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Re: The (long) future of paleontology
How are you guys getting your hands so bloody? Did I miss something
the one day I was absent in grad school? Now hitting my thumb with a
hammer......just now getting the black nail off my left thumb from last
season. No bloody hands for the last several seasons. Take it from
me, wear those safety glasses though! ;-)
Most serious Hell Creek collectors had a sand box when they were kids
and just never grew up. Dirt under the finger nails is a necessity for
a successful day on a HC microsite.
I am going to start to use short wave UV light to look for the glint of
enamel on teeth out on the outcrop at night. I haven't tried it yet
but have the high intensity spot already acquired. The apparatus is a
very high powered spot light used in the welding industry to look for
bad welds (with a dye). I know it will work on ant hills to find mammal
teeth (it works in my living room quite well. Teeth stand out like
sore thumbs against the rest of the sand in short UV. This spring will
tell me about the practicality of the technique in the field. I have
to bring a small generator along on an ATV so I am slightly limited to
my access because of the equipment. This particular high tech item may
work in this particular location if you are just looking for teeth.
Bones still are going to take the same old low tech approach as they
are pretty much black under the UV.
The fossils from my ranch are not radioactive either but I have been
given some Hell Creek dinosaur bone scraps from near Jordan Montana
that are essentially nuclear waste. They are literally a source of
x-rays which will penetrate building walls (according to my geiger
counter). For those of you that keep dinosaur bones around your homes,
consider that you might be putting radon into the air of your home from
your fossil trophies. I keep those bones outside in plastic. I would
suggest checking them especially if your kids are around them. I am
sure that there are some Lane cabinets in various museums around the
country that should not be sat upon (as it would probably compromise
your reproductive capacity.)
Jurassic Park showed a seismic thumper finding a raptor so Hollywood is
sold on remote sensing but I think high tech's practicality is limited
to the big screen and perhaps the dry sieve screen in my case.
Frank (Rooster) Bliss
On Jan 16, 2006, at 1:00 PM, Andrew Milner wrote:
I don't know Dann ... not getting our hand dirty and bloody sure would
take the fun out of it. Field work is one of the best parts of
paleontology in my opinion.
Andrew R. C. Milner
St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm
2180 East Riverside Drive
St. George, Utah 84790
Tracksite Phone: (435) 574-DINO (3466)
Cell: (435) 705-0173
Tracksite Fax: (435) 627-0340
Home: (435) 477-9467
"There is no branch of detective science which is so important and so
much neglected as the art of tracing footsteps" -- Sir Arthur Conan
----- Original Message ----- From: "Dann Pigdon"
To: "DML" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, January 13, 2006 4:34 PM
Subject: Re: The (long) future of paleontology
Cliff Green wrote:
I don't know about the rest of the world, but here in Utah, the
of unretrieved fossil material is staggering. I can't even begin to
how many decades or centuries it would take to dig up and discribe
the quarrys just here in Eastern Utah.
That's assuming of course that digging will still be required in the
future. Subsurface remote sensing techniques may well become accurate
and precise enough to never have to get your hands dirty (or bloody)
Of course, such technology won't be perfected to this degree for a
(despite the opening sequences of Jurassic Park, which seemed to show
some sort of sonic device rather than the 'ground penetrating radar'
mentioned in the dialogue).
GIS / Archaeologist http://heretichides.soffiles.com
Melbourne, Australia http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs