Claw Bones in Prep

The field expedition to the Mussentuchit and the Crystal Geyser Quarry in Utah was a success.  Sometimes spending three weeks together with the same small group of people can be questionable.  One person can ruin the entire mood.  This was not one of those trips and I am happy to say that many specimens were collected and brought safely back to the museum for preparation.

I think you found a claw Alex (Juarez). Bring it back to the Lab for preparation

The first task was to  determine which specimens should be placed at the top of the preparation list.  The three unguals collected at the crystal geyser quarry were selected as highest priority.  One of them will be molded and cast as a thank you to our rockethub feulers.

Nice find. Too bad it is missing the tip

Chomp or be Chomped, Part II

Research & Collections

Lisa Schultz is bursting at the seams with excitement when we walk into Siemens Training and Development Center in Cary with our box of fossils.  Since early morning, she’s been in this room testing the CT-scanner’s capabilities with a material that is quite a bit different than your average human body—a rock.  Lisa’s “patient” is not just any rock, but a rather pretty hand-sized specimen with veins of crystalline quartz that her daughter found outside a couple of days before our visit.  “Try this out mom,” she told her as she handed it over.

I met Lisa and the other incredible folks at Seimens this past March, when I came to “Take Your Kids to Work Day” to talk about new research on dinosaur fossils (my day job).  After my presentation, Lisa pulled me aside and told me about a new dual energy scanner that the Center had, with a…

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Chomp or Be Chomped, Part I

Research & Collections

With one of the most powerful bites on the planet, crocodiles reign as the king of chomp.

Scientists from Florida State University have measured the force of a crocodile bite at nearly 3,700 pounds.  That’s a little less than the weight of a Dodge Charger balanced on a number 2 pencil.

But if there’s one natural law even a croc can’t break, it’s eat or be eaten….

Two months ago I got the itch to go exploring (a chronic disease-process for paleontologists).  Lucky for me, my colleague and long time curator of paleontology Vince Schneider had a fix.  He was planning a day trip to hunt for the remains of ancient animals that lived and died in the lakes of North Carolina during the Triassic Period, some of which looked a heck of a lot like modern crocodiles.

After assembling a team of paleontologists and volunteers, we hit the…

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After

Well, it’s that time.

End of Expedition time.

Since we started with a “before” shot.  We figured we’d post the “after” shot.

Here’s the crew after three weeks without a shower.  Ugh.

We pulled the last jacket, packed up camp, one more photo and its time to go home!

Fry an Egg?

Its so hot here that the team got the idea to test the old adage (hypothesis??): “It’s hot enough to fry an egg…”

Hey, we are scientists after all.

After a hearty debate about whether to use a black slab of ironized sandstone or one of our metal tools (I voted for the former for purity sake, but the tools were in fact burning our hands…). We gave it a go.

Setting up our experiment: release the egg!
The die has been cast.
The results are in.

Well, after letting our experiment run for about an hour, we collected our data.

Our conclusion.  It’s darn hot, probably hot enough to fry an egg.  Only problem?  Its even dryer than hot!!  (We probably should have guessed this).  Our egg dehydrated before it could fry.

Isn’t science great?