Tag Archives: paleontology

Whispers of Flit Canyon

There is a strange juxtaposition as one stares at the Book Cliffs.  They look so small in the distance,  five miles away.  Yet at their feet you feel so small staring up the five hundred foot edifice.

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The dinosaurs we are hunting lie at the top of the cliffs with a confusing labrynth of roads criss-crossing the valley and only one leading to the top.

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After provisioning in Grand Junction,  Colorado we headed out toward the Book Cliffs for the night.  Tonight we are sitting by the camp fire between Green River and Grand Junction on our way to western utah near a lake narry looked at by paleontologists for dinosaurs.

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Visit tomorrow for pictures of our next field site.

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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?