Work has been progessing at the Hanksville-Burpee Quarry. Just a reminder, the quarry is a giant late Jurassic Period (147-150 million years ago) dinosaur bonebed. It is found within the world famous Morrison Formation. Dinosaurs like Apatosaurus (aka Brontosaurus), Camarasaurus, Diplodocus and the theropod (meat-eater), Allosaurus are found in this formation. The formation represents fluvial (river) deposits. When rivers and streams flooded, this allowed dinosaur carcasses to be buried quickly. Geology lesson aside, we spend up work once we had more help.
Now that Dr. Matt Bonnan and his students from Western Illinois University have been at the quarry more discoveries have been made everyday. In the last three days at least 20 new bones have been discovered including Barosaurus cervical (neck) vertebra, a new scapula (shoulder blade) and what might be a partially articulated Allosaurus vertebral column.
One particular find was made by Burpee Volunteers; Andy and Tammy Prell. Andy and Tammy have several years of field work experience, first completing two field seasons with Dr. Thomas Carr, Carthage College in the Hell Creek Formation of southeastern Montana and then last year with Burpee. Andy spent three days working on pedestalling one of the big scapulae and Tammy found a very large thoracic (chest) rib. This rib was missing its distal (bottom) half, but had a huge rib head. I would estimate that this rib if complete would be about seven feet in length. This means that this dinosaur would have an enormous, barrel chest. In addition to these finds ….one of the WIU Students, Megan Luczak found a very interesting bone. I have my suspicions, but it needs to be prepped more. Once I know more….so will you! Stay tuned.