Dinosaur femur update

2011-03-02aI was shocked to discover that it has been over a year since I last mentioned the sauropod femur sitting in my lab. In fact, since I first announced that we had opened the jacket, I haven’t done a single blog entry on this specimen. Admittedly, preparing this bone hasn’t been a high priority for me, with my lab filling up with whales and plants. But we have done some work on it. with various volunteers cleaning various bits and pieces.

This week, high school student Courtland Lyle from The Steward School has been interning in the lab, and he’s taken a shot at this femur. The femoral head (the projection on the left, near the paintbrush) was encased in a huge mass of gypsum. Removing it has been complicated by the condition of the bone, which is in pretty rough shape on the surface. Even so, Courtland has so far been able to remove about 2/3 of the gypsum around the femoral head. I think we’re not too far from completing the posterior side of this bone and flipping it.

I’m still not sure what taxon this femur represents, but to my relatively untrained eye Diplodocus seems to be pretty close. If any sauropod workers are reading this, feel free to jump in and correct me.

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5 Responses to Dinosaur femur update

  1. Brooke H. says:

    You wouldn’t leave a dinosaur just lying around for a long time, would you?

  2. Alton Dooley says:

    Well, it IS just a dinosaur…

    It took me awhile to decide how I wanted to deal with the gypsum, as I was worried that we would damage the femoral head trying to remove it (the gypsum, not the head). As it turned out, I couldn’t think of a better way than just diving in, and so far it’s worked pretty well, although there are still a few patches that are going to be a little dicey.

  3. Doug says:

    I found that caliche can be a pain in the butt too.

    Hey Alton, can you take a look at a couple pictures? It’s the 3 newest pictures, 22, 23, 24: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jobaria . what do you think that might be?

  4. Alton Dooley says:


    hard to tell without a scale, but they look a bit like phalanges.

  5. Doug says:

    Sorry you may have looked at the wrong photos ( i had added some more later in the day). This is the bone in question:

    I would say it’s at least 4 or 5 inches long

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