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Royal Tyrrell Museum Update #8: Fieldwork, etc.

 A few more snippets of information to bring the group up to speed on how
our fieldwork, etc. is progressing.

 1). New Ankylosaur. A small contingent of our crew went off to Hilda,
Alberta (about 80 miles east of Dinosaur Park, on the Alberta/Saskatchewan
border) to do some preliminary investigation on this new find. As I left for
days off before they got back, I cannot make any specific progress report on
this, but shall in my next update.

 2). Drumheller ornithomimid. I saw quarry maps of this. I think there is
still a remote chance of a skull in the rock. While I was previously told
the ribs were disarticulated and nothing else was there, the map shows the
lowermost tips of the ribs are fanned out into a big arch which appears to
be directed back over toward the pelvis- suggestive that the front of the
animal (ie. neck/head) are pulled over the pelvis in the classic "death
pose". The specimen is in a hard sandstone nodule which limited the crews
efforts to find the neck/head. So keep your fingers crossed...... 

 3). Devils Coulee. The juvenile Hypacrosaurus bonebed has yielded over 500
bones to date, but most were broken up prior to burial and fossilization.
They are also going after a hadrosaur nest of eggs that had "alot" of baby
bones "piled on top". More on this later if it turns out to be something

 4). DPP. (Dinosaur Provincial Park). The quarry for the type specimen of
Daspletosaurus was just recently relocated after many years of trying. Much
to our surprise it is in the Oldman Formation- thus predating all the
classic dinosaur finds from the Park (which are found in the younger
Dinosaur Park Formation). This is one of the first confirmed occurrences of
an adssociated/articulated dinosaur in the lower formation.

 5). Over the past 100 years of collecting in Dinosaur Provincial Park many
fossils have been collected, papers written, notes taken and photos taken.
So much has been and is still being done that it is becoming increasingly
difficult to gather all this information into one compact package. In regard
to the many old Sternberg/Brown photographs many bear no information at all,
yet are of great historical value. While walking back from Bonebed 47 last
week, I just happened to look up at the nearby rock outcrops and had one of
those "deja vu" experiences- I knew I had been/seen this area before, but
could not place it. That evening I realized it was a photograph from
Colbert's 1968 MEN AND DINOSAURS. Armed with my copy we went back to the
area in question and was able to match Colbert's Plate 74 (the photo with
the wagon, wooden tripod and two men) with the actual locality. The area is
almost identical to the old photograph, although the "hoodoo" has since lost
the left 1/3 of its ironstone caprock. This was exciting "stuff" as no AMNH
quarries are staked (marked) in the immediate area. However, a close look
around the area revealed no evidence of any quarries which leads us to the
dilemna: 1. What is the dinosaur they are collecting and where is the
quarry? What year was the picture taken? 2. Did they just drag the plaster
blocks to that spot (which was flat enough to bring down a wagon and set up
the tripod)? 
 I plan on pursuing this problem in greater detail this fall/winter, but is
there anyone out there who can satisfy my curiosity and provide more details
on the situation represented in this old photograph?

 6). Pathologic hadrosaur radius/ulna. This was mentioned in a previous
update. I have most of the major preparation done on it. There is no
question that we are looking at a transverse fracture of the forearm which
occurred during the life of the animal. When I uncovered them in the field,
it was not really apparent what had caused the bones to fuse together. Now
that I have plaster jacketed and flipped the specimen over we can see what
caused this fusion. Surprisingly, there is a heavily remodeled fracture
callus with a strap of bone about the diameter of a broom handle that runs
diagonally between the radius and ulna- this strap of bone had locked the
two bones together. The injury was so severe, I can see no way how the
animal could have walked on all fours as hadrosaurs are often depicted. It
would either have had to hobble along in a tripodal stance or move
bipedally. This is the first I am aware of a forearm fracture in a hadrosaur
that involved both elements.  

 7). DPP Tyrannosaur. This is Phil Currie's quarry; DPP Quarry number 220.
Both hind legs, pelvis, disarticulated feet, ribs and vertebral column are
present. There are still hopes for at least the back half of the head.

 We have had the best summer weatherwise ever. It has been anywhere from
35-45 degrees C and sunny all summer. Only 3-4 days have been lost to rain
in 3 months!      

 Darren Tanke, Technician, Dinosaur Research Program, Royal Tyrrell Museum
of Palaeontology, Drumheller, Alberta, 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 (9,798 entries as
of June 23, 1996).