Last week for Fossil Friday, we posted about a big plaster jacket packed full of 80-million-year-old hadrosaur bones, which we brought back to the Western Science Center from New Mexico in June.
Volunteer Joe Reavis has been working very diligently on removing the rock from the large but quite fragile bones. Every week brings more progress and greater understanding of which parts of the animal are actually present.
Since last Friday, Joe has separated the two forearm bones from the scapula. It was all hands on deck earlier this week as we carefully lifted the two forearm bones away from the jacket, leaving the scapula completely intact. Last week, I identified the two long forearm bones as the left and right radii (https://valleyofthemastodon.wordpress.com/2018/09/21/fossil-friday-hadrosaur-bones/#more-1697). However, one of them is not a radius after all, but is instead an ulna, the other long bone in the forearm.
Finding fossils in the field is not the end-all and be-all of discovery. Instead, it’s only the first step. As we continue to clean the bones of this hadrosaur skeleton, we will refine the identities of the preserved bones and eventually start to investigate what kind of hadrosaur we have sitting in our lab.
Post by Curator Dr. Andrew McDonald.