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Royal Tyrrell Museum Update #6: Field Results
Here's the latest.
1. We have yet ANOTHER ornithomimid this summer. This is NOT the one
reported on in my last report. So, we have 2 new ornithomimids this summer
alone. This new find was located in the Drumheller valley, "a stones throw"
from the Hypacrosaurus (collected in 1982) panel mount in now our gallery. I
have seen a photo of the new site- 2 perfectly articulated hind feet with
tibiae going back into the hill. The tail is apparently eroded off. This was
found by a tourist canoeing down the Red Deer River. He pulled all the _in
situ_ bone out of the hill, but fortunately the bone was well preserved and
little damage occurred. This is being collected now, but not by the Dinosaur
Park people- an assortment of Tyrrell staff and summer students are on this.
2. Dinosaur Provincial Park (DPP) ornithomimid. Excavation on this should
begin shortly, once Phil Currie and another technician arrive at DPP.
3. Forgot to mention in the last posting that we found and collected a
nearly complete sturgeon. Not a dinosaur, but articulated fish are extremely
rare in Late Cretaceous deposits in Alberta so I thought I should mention this.
4. Bonebed 47. A multigeneric bonebed. We are now just down to the bone
producing layer. Trenching operations revealed a complete carapace/plastron
of a baenid turtle. A trionychid turtle was found on the other side of the
work area, so we are predicting finding at least 5 articulated turtles in
the main work area. We also found the back end of a crocodile
(?Leidyosuchus) skull. A big (field measurement = 34 cm) tyrannosaurid
humerus was also a pleasant surprise. The digging here will last all summer
and probably into next years field season.
5. Bonebed 91. Excavation of this Centrosaurus bonebed was completed on
July 9th. This closure will allow us to begin work on #6 below.
6. New ceratopsian bonebed. This site is of interest as it occurs in the
Oldman Formation (Fm.) within DPP. The Oldman Fm. underlies what is now
called the Dinosaur Park Fm. In the past, both beds were collectively called
the Pale Beds, Oldman Fm. Belly River Fm. The Dinosaur Park Fm. is where all
the classic dinosaur finds have been made. So, the discovery of articulated
ceratopsian cranial material in the older formation is of interest to us. I
went to the site a few nights ago and between swatting sand flies and
mosquitoes had a good look at the well exposed (but unfortunately
upside-down) articulated skull. It is a centrosaurine of some sort. The
frill (if present) is still buried. The nasal horncore is of moderate size.
An isolated ?nasal horncore nearby was also moderate in size, stout and of a
rather heavy construction. I was unable to see whether or not orbital
horncores were present. Eroded out and unassociated frill pieces from this
bonebed show the typical hooks and horns on the back of the parietal as seen
in Centrosaurus (but smaller), so we are leaning that way for the
identification of the animals in this bonebed. Given the older age of the
site (anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 million years older that the Centrosaurus
remains from the DPP Fm.), and the rapid rate of ceratopsian evolution, we
are expecting either something new or, more probably, a more
primitive-appearing version of Centrosaurus. While still to early to know
for sure, the incipient nature of the frill ornamentation observed so far
and the shorter, stouter nasal horncore(s) may prove the latter to be true.
Excavation on this site will be started within the week and will last all
7. The fragmentary Elmisaurus metatarsus reported previously will remain
fragmentary. We have had some rain but no new pieces of this important
specimen have turned up as a result. I guess I should have found it 10 years
8. Hadrosaur quarry. This lambeosaurine quarry was finally finished after
being worked on over 5 years. No skull was located.
8. Devil's Coulee. I have heard nothing on field results from this
locality. We have a full crew there all summer. Phil Currie was there for a
week and I'll be seeing him in a few days so I should have something to
report on my next days off (10 days from now).
We have had good, hot and sunny weather. A good quality thermometor left in
full sun on a white sandstone surface gave a reading of 122 F. Good tanning
weather and I've got the tan to prove it.
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).
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