Diplodocid ilium

It’s funny how fossil preparation works sometimes. You can have two fragments that you’ve tried to fit together over and over without success, and suddenly they just fit. That’s what happened with the diplodocid left ilium (hip) shown above. This bone was collected in a single jacket, but the bone was pretty fragmented (this is medial view, so the opposite side from the image at top):

Here’s a view of the lateral side during preparation. On the lower left side of the jacket you can see that some of the bone is offset (maybe a small structural fault running across the bone?):

This offset portion ended up causing me all kinds of problems. It took some time to get all the fragments put back together, but then I couldn’t get the reconstructed offset piece reattached to the main part of the ilium. My volunteers and I literally worked on this piece on-and-off for months, trying all kinds of different positions without success.

Last week I was lamenting that I was going to just have to give up and put the bone away; I need the sandbox for other specimens and the ilium was causing projects to pile up. While I was talking about this I was idly trying to fit the fragment in place, not really paying close attention to it, and *click* – it fit. Often when you finally get two fragments correctly aligned, you can feel them lock into place. At last, we’re finally ready to move this bone out of the lab!

It turns out that the top half or so of the ilium was not preserved, as you can see by comparing the image at the top of the page to the one below. Even so, this is a nice specimen, for which we also have the pubes and ischia, as well as some of the sacral vertebrae.


On a housekeeping note, I’ve added a search field to the home page and the archive page, that will search all the text on this site. This was something several readers have suggested to me, and I think it will make the archives much more useable. So, if you have additional suggestions for how to improve the site, please keep them coming!

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5 Responses to Diplodocid ilium

  1. 220mya says:

    Oh no – is that paleobond accelerator that I see in one photo? Evil stuff and generally unnecessary stuff to be sure!

  2. Doug says:

    Funny how things work out like that. Would be cool to see the what you got put together.

    PS: I have a blog now. Nothing spectacular but it suits me. Just follow the link in my name.

  3. Alton Dooley says:

    As with most things, Paleobond has its uses, although it’s not a panacea for all things paleontological; it’s lousy as a hardener, for example. But it has certainly saved a few of my specimens that were on the verge of being lost.

    Congratulations on the new blog, Doug! I’ll add the RSS feed on my next update.

  4. 220mya says:

    Sorry – I should clarify my comment. I’m perfectly happy with judicious use of paleobond and other cyanoacrylates – sometimes nothing else will work. Its the accelerator I abhor. Often turns specimens a horrid green, and the occasion where it is necessary is very very rare. In most cases you can let it set up on its own by holding the two pieces or using a sand-box. Plus, any accelerator forms a weaker bond then letting the glue set-up on its own.

  5. Alton Dooley says:

    Yeah, that green thing is a big problem. I’ve never been able to figure a pattern for when that occurs, but it seems to be worse if there’s still sediment on the bone (of course, if you can clean the bone thoroughly, why do you need accelerator in the first place?). The squirt bottles available now help a bit, because you have a lot more control that the aerosol cans and you don’t blast the whole bone. It doesn’t do anything about the weakened bond you get with the accelerator, though (I’ve seen that too).

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