Wyoming Day 8

The weather was beautiful today, and we made the most of it; 10 straight hours at the site. We accomplished a huge amount in that time, although it doesn’t really show in the photographs. Much of our effort was directed at isolating one of the two vertebrae we’ve found so far (above). This sounds like a simple task, but it’s made more difficult because of the tight spacing of the bones. As can be seen in this image from my field notes, the vertebra is sandwiched on two sides by the possible tibia and another vertebra, and underneath by a rib:

Moreover, the dorsal part of the vertebra is still a bit confusing. While at least part of the bone appears to be neural spine, I can’t tell if it has been rotated relative to the centrum or not. That has made it difficult to predict exactly where the bone is going, which slows down the process of trenching the bone for making a jacket. Then, just for some additional fun, we had several small bones that had to be removed before we could even get to these easily (they’ve already been removed in the image above).

Even with all these difficulties, by the end of the day we had mostly completed a trench around the vertebra. If the weather holds (it’s supposed to rain tonight), tomorrow morning we’ll begin undercutting and hopefully have this bone removed by tomorrow afternoon.

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