On May 17, I posted a photo of the ilium of a ceratopsid dinosaur that we collected in the Upper Cretaceous Menefee Formation of New Mexico. At the time, only the medial surface of the bone was visible; however, WSC volunteer Joe Reavis has been working hard and has now prepped the lateral surface as well. On May 17, I identified the bone as a left ilium, but now that I can see the whole thing, I can say that it’s actually a right ilium.
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.
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.
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.
In the Western Science Center lab, we’re making steady progress through several field seasons’ worth of fossils from the Menefee Formation in New Mexico. We’re working on fossils of dinosaurs, crocodiles, turtles, and plants, all dating to around 80 million years ago.
On January 25, I showed you a horned dinosaur vertebra that was still partially encased in its plaster field jacket. Continue reading
Identifying fossil bones can be quite the challenge. Fossils might be broken, scattered, or distorted from the weight of the rock encasing them. This dinosaur bone was collected in June 2018 by the Western Science Center, Zuni Dinosaur Institute for Geosciences, and Southwest Paleontological Society in the Menefee Formation of New Mexico. We know from other bones collected in the same spot that we are dealing with the 79-million-year-old partial skeleton of a ceratopsid, one of the large horned dinosaurs related to Triceratops. Continue reading
Discovering a dinosaur skeleton is a rare and special event.
The fossil prep lab at Western Science Center is abuzz these days (literally, when the air scribes are blasting away). WSC staff and volunteers are working their way through the half-ton of fossils we brought back to the museum last summer from the Upper Cretaceous Menefee Formation of New Mexico. Continue reading