Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas everyone!

Happy birthday to Jimmy Buffett as well. Hope everyone has a great Christmas!

Thanks to T. Holz for the heads up on this gem! 

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tragedy #363

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Job openings: internships, summer field work and even a few "real" jobs

For all those students and recent graduates who are going to be looking for work this summer, now is the time to start paying attention (there are even a few "real" jobs showing up). Jobs and internships have started to be advertised and are often popping up until around February/March, so keep your eyes peeled. Check the SVP jobs page for updates as well.

Here are a few that are currently open:

2012 GeoCorp Positions (applications due by February 1, 2012) -

Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park in northeastern Arizona currently has a position open for a GS-7 Physical Science Technician. This is a full-time seasonal position that will start in May of 2012 and continuing through August of 2012 (dates are flexible for students). This position will be the lead for a field based program working in exposures of the Upper Triassic Chinle Formation, including intensive prospecting as well as excavation of vertebrate fossils from existing quarries.  As the lead this person will oversee all aspects of field work including daily supervision of student interns. This position will work closely with the Park Paleontologist to successfully carryout and document this work. Interested applicants should have experience in the collection of vertebrate fossils, especially successful construction and removal of field jackets as well as the willingness/ability to supervise this type of work. This is a U. S. federal government position open to all U.S. citizens. The incumbent must possess a valid U. S. drivers license. This job also requires the successful completion of a background check as currently required for all U. S. Federal positions.

For more information and to apply please see the current job announcement at
( Please review all details especially the section on "How to Apply".

The position will close on December 9, 2011.

The Wyoming Dinosaur Center 

The Wyoming Dinosaur Center is looking for undergraduate and graduate students interested in paleontology, biology, geology and education to help with summer programs. Responsibilities will include excavation of dinosaur quarries, tours, cleaning fossils in the prep lab, assist in the molding and casting lab, and participation in the Dig-for-a-Day and Kids Dig programs. No paleontology field experience is necessary but preferred. Preference will also be given to those with an interest in Morrison Fm. fauna and associated paleoenvironments in the Big Horn Basin. Housing is provided. Valid drivers license is required. Training will begin May 24th, please send resume. For more information contact Angie Guyon at

  1. GS-7 Museum Technician (Fossil Preparator, permanent full time), Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument: Primary duties will be preparation of Pliocene-aged mammals from the Hagerman Horse Quarry. This position closes December 9th and can be found on USAJOBS.
  2. Assistant or Associate Professor in Paleontology, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology -  The Department of Geology and Geological Engineering at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology invites applications for a nine-month tenure track position in paleontology at the Assistant or Associate Professor level. The successful applicant should have a robust background in analytical paleontology, such as geochemical applications in paleontology, and will teach courses and advise student research at the undergraduate and graduate level. He or she is expected to develop an externally funded research program that complements current departmental research strengths. The department offers BS, MS and Ph.D. degrees with emphases in geology or paleontology, including an MS in Paleontology. The Museum of Geology’s paleontology collections, consisting of 500,000+ specimens, are housed in the James E. Martin Paleontology Research Laboratory. A Ph.D. in geology or a closely related field is required at the time of appointment. Nine-month salary range will be commensurate with background and experience. Application deadline: February 1, 2012 [link]
  3. Vertebrate Paleontologist: Assistant or Associate Professor, Fort Hays State University - Fort Hays State University is seeking a Vertebrate Paleontologist at the Assistant or Associate Professor level (tenure track) beginning June 11, 2012. This position is a joint appointment between the Department of Geosciences (0.5 FTE) and the Sternberg Museum of Natural History (0.5 FTE). ...  Preference will be given to individuals with knowledge of vertebrate fossils from the Late Cretaceous or Late Cenozoic of the Great Plains....Application deadline: January 15, 2012 [link
  4. Earth Sciences Collection Manager, University of Alaska Museum - The Earth Science Department at the University of Alaska Museum in Fairbanks seeks a full time Collections Manager to help oversee its paleontological and geological collection. The Collections Manager’s responsibilities include the day-to-day care and organization of the collection, managing collections data using a computerized database (Arctos), specimen preparation and conservation, supervising students and volunteers, administering loans, and public contact. ... The minimum qualifications are a Master’s degree in a related field (paleontology, biology, geology, museum science) or equivalent training and experience. Preference is given to applicants who have are familiar with using a relational database, and have at least two years experience conducting fossil preparation. To view a full position description or apply for the job, go to: Application deadline: December 15, 2011 [link]
Good luck to all the applicants! 

This position is classified as "Guest Scientist" positions. This position generally requires a higher level of qualifications and may involve a longer project and a higher stipend. Past GeoCorps participants can ONLY apply to Guest Scientist positions. Those who have not participated in GeoCorps before can also apply. To see details and eligibility requirements, please go to the About GeoCorps page.

** The following positions are part of the GeoCorps Diversity Internship Program and the GeoCorps American Indian Internship Program. To see details and eligibility requirements, please go to the GeoCorps Diversity Internship home page and the GeoCorps American Indian Internship home page.

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Sunday, October 16, 2011

BLM fun + job


And now you too can be part of all the BLM fun! A full-time Paleontologist job has been listed for the Billings, Montana office. You know you want to be humming the BLM rap while working in that office. Apply now

Thanks to Darrin P. for the heads up on the video. 

  © ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New Early Cretaceous Dinosaur Tracks from Southwestern Arkansas

Earlier this summer some new tracks, most notably sauropods and theropods, were found in southwestern Arkansas, in the same gypsum quarry where other tracks were located in the 1980's. Back then, Jeff Pittman had been doing some work at the quarry and often was displeased with the potholes he had to drive across every day. In late 1983 he and Dave Gillette confirmed that the "potholes" were actually thousands of sauropod tracks. The tracks were destroyed the next year. An account of that story can be found here.

Large theropod track in the Cedar Mountain Formation near Moab, Utah
The large theropod tracks at the Arkansas site look very similar to a new track series near Moab near the base of Ruby Ranch Member of Cedar Mountain Formation (picture right). This site is currently being developed into a protected interpreted trail by the BLM. Stay tuned for more information on this site as it becomes available. The site is being worked on by Brent Breithaupt (BLM regional paleontologist), Neffra Matthews (BLM), and Martin Lockley (CU Denver - retired). It should prove to be a very interesting site once it is described. Work is planned to compare this site to the Arkansas site. 

Working at the Cedar Mountain track site last summer, September 9, 2009
(l-r: Me, Scott Foss [BLM], Neffra Matthews & Brent Breithaupt)

The story below is the report from the University of Arkansas, my alma mater, who worked most recently on the Arkansas tracks. I was not involved in the work at this site. If you have any specific questions please direct them to Steve Boss

Large Field of Dinosaur Tracks Uncovered in Southwest Arkansas
High-tech and traditional techniques used to study footprints 
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 [link]

This July 12, 2011, photo provided by the University
of Arkansas shows tracks from a three-toed
dinosaur that researchers are studying
 in Southwest Arkansas. (AP Photo/
University of Arkansas, Russell Cothren)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The discovery of a large field of dinosaur tracks in Arkansas has researchers busy using cutting-edge technology and traditional techniques to learn all that they can about the animals and environment that existed there 120 million years ago.

The track site, found in southwest Arkansas, covers an area of about two football fields and contains the fossilized tracks of several species and tracks from multiple animals of the same species, some of which have never been previously documented in Arkansas. The site will help researchers learn not only about the creatures that once roamed through the area, but also about the climate during the Early Cretaceous period 115 to 120 million years ago.

“The quality of the tracks and the length of the trackways make this an important site,” said Stephen K. Boss, who led the National Science Foundation-funded project. Based on the rock in which the footprints were found, researchers have a good idea of what the climate would have been like.

“Picture an environment much like that of the shores of the Persian Gulf today. The air temperature was hot. The water was shallow and very salty,” Boss said. “It was a harsh environment. We’re not sure what the animals were doing here, but clearly they were here in some abundance.”

The most dramatic tracks found, those of a three-toed dinosaur, measure about two feet long by a foot wide. The researchers believe the footprints might belong to Acrocanthosaurus atokensis, one of the largest predators ever to walk the earth. The site also contains the giant prints of sauropods, large, long-necked plant-eating dinosaurs such as Pleurocoelus and Paluxysaurus. Other prints pepper the site as well, but it will take scientists some time to determine what other creatures might have walked through that area.

“Through tracks, we can learn all sorts things about dinosaur biomechanics and behavior,” said Brian Platt of the University of Kansas. “Dinosaur bones can be dragged away by animals or swept out to sea. But we know that about 120 million years ago, dinosaurs walked right through here.”

Thanks to a fast-track grant from the National Science Foundation, the University of Arkansas office of research and economic development and the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, a team of researchers spent two weeks studying the site, which is on private property. In addition to chisels, hand-held brooms and plaster, some scientists brought along their computers. Jackson Cothren and Malcolm Williamson, researchers from the department of geosciences and the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies at the university, documented the tracks using LiDAR, short for “light detection and ranging.” They used two different instruments to map the site.

First, they used a Z+F Imager 5006i mounted on a cherry picker. The imager is a phase-based scanner that emits a constant beam of laser light, which is swept across the landscape to measure and record up to 500,000 points per second.

The second unit, used to record an overview of the site from the ridge above, is a Leica ScanStation C10. This time-of-flight scanner incorporates discrete pulses of laser light at a rate of 50,000 per second, each recording a point in space. Depending on the path of a given laser pulse, up to four return pulses are recorded by the instrument's receiver. The location where each LiDAR return pulse originated is computed, allowing the researchers to study a three-dimensional “point cloud” representing the tracks.

By using LiDAR, the researchers will be able to view a highly accurate map of the site’s tracks and take detailed measurements of the height, width and depth of individual tracks as well as measurements of the trackways. These measurements will help them learn details about the animals’ identities, movements and behavior.

While computer imagery can give an overview of the dinosaurs, rock samples from the site can offer clues to climate.

“Because we see footprints here, we know that this surface was at one time exposed to the elements,” said Celina Suarez, a postdoctoral researcher at Boise State University who will be joining the faculty at the University of Arkansas in the fall of 2012. This exposure means that scientists can learn information about the frequency of rain and amount of evaporation that affected this site 120 million years ago. Using this site and others, they can reconstruct a regional paleoclimate during the Early Cretaceous period, which may help them make predictions about Earth’s future climate.

“This site will add to the knowledge of both the animals and climate of the Early Cretaceous,” Boss said. “Scientists will be studying these data for many years.”

Other researchers involved with the project include geosciences master’s candidate Terryl Daniels; senior geosciences major and Honors College student Alex Hamlin; junior geosciences major Ryan Shell; Joann Kvamme, coordinator for the environmental dynamics program; and Kenneth Kvamme, professor of anthropology, all at the University of Arkansas; and Greg Ludvigson of the Kansas Geological Survey.

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster, University of Arkansas story from here

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fruita Friday 8

Sadly this piece of art is no longer with us. It was originally painted on the back of a downtown building but was removed in ~2008(?).

Photos from "Roadside Dinosaurs/"

Former Location: 122 East Aspen Street, facing the Fruita Fitness Center. 

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fruita Friday 7

Not really art, but how often can you stand on the corner of the Jurassic and the Cretaceous??

Location: Corner of Jurassic Avenue and Cretaceous Street, in front of the Comfort Inn and behind El Tapatio Restaurant.  

View Larger Map
© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Barbie's take on Evolution

The Miss USA contestants were each asked if they thought evolution should be taught in school. I am surprised which states representatives were for it, and which states wanted "both sides" taught....Note that Miss California/Miss USA 2011 is in favor of evolution being taught in schools. 

Thanks to my aunt for the heads up! 

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fruita Friday 6

Painting on the northeast side of a downtown Fruita building (artist unknown)

Location: The northeast corner of Mulberry and Aspen Streets. 

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© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Monday, June 13, 2011

RIP Patti Kane-Vanni

After a long battle against cancer, we have lost one of our own ....




Rest in Peace PaleoPatti

Services will be held at St Mathias Church in Bala Cynwyd at 11:00 AM on Wednesday.

Random Picture Monday

In Delta, Colorado

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fruita Friday 5

Grrrreta can be found in the Fruita City Circle. It was named by local school children in 2000 and she is decorated for Christmas with a giant Santa hat and the Grinch hanging out of her mouth. 

Location: Fruita Park Circle (see map below) 
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© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Thursday, June 9, 2011

McInnis Canyons Mygatt-Moore Quarry Gives Up Fossil Clues John and I have been continuing our research out at the Mygatt-Moore Quarry in western Colorado, and recently had a paper on one of our findings published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology in May.

Foster, John R. and Hunt-Foster, Rebecca K.(2011) 'New occurrences of dinosaur skin of two types (Sauropoda? and Dinosauria indet.) from the Late Jurassic of North America (Mygatt-Moore Quarry, Morrison Formation)', Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 31: 3, 717 — 721 DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2011.55741

We work each summer at this quarry under a paleontological permit from the Bureau of Land Management, which is located in the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area (NCA), near the Colorado/Utah state line. “The national significance of the area's paleontological resources is one of the many reasons this special place was designated as a National Conservation Area,” said Katie Stevens, NCA Manager for the BLM’s Grand Junction Field Office. “With experts like John and ReBecca working in these quarries, we can recover and share this exciting and important scientific information with the public.” John is currently working under a scientific grant from the BLM to better understand the extent of the quarry and the conditions that made it such an ideal location for preserving fossils [details].

The first specimen was located by Jim Kirkland and his expedition to the quarry in 1993 (MWC 1903). A expedition member, Dan Libecap, discovered the second specimen (MWC 5537) in 2003. Two of our museum volunteers, Kay Fredette and Ray Bley, uncovered the most recent specimen (MWC 6718) in 2008.

Two of the three specimens (MWC 6718 & 5537) are possibly from sauropods, and we attributed the third specimen to Dinosauria indeterminate (MWC 1993). The two possible sauropod specimens represent the first occurrence in the Morrison Formation of preserved sauropod skin associated with abundant nearby specimens of Apatosaurus. They also show how similar the general structure of skin patterns within known Morrison diplodocids are.

Specimen MWC 6718 - carbonized sauropod? skin impression from the Mygatt-Moore Quarry. Morrison Formation (Upper Jurassic) of Mesa County, Colorado. scale bar =5 cm

These discoveries were unique because the soft tissue associated with the skin was preserved as carbonaceous layers rather than as trace fossil impressions, yielding better information about skin pattern, scale size and scale shape. This discovery is is the sixth occurrence recovered from the Morrison Formation.

If you would like a PDF of this paper please contact me here or by email and I would be happy to share one with you. We plan for this paper to be the first of many that will be published over the next few years. Below is a complete bibliography of research from Mygatt-Moore Quarry that has been done to date (PDF's of select papers are also available):

Foster, John R. and Hunt-Foster, Rebecca K. (2011). New occurrences of dinosaur skin of two types (Sauropoda? and Dinosauria indet.) from the Late Jurassic of North America (Mygatt-Moore Quarry, Morrison Formation) Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 31 (3), 717-721 : 10.1080/02724634.2011.55741

Foster, John R. 2007. Jurassic West: The Dinosaurs of the Morrison Formation and Their World. Indian University Press, 416 pages.

Foster, John R; Hunt, ReBecca K; King, Lorin. 2007. Taphonomy of the Mygatt-Moore quarry, a large dinosaur bonebed in the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of western Colorado. Geological Society of America, 2007 annual meeting, Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America, vol. 39, no. 6, pp.400

King, Lorin R; Foster, John. 2006. Under the feet of giants; an investigation of the small vertebrates at the Mygatt-Moore Quarry, Morrison Formation, western Colorado. Sixty-sixth annual meeting, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology; abstracts of papers. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, vol.26, no.3, Suppl., pp.85

King, Lorin R; Foster, John R; Scheetz, Rodney D. 2006. New pterosaur specimens from the Morrison Formation and a summary of the Late Jurassic pterosaur record of the Rocky Mountain region. In (editors - Foster, John R; Lucas, Spencer G) Paleontology and geology of the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation. Bulletin - New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, vol.36, pp.109-113

Foster, John. 2005. Evidence of size-classes and scavenging in the theropod Allosaurus fragilis at the Mygatt-Moore Quarry (Late Jurassic), Rabbit Valley, Colorado. Sixty-fifth annual meeting, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology; abstracts of papers. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, vol.25, no.3, Suppl., pp.59

King, Lorin; Foster, John; Scheetz, Rodney. 2005. Mesadactylus and other new pterosaur specimens from the Morrison Formation (Upper Jurassic) of western Colorado. Sixty-fifth annual meeting, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology; abstracts of papers. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, vol.25, no.3, Suppl., pp.78

Kirkland, James I. 1998. Morrison fishes. Modern Geology 22: 503-533

Tidwell, W.D., Britt, B.B., and Ash, S.R. 1998, Preliminary floral analysis of the Mygatt-Moore Quarry in the Jurassic Morrison Formation, west-central Colorado: Modern Geology 22: 341-378

Chin, K. and Kirkland, J.I. 1998. Probable herbivore coprolites from the Upper Jurassic Mygatt-Moore Quarry, Western Colorado. Modern Geology 23: 249-275.

Kirkland, J. and K. Carpenter. 1994. North America's first pre-Cretaceous ankylosaur (Dinosauria) from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of Western Colorado. Brigham Young University Geology Studies, 40:25-42.

Kirkland, James I; Armstrong, Harley J. 1992. Taphonomy of the Mygatt-Moore Quarry, middle Brushy Basin Member, Morrison Formation (Upper Jurassic), western Colorado. Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, fifty-second annual meeting. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, vol. 12, no. 3, Suppl., pp.37A

Mygatt, Peter. 1991. The Mygatt-Moore Quarry, Rabbit Valley, Mesa County, Colorado. Pages 57-58 in (editor - Averett, Walter R.) Guidebook for dinosaur quarries and tracksite tour, western Colorado and eastern Utah. Grand Junction Geol. Soc., Grand Junction, CO

Monday, June 6, 2011

Random picture Monday

Dinosaur, Colorado
© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fruita Friday 4

"Stegosaurus" bike rack

Location: 220 East Aspen Street, in front of Carquest Auto Parts

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© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Looking for a job?

Check out They currently have a few postings up and it seems to be a website that is kept up to date. At this point it seems to be a bit heavy in the geology side of jobs (not all paleo jobs), but if some bio- or museum people (even though there is a separate museum specific job site) submitted job postings they were aware of, it would be a good resource for everyone. And, yes, there is a facebook and twitter page.

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Monday, May 30, 2011

Random picture Monday

Murals at the new City of Kemmerer Training & Event Center (Wyoming).

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fruita Friday 3

Ceratopsian bench, artist unknown

Location: Corner of South Plum Street and Highway 6 & 50, behind City Market. 

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Threadless Reprints

3 classic Threadless styles have been reprinted. Get them while you still can!


Fossil Fuel

We're On the Same Level

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Monday, May 23, 2011

Random picture Monday

Welcome to Utah
© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fruita Friday 2

Ceratosaurus, the official city dinosaur of Fruita.

Location: Corner of East Aspen Street and North Park Square. It can be found in front of Christie Burns Photography at 122 E. Aspen Unit A and across the street from Turn the Page Used Book Store
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© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The End of Days(?)

It seems as if part of the US population thinks that the world is going to end this Saturday, May 21, 2011. Specifically, the rapture if going to happen and the whole earth is not going down until October 21th. But there is predicted to be serious earthquakes on Saturday [link]. Who knew all this time you could actually predict earthquakes. Too bad I will be in Nevada instead of a more tectonically stable area!

  • 2011 AD—On May 21st, Judgment Day will begin and the rapture (the taking up into heaven of God’s elect people) will occur at the end of the 23-year great tribulation. On October 21st, the world will be destroyed by fire (7000 years from the flood; 13,023 years from creation). [link]

We even saw a convoy today of RV's covered in signs telling of the impending woe outside Price, Utah, heading east. Maybe they know something I don't?

So, how do you plan on spending your last days? Does this mean I do not have to pay back my credit card debts or student loans??! I guess some people have up till October 21st to decide what they will do, not that it will matter in the end. I will be at a friends wedding this Saturday. Should be interesting to see who is able to make it.


© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster [note: I am not trying to taunt anyone or questions anyones religious beliefs or lack there of. I am just curious what you would do if this situation were to happen, this Saturday or 2012 or 10 years from now....]

Monday, May 16, 2011

Random picture Monday

Images from plaques in the floor of the new City of Kemmerer Training & Event Center (Wyoming).

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fruita Friday 1

For some time now I have wanted to feature the Paleo Art found in the Grand Valley of Western Colorado, the City of Fruita particularly. This area of Colorado has a high concentration of artist and you can see the geology and paleontology of our area often reflected in the many art pieces produced and on display. Over the next few weeks I will feature different pieces of art and note where they can be found, in case you would ever like to stop and visit.

Week 1: "Dinosaur Diamond" by Gary L Hauschulz

Location: on the north side of East Aspen Street (near the corner of Mulberry Street), across the street from Aspen Street Coffee and a few doors down from Turn the Page Used Book Store.

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The Dinosaur Diamond also refers to the Dinosaur Diamond National Scenic Byway, of which Fruita/Grand Junction is the eastern corner of the Diamond.

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

Random picture Monday

Who knew dinosaurs had a religious affiliation!? 
© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Field Photo - what is it??

We spent the day down by Gateway, Colorado, prospecting and looking at various tracks in the Chinle and Wingate Formations. While looking at a huge track slab I happened to see something weird hanging from a tree branch. I took these two photo of it (horrible lighting, apologies). Unfortunately we forgot the good camera at home, the ok camera at the hotel, and were only left with my cell phone, so that is what I used. Since it was so cool and not something I had ever seen, I thought I would share it and see if anyone else could guess what it is.

Any guesses?!?!? :-)
[edit: check out the comments...]

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Pimp Your Ride

A friend of ours got this first shirt for his birthday tonight. The great search that ensued to find it yielded the following results:

Raptor Bandit Shirt via TopatoCo for $17.50

DinoGirl, sadly not (yet?) available in grown-up sizes, via Jusami for $26 (the smallest shirt (and short sleeved at that!!), yet it cost the most. That blows. A black, long sleeve version is on sale for $19.99 however. And a boys version is on sale for $12.99. What gives?! Whey is the girl version more expensive?! I might have to make my own, affordable, version.) 

Rodeosaur via uneetee for $19.99

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster