Tuesday, December 18, 2007

So thaaaaaat's what that is...

Many of you have visited this blog, looked long and hard at pictures of red fossils in red dirt and been understandably confused. Which past is the fossil, and which part is the mud?

Believe me, it can be just as hard to tell when you're eyeball to eyeball with it.

We've tried to combat this problem by using arrows, text on the image and sometimes ridiculously detailed (but hopefully vivid) descriptions. Dr. Bakker's just sent an image that helps make the leap from just-a-rock to living creature:




(c) Robert T. Bakker.

Here, Dr. Bakker has drawn the left foot of a Dimetrodon. All the various parts are labeled. Note the bone represented as almost entirely white (second digit from the left). The next two images show a fossil of this specific bone.


This Dimetrodon toe bone was discovered in the plaster jacket the team brought back from the site. The jacket is being excavated at The Woodlands Xploration Station.


Another image of the Dimetrodon toe bone, which gives it's specific size. From this, you can imagine how large the entire foot would be, as well as the full animal.


They've also uncovered what looks like another full fin spine. Since they are digging from the bottom of the layer towards what was the surface, it's a very nice surprise to find so many associated fossils.




You can see the spine running along the bottom of this image, parallel to the measuring tape. To the right of the image, the spine looks as though it continues under the dirt. Continued excavation with help determine how much of this spine has been preserved.


Technorati tags: museum, fossil, paleontology

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

This just in...

Or rather, out. And in to the world for the first time in 250 million years.

As we've previously shared, one of the plaster jackets holding fossils excavated from the Museum's site in Seymour is currently being housed at The Woodlands Xploration Station, an educational satellite of HMNS.

Dr. Bakker, David, Chris and Heather, a new volunteer at the Xploration Station, have all been working to excavate inside the jacket and figure out just what they brought back.

New Xploration Station Volunteer Heather Conklin works on excavating one of the plaster jackets brought back from Seymour. For the Conklins, science is a family affair.

Due to the jacketing process, they're actually digging from the bottom back up to the original surface of hte layer. The bones that they found closer to the surface in Seymour are actually at the bottom of this jacket. So no one knew if the dirt underneath (what they are digging now) would have a bunch of bones, or...nothing at all.

Just because they're not in the field doesn't mean they're any less meticulous about how and where each bone is discovered. According to Chris:

"We’ve slowly been removing matrix (dirt) exposing the bones and mapping their position; this includes taking pictures, and mapping them by finding compass direction and dip angle. Then we remove and package them for protection. A lot of the bones have been badly chewed and worn, suggesting that the level we are working on could possibly hold the remains of a Permian dinner. Two teeth have been found at this level, which supports that theory. After all the bones of the top level of the jacket were removed, there has been a lull in bone discovery in the next 10 to 20 millimeters. We have yet to reach a secondary bone level."


This claw may be from a Dimetrodon.


This Dimetrodon neural spine has been covered with a coat of vinac to protect it.

A small, unidentified vertebra.

This tiny, serrated tooth might be from a Dimetrodon.

They've also made some cool discoveries by going through what they bagged from the surface and excavations.

For example, someone might have a hunch a piece of rock is really something more - but you can't really figure it out in the field. So, they stick it in a bag, protect it with some foil if necessary, mark the bag with the name of the locality and move on. Also, when you're excavating a layer, you sometimes have to remove fossils in order to keep digging.

Now that the team has had some time to get all those pieces back out and look through them again, they've made a cool discovery.

The picture above shows two pieces of an Eryops bone. The larger half, in the foreground, was picked up in Seymour and then prepped out in Houston by David (a process by which he removed all the caliche and other material covering the fossil). He was showing it to Dr. Bakker, who happened to be looking through a bag of bone pieces from the same locality. While sorting through the bag, they found what looks to be the other half! (Shown in the background of the photo).

They left the other half un-prepped to illustrate the difference between fossils as they are found (the background) and as they look once prepared for display (foreground). You can see the difference in the level of detail that is evident in the prepped half.

The root of a Dimetrodon fang, as seen from the top.

The entire Dimetrodon fang that was found.

***If you're new to the blog, be sure to check out all the links at right. You can follow daily reports from the last dig, in early November, and learn all about the various species the team is finding fossils of. Lots of Dr. Bakker's illustrations and photos are posted, as well.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Neal Immega - A Permian Pool Table?

Did I discover a Permian pool table near the Dimetrodon dig site?

Let's do some investigation and see what answers can be found. Hundreds of two-inch spheres are concentrated in an area with a radius of about 100 feet.

Sandstone spheres all over the ground. A GPS device is present for scale.

A closeup view of several of the spheres.

When you look closely at just one of the spheres, you see that they are made up of sandstone and a few of them show inclined bedding planes (or layers), of the type that are found in rivers.

Geologists have characterized sandstone deposition in many environments. Beaches produce cross-bedding with an angle of about 5 degrees. Dunes are very different, because the grains are wind-blown and thus have cross-bedding of about 30 degrees.

Ripples in rivers have cross-bedding that are between these two extremes, which is why I predict that these sands (in the spheres seen above) are from a river deposit. This prediction is consistent with the oxidized red sands and shales that typically form in a desert environment.

What is inside of them? I could break some open, but I do not need to. A naturally broken and weathered surface (as seen in the close-up above) frequently shows more detail than a fresh break.

This is a photograph of one of the broken spheres showing rings of an iron mineral called goethite (hydrated iron oxide). We have enough information to make an interpretation.

Recall my previous entry on the spotted sandstone. In that case a bit of rotting organic matter reduced the iron in the rock to form a green spot.

The rock spheres at this site are caused by a bit of organic material that changes the chemistry of the water in the sandstone, causing precipitation of iron minerals. The banding is called Liesegang and you can read all about them by putting in “liesegang rings” into Google.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Utah ATV riders aren't the only ones making tracks

You don't have to be a guy with a lab coat and a bubbling Bunsen burner have a Eureka! moment. Apparently, you don't even really have to be looking.

Today, the AP reported that several ATV riders discovered a sandstone dinosaur trackway in southern Utah - by riding over it.

According to the story, the site has an extraordinarily large concentration of footprints:

"The tracks were laid down across dozens of layers of rock, revealing a geologic record like the pages from a book. They include tracks of a sharp-toothed and clawed carnivore, a three-toed crocodile and a large plant-eating species."

Like the coprolites found at the Museum's site in Seymour, these footprints are another kind of trace fossil that helps scientists figure out prehistoric behavior.

The site is now closed to protect the trackway.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Naomi, Giselle...Dracorex?

(c) Dr. Robert Bakker


That's right - Dracorex hogwartsia joins the cover-model ranks of Giselle, Naomi and Kate in the December issue of National Geographic.

Dr. Bakker was the lead paleontologist on the paper that described this new species, and gave it that fabulously evocative name: Dracorex hogwartsia, literally “The Hogwartsian Dragon King.”

(Dracorex comes from the Latin word draco, for dragon, and rex, for king. Hogwarts is the name of the fictional school of magic that Harry Potter attends in the ubiquitous series of books and movies.)

It's part of a fascinating National Geographic cover story about "Extreme Dinosaurs" - represented by fossils of several new species flaunting huge spikes all over their bodies, bizarre double rows of fins along their backs or strangely elongated hands that recall the fingernail people always popping up in the Guinness Book of World Records. And the same question applies - why? How do they possibly function like that? Check out this link for photos, illustrated reconstructions and fascinating theories.

The nearly complete pachycephalosaur skull was discovered in 2003 and excavated by amateur paleontologists Steve Saulsbury, Patrick Saulsbury and Brian Buckmeier in the Late Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation of South Dakota. It was later donated to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

So, does the name fit? What do you think these dinosaurs used all their funky features for?

And for all you Harry Potter fans, here's what J.K. Rowling had to say back in 2006, when the name was announced:

“The naming of Dracorex hogwartsia is easily the most unexpected honor to have come my way since the publication of the Harry Potter books! I am absolutely thrilled to think that Hogwarts has made a small (claw?) mark upon the fascinating world of dinosaurs. I happen to know more on the subject of paleontology than many might credit, because my eldest daughter was Utahraptor-obsessed and I am now living with a passionate Tyrannosaurus rex-lover, aged three. My credibility has soared within my science-loving family, and I am very much looking forward to reading Dr. Bakker’s paper describing ‘my’ dinosaur, which I can’t help visualizing as a slightly less pyromaniac Hungarian Horntail.”

Monday, November 19, 2007

What's in that jacket?

In case you're wondering what's in those jackets the team brought back from Seymour, but you couldn't make it to Dino BONE-anza! at The Woodlands Xploration Station last Saturday, here are a few photos:

David Temple shows Graysen Conklin how to excavate inside a jacket. The secret? Go very, very slowly.



The bones they found on the surface are actually on the bottom of this jacket. So, the "top" of the jacket is actually the deepest part of the geologic layer. Still, David found a Dimetrodon humerus almost right away.


A close-up of the Dimetrodon humerus uncovered on Saturday.


David also worked on prepping that funny-looking rock that just might be a very cool coprolite. He's using pressurized air to clean away the softer dirt surrounding the fossil.


Over 400 got a peek inside the jacket, made dinosaur masks, toured the exhibit halls, learned how to polish minerals, checked out 3D topographical maps and dug through all that dirt from Mineral Wells. They'll continue excavating the Dimetrodon jacket at The Woodlands Xploration Station, and you can see what else they find right here.

Kim Beck - Within Reach

I have dreams of being that teacher in the movies that stands before any and every child, and through incredible eye-opening, (not to mention TEKS-correlated) field trips, transforms every student into the bright, enthusiastic students that I knew were there all along. To be this teacher, I need to come up with that amazing trip that will grab my kids by the shoulders and turn them all into passionate students instantly…

But I live three hours away from the nearest full-time science museum.

So I think, "I’ll be just like that teacher in the movie, and I will gather up my students after school. I will load them up in any vehicle that will carry them, and we will drive three hours to the nearest educational facility that I can find..."

But most of my students work, have practice, or have a ball game after school that I can’t pull them away from.

So, I think, "I will be like that teacher in the movies who can at least show her students such fascinating things in class that they won’t need to leave it…"

But I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to go, don’t know who to ask, and sometimes I feel like I’m the only one that cares.

Do you feel my pain? Do you, too, know the feeling of reaching out into the darkness of unavailable supplies, unattainable consent-of-release forms, and lack of advice in general? In my one and a half years of teaching, I had decided that I was a one-man band, and that I could not give my students the learning experiences that I wanted to give them.

But I was wrong.

Maybe you teach in a city where there are museums and nature centers less than a class period away, or maybe you are like me and teach where you are the only chemistry teacher for an entire county. It doesn’t really matter where you live. There are outreach programs everywhere that are waiting to cross the thresholds of your classroom. You can find out about these programs from a number of sources, including your local education service center, museums, nature centers, and even colleges. All of these organizations depend on an interest in education, and therefore are generally more than grateful for an opportunity to build strong, interactive ties with educators and students. There are even a number of ways that you can use a single outreach program to meet all of your needs.

Many organizations, such as the Houston Museum of Natural Science, have programs made specifically for educators, so that we can learn more about a particular subject and then take our knowledge back to our classrooms to be incorporated into exciting lesson plans.

I, myself, participated in HMNS’s week-long teacher program this past summer. Understandably, not every teacher has the option of participating in a week-long program, but even participating in one museum (or other organization) event for an afternoon can give you ideas about new lessons, labs or even stimulating classroom decorations. With each event or workshop that you participate in as a teacher, you are not only gaining knowledge and skills, but also, and perhaps more importantly, you are building connections with people. These people are the ones who are going to be your most valuable resource – most have a great deal of teaching experience, so they know what kind of materials and information will be the most useful and efficient for you. When you can’t take your kids on a field trip, these will be the people who would be glad to bring the field trip to your kids. When I wanted to work fossils into a lab I was doing in chemistry, David Temple was there to tell me where to get the matrix, and Chris Flis was there to tell me how to design the lab. When I couldn’t take all of my students out to a real dig site, HMNS brought the dig site to my room.


Junior Shelby Winter examines a possible Xenacanth coprolite in her science class at Seymour High School.

I might add that the more you stay in touch with an organization, the more they will remember you when new programs or events are developed and are available for you to work into your new and improved classroom. If you stick around with an outreach department long enough, you can probably even begin to develop your own program for your school, as I got the chance to do, with their enthusiastic support and guidance.

You don’t have to be teaching in a wealthy school district to bring your students incredible learning opportunities. There are people out there who can bring the field trip to you. You don’t have to be an expert in entomology, astronomy or paleontology. Share your classroom with people who are. You don’t have to feel like there is no one who can help you grow a productive and challenging school program. There are people out there who are waiting, who are reaching out to you to join hands in changing your students’ lives.

Let them.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Dino BONE-anza!

If you've been following the blog for the past week or so, you've seen all the cool bones the team's uncovered. But what's inside those jackets they pulled out?

If you'd like to see for yourself, you can check it out tomorrow at Dino BONE-anza! at The Woodlands Xploration Station from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m, where they will open the jackets to work on the fossils inside. David and Chris will both be there to explain what's coming out and how they are preserving the fossils, and to answer your questions. David will also settle his dispute with Neal over whether a certain coprolite is actually a just an interesting rock by prepping it tomorrow as well.

Prince of the dinosaurs. A teenage T. rex on display at The Woodlands Xploration Station.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hey, slow down! There's some nature on top of those fossils!

Though we've spent most of the dig focusing on creatures that are long dead, we also enjoyed the surprisingly numerous beautiful, living creatures and sights around the site.


The wide, Texas sky just goes on and on. We were lucky to have weather like this all week. It makes you realize how little of the sky you actually see in the city - but in Seymour, it's everywhere. You can't miss it. And at night, the stars...well, they just inspire this amazing, lasting sense of dumbfounded wonder. It's a sight that simply can't be captured by a photograph.



Oddly, most of the people on the team harbor at least a small crush on insects in addition to their passion for paleo - manifest most intensely in David, who is constantly on the lookout for new specimens he can take back for the live insect collection at the Museum. Seeing insects like this one up close, just walking around, going about their business in nature, is a totally unique experience.



A collared lizard is a rare sight - and it's even more rare to catch them gaping on film. These little guys have a lot of personality and they are so cool to watch.



These thistles look like someone literally dipped them in purple ink. As they're the only color more vivid than tan on this entire landscape (actually, Mineral Wells, about 100 miles south of Seymour), coming upon them suddenly can take your breath away. Of course, that might have been all the hiking and leaping across ravines. But I'm pretty sure it was the thistles.



Cows make me laugh. I don't know why. Maybe it's their unblinking curiosity at whatever they come across - along with their simple, stubborn refusal to be moved by whatever it happens to be. You just can't impress a cow. We didn't see too many at the beginning of the week, and I didn't realize how much I missed them until they came back.


These grasshoppers blend perfectly and sedately into the landscape - until they suddenly decide to take a wild leap through space. Can you imagine what it would be like to jump like that on a human scale?


The sunsets are unbelievable - and different every day.


Of course, it's not all natural beauty. You have to look out for some things.


So, I should have known this, but I just discovered a fun little fact on this trip. Rattlesnakes are deadly. Sure, hospitals have the antivenom - but what are you going to do if you get bit by one in the middle of a ranch, at least an hour away from the nearest medical facility?

And how's this for comforting? I just heard a story on the radio, quoting a passage from one of Theodore Roosevelt's writings, in which the future president witnesses a young girl get bitten in the leg by a rattlesnake. She falls to the ground, screaming, at which point the rattlesnake bites her again - in the neck. She died.

Rattlesnakes do not mess around. Neither should you.



Mineral Wells was crawling with these. You might not be able to tell from this picture, but they are HUGE. And if the bright red color isn't warning enough, check out the close up below.


Look at the pinchers on this guy! They're as big as his head.


Lots of people understandably - and probably wisely - recoil from the spiders, snakes, centipedes and the other creepy things crawling around, over and through the fossils, David has a surprising affinity for them.

video

David collects an orb weaver spider, for the live insect collection at the Museum. The weather was turning so cold, he was afraid the spider might not survive. When it warmed up - and the spider turned listless in captivity - David released it back into the wild.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Day 9: The Last Hurrah

Yesterday, the team had a few more things to take care of at the site before heading out - and of course, they found something new. Here are a few more pictures from the last few hours of the dig.




Dr. Bakker, Johnny and Kathy work on finishing up - cleaning up the site, and making sure everything they leave behind is protected until the team can return.




Here, Kathy is "capping" the foam jackets of one of the Dimetrodon spines - this process keeps the bones protected and together for their journey to the Museum.




Johnny is working on excavating a new layer of bone, beneath the main Amy layer. Before they left, he managed to find one more Dimetrodon tooth.




There's a belief among paleontologists that you always find something cool on the last hour of the last day - when, of course, you don't have time to look any further. This time, it was a vertebra of a Labidosaurus - a stocky little Permian reptile that the team rarely encounters.


Seymour High School's Jacob and Tarrington also checked in with thoughts from their time with the dig team.

From Jacob:

"Our entire experience of digging on Wednesday and Saturday was awesome. On Wednesday, we found a lot of dimetrodon leg and rib pieces, and a lot of teeth. Also me and Tarrington established a new dig site. On Saturday we went and dug at the K2 site and found several teeth, along with a few Seymouria backbones. Then me and Tarrington went and prospected a new hillside and found a few bones and a massive vert. Also at K2 we found a couple of arthropod tracks.

After lunch we came back and helped map the terrain around K2. Then for the rest of the day, Ms. Beck, Tarrington and me prospected new sites. It was a really cool experience and I learned a lot from it that I will always remember."

From Tarrington:

"Saturday morning was fun, we found many things including lots of teeth. We also found what we thought was a piece of Indian pottery, but it turned out to be a huge vertebra. Saturday afternoon we learned lots about mapping the rock layers, and indentifiying the different bones."

His favorite experience on the dig was when he "found a rock that looked like a little bowl over by K2 and then we found out it was a vertebra."



They dug 'till the very last minute. Now the team's heading on out, from under gorgeous Texas skies - and they can't wait to get back to dig up even more Permian history.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Day 8: Movin' On Out

Yesterday was the last full day of the dig. The plan was to spend most of it cleaning up - that is, preparing everything that can be removed to be sent to the Museum, and covering everything that can't so it is protected from the elements until the team returns. They were hoping to further excavate the jaw found yesterday to see how much more of the skull was preserved.

As it turned out, a lot. Like, 95%. Including the very fragile braincase - which is essentially a natural cast of the inside of a skull that shows the shape and size of the brain. One that survives intact, like this one, is incredibly rare. As Dr. Bakker said while looking for it, "this is like doing brain surgery in a feed lot" - because what they were looking for is very fragile, and it was preserved in an area currently being used to graze thousands of cattle. Cattle that don't exactly watch where they step.




Dr. Bakker holds the Amy Dimetrodon's braincase - 100% intact and uncrushed. A very rare find.




A close-up of the braincase. This is what a Dimetrodon's brain looked like.


They also jacketed what couldn't be removed from the main Amy site with a new technique - foam jacketing. Using foam helps protect tiny, more fragile bones. It's also a lot lighter to carry than plaster. It looks like a lot more fun, too - like a game of prehistoric silly string.




Here, Dr. Bakker covers a portion of the Amy site with foam that will quickly harden and protect the bones on their journey back to Houston.



A close-up of the foam-jacketing process.

There is a lot at this site to protect:


Here you can see how many of the important discoveries were located on the main bone bed.

Since it was the last day for the whole team to be working, it seems safe to mention (without having to knock on wood) that even though the Red Beds is famous for its punishing conditions, the HMNS team was lucky enough to have weather like this the whole week:




David and Johnny excavate a site under the huge, blue Texas sky.


We were also surrounding with some pretty stunning wildlife - more on that soon, along with analysis of the week's finds from Dr. Bakker.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Video Everywhere!

We've increased our capacity for uploading video, so several new videos have popped up throughout the blog. They are each located inside the post for the day they were shot. Here's what's new:

Day 1: Hear Dr. Bakker explain the first day's surprising discoveries at the K2 site - as well as where the fossils are from, how they are excavated and what it all means.

Day 2: In the first video, David explains just what it is that he's looking for in that tiny, tiny ditch he's making. In the second, Chris and Kathleen discuss what's been found so far at the Aimee site - and what the team expects to find as they dig further.

Day 6: In the first video, watch as a 500-pound block of earth is moved so the fossils inside it can be taken to the Museum for study. In the second, see how far the Aimee site has come and hear what each of those bones are, as well as what they expect to find in the next few days.

Day 7: What would it be like to have a Dimetrodon named after you? Find out as site namesake and discoverer Aimee Taylor discusses her find with Kathleen.

And, in case you missed it, there is more video fun here and here.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Day 7: 10 OMGs

Dr. Bakker has an impulsive, informal response to most paleontological finds. If you've got something cool - like a tooth in perfect condition, he'll exclaim, "Oh my God, look at this." If it's really cool - like a razor-sharp claw he's never seem before, it's "Oh my God, Oh my God, what is this?" And so on - the cooler the find, the more "Oh my God"s you get. So, the team has taken to rating it's finds in OMGs (or, "Oh My God"s).

Before today was out, we had a 10 OMG discovery. But first...

This morning, Dr. Bakker was greeted by a very different dig site than the one he left on Wednesday - it was the first time he's seen many of the big finds of the week, including the very large Dimetrodon humerus that came out yesterday. (He left to be honored mid-week by his home state. As many on the team were surprised to discover, even though Dr. Bakker looks like a cowboy, he actually hails from New Jersey.) The site's namesake, Amy, also returned to work on her find.


Dr. Bakker examines the newly-uncovered humerus while site namesake and discoverer Amy Taylor starts working on the far North end of her site this morning.

video

UPDATE: in this video, Kathleen talks to Amy about her discovery of a site that's turning out most of a Dimetrodon - the biggest pre-dinosaur predator.

Since the central objective of the Amy site is to get the entire hill down to the lower level that holds the associated Dimetrodon skeleton (while preserving and mapping all the bones in the middle layers), the first order of business was to map, document and remove the humerus in order to continue digging downward.


Chris maps and removes the Dimetrodon humerus. Dr. Bakker decided that it should be removed right away to make way for further digging.


Within minutes of the humerus' removal, Kim found the clavicle. In perfect condition!


Kim and Johnny work on excavating under the level where the humerus was found. Little did they know that they were about to uncover another significant fossil.



Here, the clavicle Kim uncovered is outlined in yellow. It is in extremely good condition - it's complete, with nothing at all missing.


At this point, everyone is pretty happy with the day's work - a major site keeps producing more fossils of the same animal, plus a major new bone. So, they're working along, when all of the sudden...




"Oh, my God. I've got the jaw." Chris starts to uncover his new find, about 5 inches over from the location of the humerus and clavicle. It gets that plus 9 more OMGs from Dr. Bakker.


A tooth. In place. In the jaw. What looks like possibly the ENTIRE upper jaw.


Here, you can see the first tooth that popped out of the ground. The mound of earth in front of it contains the jawbone.



At the time this image was taken, 5 teeth had been excavated - three more (indicated by the dotted blue lines) would be revealed before the end of the day. This looks to be almost the entire upper jaw.


With eight full teeth. It's a major find. A 10 OMG, for sure. And - it's in such good shape, they're expecting to find the rest - possibly with the front "killing teeth," tomorrow. In addition, the rib cage is surprisingly intact, the spines are very long and the jaw is amazing - all 8 teeth that remain attached are in pristine condition. Dr. Bakker believes these fossils will need very little prep work before they are ready for display.


According to Dr. Bakker, "That solves the mystery!" This jaw proves that the skeleton we've been working on is, in fact, our mystery animal - so far represented by four small teeth from the Aimee site and a giant fang from the K2 site. It's a Dimetrodon for sure, but we don't know what the species is yet. If this is a Dimetrodon loomisi, Bakker says this find could possibly be the best preserved specimen to date. And it is in spectacular condition.

More photos from today:



Piece of cake! Johnny, Chris and Neal pull the second jacket out of the Spine site. The first jacket, taken out yesterday, was about twice this size.




It might have been smaller - but it was still more than 200 pounds, way too heavy and unweildy to carry up the steep slope to the trucks.




Man of the Hour: Our friendly, neighborhood front-end loader driver, Gary Coltharp - who was kind enough to donate his time and equipment to the cause, and help us get two very heavy jackets out of a very inaccessible site.


Johnny and Kathy excavate the Amy site today.


Dr. Bakker surveys the entire site at the end of today's dig. By half of the hill is gone. Foil covers the jaw discovered today, as well as several fossils that have been mapped and removed from the layer. It's amazing to compare this with the site a week ago.