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Royal Tyrrell Museum Update: February, 1997.



 A little delayed, but here's the update.

 1). DASPLETOSARUS skull RTMP 94.143.1. I have resumed working on this. I
was delayed for a bit while making a skull cast of GORGOSAURUS RTMP
91.36.500 in exchange for some professional photography work. This is a good
way to get services done if museum budget cannot permit the work you need
doing done. We were able to get a whole days professional photography of
research specimens done in exchange for the panel mounted skull cast. 
Presently I have about just about finished preparing the DASPLETOSAURUS
right surangular. This is a remarkably pathologic bone. Previously I
reported two healed punctures, and a playing card-sized patch of really
scarred bone but now I see almost the entire length of the upper curved edge
of this element is moderately swollen and the "filigree" nature of the bone
texture shows evidence of osteomyelitis- bone infection. This infection was
active at time of death. Whether it was responsible for the animals' death
is unknown. Also preparing the parietal bone and a squamosal. The former is
pathological too- bilaterally asymmetrical (congenital defect?), hypertropy
of sagittal crest on right side and/or atrophy of same on left side, and 2
possible healed tooth puncture marks. In the field, it was found that most
of the sagittal crest was unfortunately broken off and washed away prior to
burial. On March 4th I located 3 loose and unidentified pieces of bone
"scrap" that were found in situ in the quarry and near the parietal. I was
delighted to find these were pieces of the missing sagittal crest! After
extensive cleaning of the broken edges, I was able to reassemble these
pieces back together for the first time after 76 million years, 2 with
perfect fits. I think I have the greatest job in the world, but events such
as this are really cool and make the job all the more satisfying! I also
reassembled the field quarry map for this specimen. This gives one an idea
of numbers of bones/distribution of same in the quarry. There is a rather
paltry collection of postcranial elements- some ribs, 10+ vertebrae,
fractured ilium and lots of bone fragments. There is a nice skull but I
think 15% or less of the body is there. Most of the postcranial skeleton
looks as if a herd of hadrosaurs stepped on it. I also prepared a baby
hadrosaur right femur, only 160 mm long. This was part of my haul from
Dinosaur Park last summer. We have found femora much smaller than this one.

 2). RTMP 90.26.1 STRUTHIOMIMUS. Ken Kucher has finished exposing the palate
of this beautiful skull. It is perfect, uncrushed and not a bone out of
place. He is now remoulding the ventral side of the skull. Bone preservation
and bone/rock separation is so good (actually so excellent) that he will
also try airscribing out the orbits and antorbital fenestrae. He has also
done a little more airscribing on the body block of this guy. Two images of
this skull can be seen in the Photo Gallery section of Jeff Poling's
homepage at:  www.dinosauria.com 
 Ken is still repairing and making support jackets for a few larger
specimens. He is currently repairing RTMP 74.10.7, a complete hadrosaur
sacrum. This is of interest to me as it shows several fractured and healed
neural spines. He is presently making a support jacket for a partial
CORYTHOSAURUS skull, RTMP 79.14.919.

 3). RTMP 95.110.1 ORNITHOMIMUS. Clive Coy has been unable to do much work
on this because of research and scientific illustration currently being done
on the skull. The panel mount is to be ready for the LOST WORLD (see #5
below) exhibit this summer. Clive has been doing a number of odd preparation
jobs.

 4). DINOSAUR PARK. Several of us went down to the Park for the day to see
how progress is being made on preparation of CENTROSAURUS bonebed material
that were collected over the past two summers. Mike Getty and his team of
dedicated local volunteers are making excellent progress in this regard with
many cranial, limb bone and other elements being finished. Mike has also
been able to bring some bones that were broken and drifted apart in the Late
Cretaceous back together. For example, in the field a 1/2 grown CENTROSAURUS
parietal was found to be missing one side. Mike found that an isolated piece
collected 3 feet away in the quarry fit on perfectly! He's been able to do
this with another frill specimen too.

 5). LOST WORLD EXHIBIT. In my last posting, I indicated we were hosting a
LOST WORLD travelling exhibit. I was misinformed. Actually, we are creating
our own LOST WORLD exhibit. This will contain: 

 a. Adult T. Rex (cast of AMNH specimen) open mount (Fred Orosz and Marilyn
Laframboise have the pelvis and hind legs, basal tail mounted so far, with
more vertebrae to be attached soon). When AMNH staff moulded the skeleton
they moulded the steelwork too- this was on our cast, but all of this will
be ground off. Many of the vertebrae were moulded in an articulated
condition- we are cutting most of them apart so they can be remounted into a
different pose.
 b. SAURORNITHOLESTES mounts (2). 3 museums (RTMP, Old Trail Museum
(Choteau, Montana) and Museum of the Rockies (Bozeman, Montana) have gotten
together and moulded skeletal material in their collections. Plastic casts
of the bones are being sent to an individual in Calgary who will then be
doing some skeletal mounts.
 c. 1/10 scale fleshed out PARASAUROLOPHUS, TRICERATOPS, TYRANNOSAURUS,
PACHYCEPHALOSAURUS.
 d. Cast of skull of CARNOTAURUS and skin impressions. 
 e. Small exhits on theropod claws and insects in amber.
 f. Skull cast of DILOPHOSAURUS, PACHYCEPHALOSAURUS. 
 g. The two ornithomimid specimens described above.
 h. TRICERATOPS pelvis section with T. rex toothmarks. 
 i. PARASAUROLOPHUS skull and live preparation in the gallery of possible
PARASAUROLOPHUS material collected last summer.
 j. New TRICERATOPS skull.
 k. Full scale baby T. rex's, each 1 metre or less in length.
 l. A simulated pile of dino dung, complete with access ports where one can
put in their ungloved hand and feel around for "stuff" contained therein.
 m. A few other items of interest if things work out will also be included.

 6). PALEOPATHOLOGY BIBLIOGRAPHY PROJECT UPDATES. These changes should be
updated onto my homepage (http://dns.magtech.ab.ca/dtanke) in about 1-1.5
months. There will be a massive bibliography of dinosaur paleopathology and
related topics (about 620 annotated citations, approx. 120 pages) and some
photos of pathologic dinosaur and extant vertebrate bones added. Many thanks
to those who have bravely come forward and helped out on this ongoing
project by offering to send photocopies of papers, sending translations, or
buying my old reprints to bolster my photocopying budget. Contributions
(finacial or otherwise) are still actively solicitated. Some more items are
available for sale, proceeds of which go directly into the bibliography project:
 I have a mint condition, hard copy (no dust jacket) of D.H. McNeil and
W.G.E. Caldwell (1981) Cretaceous Rocks and Their Foraminifera in the
Manitoba Escarpment. Geol. Assoc. Canada Spec. Pap No. 21. 435 pages for
sale if anyone is interested. First $25.00 or best offer by March 15 takes.
 Also have a partial set of "The Chanares (Argentina) Triassic Reptile
Fauna" series put out by Breviora (Mus. Comp. Zool.), #'s 2, 3, 11, 12, 13,
14, 16, 17, 18, 19. Sell as set $30 or best offer.
 Matsumoto, H. 1926. Contribution to the Knowledge of the Fossil
Hyracoidea..... Egypt..... Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., 55:253-350. Ex
Tyrrell library. Pages still uncut. $25 or best offer.
 Colbert, E.H. 1934. Chalicotheres from Mongolia and China..... ibid,
LXVII:353-387. (Autographed by R. Sternberg). Ex Tyrrell library. $17 or
best offer.
 Paleontology and Geology of the Badwater Creek Area, Central Wyoming.
Annals of Carnegie Museum. A series, I have Parts 1, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14,
19, 20. Ex Tyrrell library. $20 takes them all.
 Branson and Mehl, 1932. Footprint Records from Palaeozoic and Mesozoic of
Missouri, Kansas and Wyoming.; Olson, E. 1954. Fauna of the Vale and Choza:
7. Pelycosauria; Romer, A.S. 1964. Braincase of Paleozoic Elasmobranch
Tamiobatis; Romer, A.S. 1969. Cranial Anatomy of Permian Amphibian Pantylus.
$8 each or all four for $22. The last two bear the signature of the late
Malcolm J. Heaton, Tyrrell scientist who died in 1984. 
 Continental Drift, 1963. Tasmania University, softcover, ex library, 363
pp. $15.   
 
 7). Argentina trip. Phil Currie and Eva Koppelhaus were in Argentina for a
couple weeks. Much of the trip involved research of new, research sensitive
material so I cannot go into full details here. Fieldwork was done in
Neuquen Province where a new theropod skeleton was found. It is still
largely uncollected, so it is not known how much is there. Phil feels it has
great potential. 3 days were spent digging. Found was the hips (really nice
pubes), hindlegs, feet scattered (lots of pedal phalanges), surangular,
manal ungual, caudal and dorsal vertebrae and ribs. The It is an
ALBERTOSARUS-sized animal, apparently something related to GIGANATOSAURUS.
Phil thinks it might be a brand new genus as it comes from a new
dinosaur-bearing formation Huincul Member of the Neuquen Formation). The
Allen Formation down there also holds great promise- lots of dino biota that
is similar to Late Cretaceous North American faunas. Phil did research with
Rudolfo Coria on the GIGANATOSARUS braincase paper and examined abeilisaurid
material. Visits, research and planning activites were also carried out with
Drs. Bonaparte and Novas, as well as visits to other museums. The
CARNOTAURUS braincase was recently reprepared and shows new details. Phil
and Eva report the sun is very hot and very intense down there. Apparently
the Argentinians are very aware and worried about the hole in the ozone
layer. Argentinians they encountered eat mostly meat and lots of it.
Vegetables were rarely seen. 

 8). PALEOBREED poem. One of you asked if you could post this on your
homepage. I could not reach you through your email address. It is O.K. for
you or anyone else out there to use this poem as long as I'm credited as the
author and told of your intentions in advance. I may post another poem
someday, but don't expect anything soon.

 9). There was a technician shakeup at Tyrrell. Jim McCabe who prepared
small vertebrates now does this and gallery maintenance. Kevin Aulenback
used to do paleobotany preparation, now he does large vertebrate preparation
only. Bob Campbell used to do invertebrate preparation, now he does that and
paleobotany preparation. All dinosaur program technician positions remain
the same.  

 10). New moulding compound. Ignore this if you are not interested in
moulding/casting. Lately we have tried a new dental moulding compound made
by Coltene/Whaledent Inc. 750 Corporate Drive, Malawah, New Jersey 07430.
 The box identifies the product as: Coltene President Jet, Light Body,
Polyvinylsiloxame (addition-type, low viscosity). The material comes in a
double-barelled syringe. A single, disposable dispensing tip is attached.
The inside of this tip has a helix-shaped plastic insert. When the plunger
is pushed, the two components spiral down the tip and mix properly. Green in
color and odorless, the mould cures in about 5 minutes and gives beautiful
surface details, as good as RTV rubber. It can mold wet/damp items. The
moulds do not last long however. After a few weeks to months, they crack in
half when forced. This moulding compound is perfect for quick moulding jobs.
One of our students even used it to mould crucial research specimens housed
in other institutions. Short on time, he was able to make 2-piece moulds of
entire bones in less than 15 minutes. He could then cast the mould here and
study same at his leisure. I don't know what this material costs. Again
Tyrrell Museum does not officially endorse this product- I provide this data
as a service to other paleontological technicians, fossil preparators and
scientists. I'd be pleased to learn from anyone reading this about any other
similar quick moulding rubber compounds they've tried.  

 BURGESS SHALE EXHIBIT. The design studio had an open house this afternoon
(March 7) and presented various models for the to be installed Burgess Shale
exhibit, which will end up occupying about 65% of the upper floor of the
Tyrrell Museum galleries. This promises to be exciting, with the Burgess
fauna enlarged 12 to 1. The models are being made by Chase Studios of
Missouri, USA.

 Thats it.

 

 
Darren Tanke
Technician I, Dinosaur Research Program
Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Box 7500
Drumheller, Alberta, Canada. T0J 0Y0
             and
Senior Editor on the:
Annotated Bibliography of Paleopathology, Dento-Osteopathy and Related Topics
11,364 citations as of March 7, 1997.
Visit our bibliography homepage at: http://dns.magtech.ab.ca/dtanke
Can you help with this ongoing project? Email me at: dtanke@dns.magtech.ab.ca