Scapulocoracoid update

A few weeks ago we successfully flipped over our large diplodocid scapulocoracoid. We had to spend some time removing the gauze that had been used to help keep everything in place, as well as removing the glue that had been applied to the bone for the same purpose. We’ve now completed those steps, and we’ve moved on to removing the sediment that is still adhering to this side of the bone and repairing breaks.

We arbitrarily decided to start at the front, on the coracoid (the right end in this picture), and work our way back. The dark area of bone in the lower right is coracoid that has been cleaned, with all the sediment removed. The brown semicircle along the right edge is sediment that is still on the bone. You can see that there are some areas (such as the center of the bone) that have very little sediment on them, even though we haven’t cleaned those areas yet. These are areas in which the sediment was removed in the field before the jacket was made (we try not to bring back any more sediment than necessary – it just makes the jackets heavier).

Once we’ve completely cleaned this side of the bone, we’ll apply glues and fillers to help hold together any broken pieces, and then make the other half of the permanent storage jacket.


So far, I’ve had to twice postpone out fall Carmel Church excavation. It looks like we’re finally going to get out into the field starting this Friday. As usual I’ll be posting regular updates on the progress of our excavation.

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8 Responses to Scapulocoracoid update

  1. Nick Gardner says:

    What locality is your scapulocoracoid from? 🙂

  2. Alton Dooley says:

    It’s from near Shell, WY, near one of Barnum Brown’s localities (the Nickapod site).

  3. kdegnan says:

    You know, they’re calling for the rain to continue through Friday morning here in Hanover. It’s gonna be a mess at the site! The local meteorologists are calling for a total of 5 – 7 inches before its over.

  4. Alton Dooley says:

    I’m heading up anyway, just to see if there’s any hope for getting in there. With any luck we can start digging on Saturday, but if not, that’s just the way it goes sometimes.

  5. Nick Gardner says:

    Cool! But at the same time, too bad. I was almost fooled into thinking this had been pulled out of a locality in VA or MD…. 😦

  6. Alton Dooley says:

    I wish!

    So far, the only dinosaur remains known from Virginia are tra

  7. Doug says:

    Yeah interesting how dinosaurs are so rare over there. I know a few fossils have been found here and there. I wonder why that is.

  8. Alton Dooley says:

    At least for Virginia, there are almost no rocks from the Mesozoic. After the uplift of the Appalachians in the Pennsylvanian-Permian (and earlier events in the Devonian and Ordovician), Virginia was essentially all highlands, and thus erosional, and has been up to the present day. You need deposition to preserve fossils.

    Nearly all the post-Paleozoic fossils in Virginia come from the Coastal Plain (eastern third of Virginia), which has been periodically covered by the Atlantic Ocean since the Cretaceous. But that’s all marine, and the Cretaceous sediments are mostly subsurface.

    In the mountains you do get caves and sinkholes. Some of these have produced fossils in Virginia, but they’ve all been Pleistocene (Gray Fossil Site in Tennessee is Miocene-Pliocene).

    There are also lake deposits, but lakes are rare in Virginia; I think there are only 2 modern natural lakes here (and one, Mountain Lake, is ephemeral). Saltville was a lake in the Pleistocene, and a lot of fossils have been found there. During the Triassic, as Pangea rifted to form the Atlantic Ocean, the rift valleys filled with water to form lakes. The four biggest ones in Virginia were the Richmond, Taylorsville, Culpeper, and Danville Basins. All have produces numerous fossils including reptiles (Solite is in the Danville Basin), and all have produced dinosaur trackways, but none have produced dinosaur bones yet. Dinosaur bones have been found in some of the other Triassic basins in other states, but not here-bad luck!

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