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Dinosaur Dreaming Report 2004

Flat Rocks Site Report

Another 10 mammal jaw fragments were discovered this year in the EK
deposits at Flat Rocks (Inverloch, Australia), as well as an isolated
tooth. This brings the total to 33 specimens over the last 11 years
(almost a third of them found in 2004). Of this years haul; 4 are
attributed to Teinolophos trusleri, 2 Bishops whitmorei, 1 may be a new
species of Ausktribosphenos (larger than A.nyktos), 1 is unknown (but
similar to something found in 2001), and 1 may be from a
multituberculate (the first such evidence from Australia). I know -
that leaves 1 unaccounted for; but hey, I didn't write the site report.

With the emphasis on mammals (and what a surprise - Tom Rich did his PhD
thesis on Mesozoic mammals), perhaps they should start calling it the
"Mammal Dreaming Project" instead. But seriously; it's good to see that
not all Mesozoic research is aimed at dinosaurs (theropods in
particular), despite what the media would have us think.

As usual, lots more 'shoulder bones' were discovered. These are
unidentifiable fragments that tend to be thrown over the shoulder for
later examination. The following table represents the undiagnostic 2004

Fish scale       5                 2
Fish jaw         2                 0
Fish             74                59
Ossicles         4                 8
Turtle           63                33
Ossified tendons 1                 1
Dinosaur         9                 11

Only around 800 individual finds were recovered this year, as opposed to
the 1000+ in previous seasons. A new section of the fossil layer was
investigated this year, which initially proved to be poor in fossil
content. The choice was to abandon this section, and risk finding none
at all elsewhere, or continue to see if it improved. They took a risk
and moved to a new section half way through the season, which payed off
as it proved richer in fossil material (and yielded three more mammal 

And what of dinosaurs? Plenty more hypsilophodontid fragments, including
a femur and a fused section of (possibly caudal) vertebrae. Three hypsie
lower jaws were recovered, one robust specimen may be another
Qantassaurus. A number of very small elements were recovered that may be
from juvenile animals.

Other material includes a plesiosaur tooth, possible pterosaur teeth,
and some small (possibly theropod) teeth that lack serrations. Tom Rich
and Steven Salisbury (of Qld Uni) have recently studied around 100
theropod teeth from Flat Rocks, and have come to the conclusion that at
least 3 distinct types were present.

The excavation was 'pestered' by numerous film crews, including one for
the up-coming documentary 'The Terrible Lizards of Oz'. And there was
plenty of drama to be captured. A rockfall near one of the cryoturbation
sites dumped around 20 tonnes of rock overnight, including some
car-sized boulders. Only the day before Tom Rich had been showing the
cryoturbation site to the director of the Museum of Victoria, Patrick
Green. Now there's a way to end a career - getting your boss squashed
flat by tonnes of rock...


Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist         http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia        http://heretichides.ravencommunity.net/