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Washington State Dinosaur(?)



There was some conversation earlier this season regarding a dino hunting 
expedition to Washington's Methow Valley.  Here is *University Week*'s 
latest on the subject.  I didn't write this. Just passing it along for your 
edification.  typos are mine.

      --------begin transcript ------

BURKE PALEONTOLOGISTS TAKE A HIKE
They set up camp 16 miles west of Winthrop, at the Early Winters campground 
off the senic Horth Cascades Highway, where the mountains slope into the dry 
Methow Valley.  They're hhear for the rocks, this 15-person delegation of 
professional and amateur paleontologists from the UW's Burke Museum.

Wes Wehr, the Burke's fossil plant curator, pulls out a stack of scientific 
literature about the flora found in the Creataceous outcropping here.  Wehr 
says you can always judge a geologist by the size of his protable library.  
Bruce Crowley, Burke fossil preparator and one of this expedition's leaders, 
shows off a pile pf papers at least as thick as Wehr's.  'A lot has been 
written,' Crowley says, 'and a lot more is about to be written.'

In the back of everyone's mind (and at the frot of some): the hope of 
finding Washington state's first dinosaur.  The Methow Valley is among the 
few places in this corner of the world that has deposits old enough to 
contain dinosaurs.  One-hundred million years ago, the rock in the mountains 
over Early Winters was the east coast of the Western Interior Seaway that 
divided North America.  The crustal cracking and buckling has pushed these 
stone-bound plants and marine animals a mile high in the surrounding mountains.

After a pep talk about what to look for, a pack of fossil hounds grab rock 
hammers and head for a ridge west of the campsite.  Catch of the day: a 
perfectly preserved fern discoverd by the youngest member of the party, 
12-year-old Sam Girouard of Bellingham.  Peter Ward, chairman of the 
museum's geology division and UW professor of geological sciences, and 
Girouard chip the fern from a rock wall  Ward later says that it's one of 
hundreds of important museum-quality plant and marine-animal specimens -- 
including some fine ammonites -- that the Burke added to its collection 
after the three-day expedition that also took the bone-seekers to nearby 
Hart's Pass and Pipestone Canyon.  One dino-bone candidate, a couple of 
inches in diameter, was found, Ward says, but it will have to be sectioned 
to see if it's the real thing.



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Joe Small - Amateur Paleontologist &   Editor of 'Bone Bug Journal,
                                       Field Notes':
                                       Twice-monthly newsletter of
bonebug@halcyon.com                    amateur paleontology
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