not a demon for his thoughts on evolution.

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster