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ROYAL TYRRELL MUSEUM UPDATE: JANUARY, 1997.



 We have been extremely busy despite most miserable weather with
temperatures dropping down to -38 C accompanied by brisk winds and snow.
That's why we're called The Great White North.  Here's the latest Tyrrell
dinosaur program goings on, etc. and in no particular order:

1. RTMP 90.26.1 STRUTHIOMIMUS- Ken Kucher has now made an RTV rubber mould
of the entire skull. Now he is preparing out the uncrushed palate- in
excellent and uncrushed condition and with not a bone out of place. Once
done that he may remould the skull so as to show the palatal elements in
articulation. He will resume preparation on the postcranial skeleton soon.
He is also doing minor repair jobs on various skulls and other large
specimens in our collections.

2. RTMP 95.110.1 ORNITHOMIMUS- Clice Coy has almost finished this panel
mount which will show the entire skeleton as found in right lateral view.
All that needs to be done now the the attachment of the skull and 2 neck
vertebrae, which Phil Currie is currently preparing/studying and is to have
illustrated. This specimen can now be seen being worked on when you look
into the big preparation lab window here at Tyrrell. We have lots of space
for you tourists out there. On a cold day we might get 10 people visiting us
if we're lucky. This is good for you in one way (lots of room and quiet),
but bad in another because terminally bored security guards have no one to
watch but you ;)

3. I am still working on the subadult DASPLETOSAURUS skull, RTMP 94.143.1
and making good progress. This poor guy (gal?) looks as if it had a few
rounds with heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson a week or two before it died. The
number of pathologies this specimen has is quite remarkable maybe even more
pathologies than "SUE":

 Healed puncture through posterior edge of ascending process of right jugal.
 2 small, eliptical healed punctures through right surangular.
 Area of scarred and healing bone on right surangular above 2 punctures.
 1 premaxilla tooth with split carina (sensu G. Erickson's recent work).
 2 maxillary teeth broken and rounded off (one broke at tip, other at base).
 1 premaxilla tooth broken and rounded off at tip.
 4 broken and healed cervical ribs (3 no knitting back together and forming
"false joints".

 And this is only what I have seen in 10 days work. All wounds appear
restricted to the right side of the face. If true, things can only get
better (for me :)  or worse if you were the tyrannosaur), as most of the
right side of the skull is articulated and still at the bottom of the
plaster jacket. There is a body to go with this skull, but in the field it
was found to be badly damaged either from scavenging, trampling or both.
There are nice articulated cervical (neck) vertebrae in the block and all of
a sudden just cervical vertebrae fragments- almost as if he had his throat
ripped out. The skull was buried upside-down (ie. maxillary teeth pointing
skyward). One maxilla is broken and spread apart posteriorly and all the
teeth in this area are gone. This looks like trampling, but the trampler
must have walked off with a heel full of DASPLETOSAURUS teeth- like stepping
on a board full of nails me thinks ;) 
I shall be sending Jeff Poling some photographs of this and other past or
ongoing work projects in the near future for his homepage. This way you can
see what I'm talking about.

4. RTMP91.36.500 GORGOSAURUS. A photo of this animal can be seen on J.
Poling's homepage (www.dinosauria.com). Phil Currie is calling this
GORGOSAURUS- it has been called ALBERTOSARUS in previous postings. This
exhibit was finally rolled out into the galleries mid-January, 5.5 years
after discovery. My first dinosaur mount, a proud moment for me.....

5. Phil Currie will be headed off the Argentina Feb. 11-March 1st. He will
be doing fieldwork in Neuquen Province in Patagonia, and working with Dr.
Coria on a GIGANATOSAURUS publication they've been working on for some time. 

6. On Jan 27th, Steve Cole had posted a request for information on a
"ceratopsian tail club". This is probably in reference to our discovery of
3-4 fused and swollen caudal vertebrae in a ceratopsian we collected last
fall. There is no tail club- the fusion and swelling occurs in the middle of
the tail only. 

7. Some of you may remember GAIA, No. 10 publication that came out in 1994
and dealt solely with sauropods. I've recently learned another GAIA
publication is planned and this one will cover theropod dinosaurs
exclusively. Phil Currie also mentioned that in a couple weeks the first
major publication on SINOPTERYX prima will come out in Nature. In a recent
staff lecture on theropods he said the "heated debate over this animal will
really heat up" when the various publications on it come out.  Should be
interesting. 

8. I should mention that during all this time (since 1996 field season), we
have had Mike Getty at Dinosaur Provincial Park supervising about 30 local
volunteers (not all at once though). This is the first time we've had a
presence in the Park in the winter months. They are preparing the bulk of
the CENTROSAURUS bonebed material collected over the past 2 summers. 80% of
the main study area material is prepared with 100% completion done before
the upcoming field season. 60% of all material from these bonebeds will be
finished by then.

9. Earlier I had reported that I would be mounting a T. rex. Work priorities
were reshuffled so now I work on the DASPLETOSAURUS only. Marilyn
Laframboise and welder/machinist Fred Orosz will be mounting a cast of the
AMNH T. rex. They started this today. I forwarded a proposal of our mounting
this T. rex, remounting the rex in our gallery and the nearby TRICERATOPS to
show the 2 rex's bringing down the ceratopsian (hey I don't deny it never
happened), but I am not sure this will come about.

10. We will be hosting "The Lost World" travelling dinosaur exhibit sometime
this summer, keep posted for details. The new rex mount will be part of this
exhibit for the time it is here.

11. In the last posting I mentioned the students and staff research
projects. As I hit the "SEND" button, I realized I forgot to include Allison
Tumarkin of Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, USA. Allison worked
with us most of last summer in Bonebed 47, looking at geology and
paleontology of this multigeneric bonebed. The study area was littered with
thousands of bone fragments. I had to examine/identify and she recorded
every single piece of bone found on the surface in a 10 metre by 19 metre
area and deposited into a common "bonepile". People like to use terms like
"hundreds" or "thousands" of bone pieces when referring to numbers of bone
pieces in any given area in Dinosaur Provincial Park, but I can tell you
here (because I was there and examined each and every one) that we surface
collected 10,688 pieces- No I did not hit the "0" by accident- 10,688
pieces. And from an area we had been collecting from since 1981 and who
knows who else for the previous 90 years or so. Such a high number is not
typical for any bonebed in Dinosaur Park- that part of BB 47 is particularly
rich. 

12. This has nothing to do with dinosaurs but it is still neat and I thought
I'd share it. Many of you have seen photographs of Late Cretaceous ammonites
that show mosasaur tooth punctures. Well, the invertebrate paleontology
people have had reason to challenge this interpretation and have built a
steel abstracted mosasaur head with 16 hand-sculpted brass teeth. "Muscles"
are provided by a single large hydraulic press. 2 weeks ago we did not have
the teeth ready, but we could not resist trying it out, so we had Mr.
Mosasaur "gumming" his food (block styrofoam) to death. The results were
quite spectacular. Sudden snapping of the jaws shut resulted in explosions
of styrofoam pieces. More gentle applications of bite still compressed the
styrofoam flat. We are supposed to try the device with the teeth very soon-
keep posted. I was at Dinofest in Tempe and apparently Dr. Kaufmann gave a
talk there on these mosasaur bite marks he found on ammonites. I missed the
talk, so would appreciate it if anyone can let me know what he said. His
email # would be nice to have too. Please respond off line
(dtanke@dns.magtech.ab.ca).

13. Ignore this entry if you do not need to open plaster jackets cotaining
dinosaur bones. Fellow technicians: we have just acquired a new type of cast
cutter. The old ones were electric, overheated, wore out bushings quickly,
expensive to buy/repair. Try this new toy: Chicago Pneumatic CP-838 Sealant
Cutter/Saw. It is for cutting the sealant around car windows to effect their
removal. The tool costs under $200 and runs on compressed air. It appears to
work 3 times faster than the old electric cast cutters. The blades cost
twice as much though, and we cannot provide details on blade longevity. The
tool works just like a regular cast cutter (oscilating blade cutting action)
and cannot overheat. One drawback is the air exhaust port likes to blow
plaster dust all over the place. The Tyrrell Museum is not officially
endorsing this project, I'm just alerting my collegues as a service. Try an
industrial supplier like ACKLANDS to buy this item.

14. Finally, I am selling off some original signed paleomammal reprints.
This is not to line my pocket, I simply need the money to keep my
paleopathology bibliography project alive and research money active (the
latter is wilting rapidly). They are in good original shape (unless
otherwise noted) and bear the original GENUINE signature of the previous
owner (identified in square [] brackets, in many cases famous
paleontologists of days gone by like Charles M. Sternberg. I will part with
them singly or as a group for a fair donation to my project. Here's your
chance to support a starving ;) researcher and own a piece of history:

a. Robinson, P. 1960. SINOPA from the Cuchara Fm. of Colorado. 4 pp. [C.M.
Sternberg]
b. Robinson, P. 1957. The species of NORTHARCTUS from the middle Eocene. 27
pp. [C.M. Sternberg]
c. Thorpe, M. 1921. John Day Promerycochoeri, with descriptions...... 29 pp.
Signed [To Professor Richard S. Lull, with the very kind regards of Malcolm
R. Thorpe]
d. Thorpe, M. 1921. John Day Oreodons, with descriptions..... 16 pp. Signed
[To Dr. George Wieland with the cordial regards of Malcolm R. Thorpe].
e. Simpson, G. 1937. The Fort Union of the Crazy Mountain Field, Montana and
its Mammalian Faunas. 287 pp. (some still uncut), 10 plates. [C.M. Sternberg].
f. Osborn, H.F. 1897. TRITUBERCULY: A Review Dedicated to the Late Professor
Cope. 24 pp. Complete, but cover off and brittle Signed [Lawrence M. Lambe
May 28, 1900]. 

 Please email me offline if interested.

 Thats it for now.

 

       
Darren Tanke
Technician, Dinosaur Research Program
Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology
Drumheller, Alberta, Canada

             and

Senior Editor on the:
Annotated Bibliography of Paleopathology, Dento-Osteopathy and Related Topics
11,037 citations as of Jan. 19, 1997.
Visit our homepage at: http://dns.magtech.ab.ca/dtanke
Can you help with this ongoing project? Email me at: dtanke@dns.magtech.ab.ca