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Radioactive fossils (was: "Sue", the K-T event, and an exploding planet.)



Tom Holtz writes:

>I've not heard of the Hell Creek and Lance Formations as radioactive
>bone producers, but the Morrison Formation (Upper Jurassic western
>North America) and the Sivalik Group (Tertiary of Pakistan) are
>famous for their radioactive dinosaurs and mammals, respectively.

If the conditions are right, we can get radioactive fossils in the Hell
Creek.  A few years ago, I was digging at a hadrosaur site in SD (the Ruby
Site, if anyone is interested).  For the uninitiated, site taphonomy is
interpreted to be similar to the quarry at Dinosaur National Monument: a
sandbar in the river, which traps, secures, and buries the bones (dominated
by _Edmontosaurus_).  Most of the bones have a coating of Uranitite, with
some bones developing decent concretions of the mineral.  I don't know if
this is exactly what Tom had in mind, but the result would certianly be a
radioactive fossil.  

Rob Meyerson
Orphan Vertebrate Paleontologist

***
"A case of Pikal envy."
        -M.C.