Thursday, November 8, 2007

Photos from Day 4

With the benefit of several new diggers who arrived in Seymour last night, the team started working to remove the jacket at the top of the main site. They also continued digging out the top of the hill over the lower Amy site where they found a new associated Dimetrodon on Tuesday.

Shirley, Kathy and Kathleen Havens start working on the upper layer of the Amy site. The goal is to dig down to the lower level (preserving and mapping whatever bones are found in the layers between) to uncover the rest of the associate Dimetrodon skeleton.

Working down from the top of the Amy site, Kathleen uncovered a Dimetrodon vertebra that is still attached to the fin spine - a first for the team. The vertebra is on the lower left of this image (you can see the circular edge of it) and the fin spine is the shelf-like horizontal edge extending through the photo towards the right. Under the pointer, you can see the rest of the fin spine, where it was broken after death. The apparent twist that caused this break may help the team figure out the current of the river bed this animal ended up in. They'll continue to excavate this today, so we'll have a clearer image of the find this afternoon.

A close up of the broken section of Kathleen's new Dimetrodon spine (shown in the picture above at right) - this is the first piece of bone that was uncovered on her new layer. The vetebra attached to the rest of this spine were found shortly after this picture was taken, to the left.

At Shirley's level on the very top of the Amy site, this tiny Xenacanthus (prehistoric shark) tooth was found actually embedded in a piece of shark cartilage. Like all teeth for this species, it is a "pickle fork" tooth - meaning it has two crowns, both of which are visible here.

Johnny Castillo and David Temple work on excavating beneath this double plaster jacket, which contains multiple associated Dimetrodon spines and vertebrae. They will remove as much soil as possible from around, and under, these plaster mounds. Once the pedestal it sits on is as small as possible, they will flip the jacket, plaster over the bottom and stabilize it for the trip back to Houston.

While the rest of the team continues digging this afternoon, David and Neal are visiting Kim Beck's class to talk to the students about looking for local fossils and the geology of the area. Check back later today for more information on the class' experience and today's finds.

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