Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mystery dinosaur quarry project/scow trip

As many of you may know, here in Alberta I look for lost dinosaur quarries and identify mystery dinosaur quarries using trash left behind by field workers long ago plus any bones left on site. A lot of quarries were never properly documented as to provenance so current paleontologists cannot know exactly (spatially and especially stratigraphically) where a given dinosaur skull or skeleton came from. This is especially true for quarries in the extensive badlands upstream from Drumheller. During the scow trip I hope to relocate some lost dinosaur quarries and mystery quarries and try to resolve who was there, when, and what was taken out. Recently a contact sent me pictures of an old dinosaur quarry he found near the Morrin Bridge where part of a hadrosaur (duck-billed dinosaur) tail (top picture) and newspaper was left behind long ago. You can see the newspaper in the attached picture that much of it is still there- more than enough to figure out the who and when part of the mystery. For example, if it is a New York Times newspaper from August 15, 1912, then we know it is a hadrosaur likely collected by the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) later in their 1912 field season. A perusal of the 1912 AMNH specimen lists and process of elimination soon identifies what came out of the quarry and its mystery status is resolved. Precise locality data can then be shared with the institution curating the fossil. Click on the newspaper image one or two times to enlarge it and you can still plainly read the newsprint. I plan on collecting and examining this newspaper in detail during the scow trip so will report my results this summer.


  1. Robert Bird rmckbird@earthlink.netJune 28, 2010 at 10:03 AM

    Fine detective work. If enough contiguous text is found, you might find where it came from by Googling. The NY Times has considerable old text online, as some others may also.

    I am doing a bit of this sort of research for some of my uncle's work. I have, I think, located where R.T. Bird found his first fossil, Stanocephalosaurus birdi, to beside a small butte at 34.9336° N, 110.8038° W.

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