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Royal Tyrrell Museum Update #2 1996 Field Plans
The dinosaur research field program will begin in early June. Field
activities in Dinosaur Provincial Park (DPP) are as follows:
1). Finish excavating hadrosaur skeleton. This was found by me in 1991, was
partially uncovered in 1992 and has been worked on slowly every summer
since. One reason for the delay is it is close to the bus tour road and is
thus ideal for interpretation as an in situ display for Park tourists. A
headless, disarticulated skeleton, the massive deltoid crest, massive
forelimb bones and pubis shape are suggestive of a large Parasaurolophus. If
so, it would only be the second confirmed occurrence of this genus in the
Park. The tail is missing and appears to have been lost prior to burial.
Nearly all the ribs are present, along with the ischia, one ilium and one
pubis (pelvic bones). Limb bones consist of femora (thigh bones), humerus
(upper arm bone), ulna (major forearm element), metacarpals (hand bones).
Some dorsal vertebrae (from back) and one cervical (neck) vertebra were
located. Two of the ribs show well healed fractures.
2). Finish excavating a Centrosaurus bonebed. At least 6 Centrosaurus
bonebeds are known from DPP. There are some indications that some of these
bonebeds represent one and the same event. Several of these bonebeds are
being excavated and analysed so results from each can be compared to confirm
or deny the hypothesis that some of these bonebeds are related in context. I
excavated a large section of Bonebed (BB) 30 last summer and BB 91 was
started and nearly finished before time ran out.
3). Excavate a portion of Centrosaurus BB 41. A continuance of the project
outlined in #2 above.
4). Excavate a multigeneric bonebed. I will be in charge of excavating an
as yet to be established bonebed. The Centrosaurus bonebeds are
"monogeneric", "monospecific", or "low diversity" bonebeds, where
Centrosaurus dominates to the tune of 85% or higher. A mass mortality event
is usually implicated in their formation. A multigeneric BB contains the
remains of many different types of dinosaurs and the other lower vertebrates
that lived alongside and underfoot. As such, a multigeneric bonebed provides
a broad picture of the vertebrate fauna that lived at that particular time.
These types of bonebeds are widespread in DPP. Natural attrition of
taxonomically diverse animals and the gradual accumulation of their mostly
disarticulated bones results in the formation of these types of bonebeds. No
multigeneric bonebed has ever been excavated and studied in Alberta. We want
to do this to compare the Centrosaurus BB's with a "typical" multigeneric BB.
5). Possible exploration of a new tyrannosaurid UAD (UAD is a Tyrrell field
term which= Uncollected Articulated Dinosaur). I did not see this, but
apparently it is worth a closer look. If it turns out to be something
significant, it will continue the trend of our museum finding at least 1.5
tyrannosaurs a year since about 1985.
6). Prospecting for new sites. This involves walking up and down the
numerous outcrops and looking for anything new of interest. Prospecting last
year netted Phil Currie the first skeletal evidence (a lower jaw with teeth)
of protoceratopsian-type dinosaurs in DPP. I will be at DPP for 10 days on,
4 days off schedule and will regularly report on our field results when I'm
On another interesting note, on April 25, Phil Currie was shown a site rich
in small theropod teeth in Horsethief Canyon, about 5-6 miles upriver from
the Tyrrell. While the teeth were abundant, Phil was able to find two
complete vertebral centra of embryonic hadrosaurs. This is the first
embryonic dinosaur bone recovered from the Drumheller Valley.
It was good to meet some of you at Dinofest'96.
Darren Tanke, Technician I, Dinosaur Research Program, Royal Tyrrell Museum
of Palaeontology, Drumheller, AB, Canada. Paleo Interests: fossil
identification, collection and preparation, centrosaurine ceratopsians,
Upper Cretaceous vertebrate faunas of North America and East Asia,
paleopathology; senior editor on annotated bibliography of extinct/extant
vertebrate dental pathology, osteopathy and related topics (9,657 entries as
of April 14, 1996).
Osteopathy Bibliography Homepage at: http://dns.magtech.ab.ca/dtanke