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Re: On Names and topicallity...& more
I must confess I was pulled up to and then past the event horizon of this
singularity of off topic irrelevance, and hereby apologize for the total
waste of time. The force was just too strong to oppose, and it lead me to
respond as if there was a straw of factualness to grasp. While indeed there
may have been some filament of truth embedded in the notion, there was no
connection with the dimension we exist in here, on either end. Again I am
sorry for contributing to this mobius loop.
In a feeble effort to make up for the past I have some interesting data to
Last Thursday Dr. Sroka and I had the opportunity to visit with a rancher
that owns land that borders the land where "Sue" was found. Less than 10
miles north of the little town of Faith, South Dakota. Aside from making a
friend and contact we got to search out his exposures of the Hell Creek.
No, we didn't find another Tyrannosaurus rex, or even a shed tooth. However
we did get to study the geology and depositional traits of the region.
This area is quite different that the Grand River basin in which we do most
of our work in that there seems to have been much less energy involved at
the time of sedimentation. We notice frequent and extreme cross bedding of
the deposits in our area and down there we saw little of this. Given the
limited time and area we studied this may be a local pattern that won't
hold up under a more complete investigation. If however this is the general
pattern for the area it might well explain why "Sue" was so complete. With
little high energy deposition forces to act on the bones they had a chance
to fossilize without being scattered by fast moving water. I do not have
access to the depositional data, but very near where we looked exists an
Edmontosaur bonebed, known as the "Ruth Mason" quarry, which could shoot
our observations in the foot. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Edmontosaurs
are deposited there. From what I understand of monospecific mass mortality
sites within the Hell Creek there is usually a high energy environment
required. Of course this could be a very rare event that caught the
unfortunate Edmontosaurs off guard. Again, without access to that data it's
Did we see dinosaur fossils during this limited survey? Yes! Most of the
better fossils we did see occurred in the lower segments of the formation.
Those higher up and younger deposits seemed to be reworked fragments. The
older rock we looked at seemed to be holding much better material.
We found an isolated pair of Ankylosaur scutes. Both are 3-4 inches in
length and preserved well. Also we found abundant turtle shell fragments,
part of a Triceratops frill, some siderite encased bone of unknown type, (
my opinion was Hadrosaur ) and the distal end of a femur from some small
theropod. These were all collected from the surface, as we did no digging
In the South Dakota winter there is bloody little good daylight for
searching for fossils per day, thanks to the extreme angle of the sun and
the short time it is overhead. Still, we have been lucky in that our fall
has been extraordinarily mild. We've had many clear and warm sunny days up
until this weekend, and it is -22°F as I type this with a thin layer of dry
snow covering the ground. So, All field expeditions have ended until
spring, and preparing bone in the lab will fill my days.
Comments and observations welcomed. Input invited!
Roger A. Stephenson
The Grand River Museum
Lemmon, South Dakota