Thursday, 27 February 2014

Field Catalogue

A sample page of the Field Catalogue
Many of the ETRW dig crew may have wondered why I was not around much before dinner, and usually turned up still covered with beach sand, salt and coal whilst many of you had time to get clean.  After site each day (or at least each day I wasn't finding an Internet connection to update the blog), I did stuff to look after the fossils.  I love fossils.  Last year some of the ETRW fossils did not make it back to the museum as beautiful as they were when we found them, so I was working extra hard to protect this year's haul.
So, each afternoon I unpacked all the fossils from the black backpack and from any other backpacks and buckets we pressed into service.  Once we even had a handful of fossils carried up in a seed tray.
I would sort through them, setting aside all labelled "Microscope Check".  You might not have known I had a microscope in my cabin.  So I would check these, most of the time getting a second opinion from Lesley or Dave.  Many of these were not really bone (some coal, some seed pods, some beetlebums, some a mineral that Lesley called muscovite), but those that were got added back to the fossil pile.
Then I updated the Field Catalogue, writing a reference number on each fossil and recording it.
And then I packed the fossils into boxes to take back to the museum, leaving aside any that Dave thought that Tom might like to see (given how crumbly the rock gets once it dries I left the unwrapping of those important specimens to Dave since he could then look after them straight away).
This catalogue is important for a couple of reasons.  Mostly it allows Dave to make sure that all fossils make it to the museum to be evaluated, and to record the eventual disposition of each specimen.  Perhaps 20% (or slightly more) of the fossils we found will turn out to be good enough (once seen in laboratory conditions and sometimes with a little matrix removed) to become part of the museum's collection.
Also one of the conditions of our permit from Parks is that we list all of the fossils so that they know that they are going to the museum and not to the pockets of private collectors.
I guess, too, that this also explains why I usually had all the fossil stats at my fingertips.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014


What dino dig would be complete without some early morning stretches?  Here's some pictures courtesy of Blaire.
A lovely day for a stretch
Aren't we a coordinated bunch?

Sunday, 23 February 2014

The tooth that James found

James' tooth
The very first day of the dig we found two teeth, which led me to speculate (hope?) that we might have a very toothy haul.  However, we didn't keep finding crazy numbers of teeth this dig (at least not that were identified on site, and not as a fraction of how many bones we found).  The only other confirmed tooth in Week 1 was found on Wednesday by James Rule.  His pretty ornithopod tooth has a lovely long root but is not particularly shiny.  Sometimes (I'm told), shed teeth are not shiny (the enamel wears off) but teeth with roots are more likely to have been in the mouth of an animal when it died.  So a nice little puzzle.
(Thanks to Wonthaggi Optometrist Dennis O'Donnell for the microscope camera that I used to take this photo.)

Saturday, 22 February 2014

2014 ETRW Field Season

The 2014 Eric the Red West dig has now wrapped up.
The final count in the Field Catalogue:
- 428 bones and teeth
- 26 invertebrates (fresh water mussels)
-  8 plants
Great work, team!

At the pub on a rainy day

Some of the crew sketch each other
(Thanks Saraj for the photo)

Fri 21st - Last day on site

Lauren finds a fossil
Tim and Nova find fossils at the same time
Nova shows off her fossil
Tim excited by his fossil
Saraj finds a fossil
Nova finds another fossil
Mike finds a fossil
Mel finds a toe (or centrum)
Mel's toe or centrum
Tim finds a fossil
Darren checks out Mike's fossil
Mike finds a probable vertebra
Mike's vertebra (or something)
Nick finds a fossil
Lauren finds a little vert (or similar)
Lauren's possible vertebra
Saraj finds a fossil
Mel finds another fossil
Astrid finds an unusual plant fossil
Another vertebra?

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Some photos from Saraj

Fabrizio cuts out a fossil
Dave examines a fossil
Tim hams it up for the cameras
Looking at a fossil
A limb bone
Alan explains from geology
Saraj finds a fossil
Nova and Livvi rugged up
Saraj finds another fossil

Some photos from Mel

Dave points a a rock
Tim and John find a fossil
Mel finds a fossil

Week 3 Crew Photo

The crew

"Do something more exciting than just standing there!"
"Try a different pose"
"Pretend to be a dinosaur"
"Sit up straight like Alan Tait"

Saraj Tim Darren Kerrie Lauren Astrid Nova Mel Cate Dave Sharyn
John Livvi Hannah Fabrizio Nick Alan Wendy

More photos from Lisa

Lauren in her rain gear
Morning tea time!
Mary rides her broom
Alan's geology lesson
Tim becomes a starfish
Pip and Tamara make shepherd's pie

Thur 20th - too wet to dig

Heavy rainfall prevented us from going to site today.

Wed 19th - the weather turns nasty

Hannah finds a fossil
Mary finds a fossil
Mike finds a fossil
Tim finds a fossil
The storm clouds gather
Lauren keeps dry
Astrid finds a fossil
Mel finds a fossil
We hide the prep gear under a tarp
Lisa stays warm
John works the hole
Darren finds a fossil