Hello! I’m Brittney Stoneburg, the Marketing and Events Specialist for the Western Science Center. While my job mostly entails communications and outreach at the museum, I’ve spent the last year dipping my toes into research!
Last week for Fossil Friday, I posted the sacrum of a ceratopsid, a large horned dinosaur related to Triceratops. The sacrum is a series of fused vertebrae to which the hip bones attach. Today, I want to show you one of those hip bones from the same ceratopsid individual.
Horned dinosaurs were one of the most successful groups of dinosaurs in the Late Cretaceous of western North America. Known as ceratopsids, these rhino- to elephant-sized beasts brandished horns, spikes, and frills on their massive skulls.
Over the last year or so, I’ve posted many bones from large herbivorous dinosaurs that lived in New Mexico around 79 million years ago, such as duck-billed hadrosaurs, horned ceratopsids, and the armored Invictarx.
On March 8 Fossil Friday, I posted an 80-million-year-old dinosaur bone from New Mexico, which I identified as a tibia (shin bone). At the time, it was only partially prepped, and since then, WSC volunteer Joe Reavis has been working tirelessly to remove the remaining mudstone.
“Max’s Minions” is the informal name for WSC’s junior research volunteer program. The Minions perform a variety of lab duties for us, including 3D scanning, molding and casting, skinning carcasses for our dermestid colony, preparing fossils, and other tasks. Several of them are also working on their own research projects. Continue reading
Last week Cogstone Resource Management (http://www.cogstone.com) delivered a collection of Pleistocene deposits from Ventura County to the Western Science Center. This included a number of both vertebrate and invertebrate fossils. Continue reading
The big news this week for Western Science Center was the naming of a new species of mastodon, Mammut pacificus. Continue reading
We have discovered many isolated dinosaur limb bones in the Upper Cretaceous Menefee Formation of New Mexico. Although it’s difficult to infer the full appearance of a dinosaur from a single bone, even isolated bones can tell us a great deal about what kinds of dinosaurs were roaming around 80 million years ago, and can be very surprising!
This bone was collected by my colleagues at the Zuni Dinosaur Institute for Geosciences and volunteers with the Southwest Paleontological Society in 2015. We have been thinking that it was possibly two dinosaur limb bones next to each other. However, Western Science Center volunteer Joe Reavis opened up the plaster jacket this week, and it turns out that it contains a single massive shin bone, a tibia. The bone is still partially encased in mudstone, but we’ll keep working on it to determine what sort of dinosaur walked around on this immensely thick bone.
Post by Curator Dr. Andrew McDonald.