Thursday, 28 February 2008

A big rock

Yesterday we had another school visit, this time year 10 girls from Loreto-Mandeville Hall. They seemed to have a great time, and asked a lot of questions about everything from volcanos to fossils.

We were also visited by some of the scientists who have been involved with the dig for many years - Tom Rich (Museum Victoria), Pat Vickers-Rich and Barbara Wagstaff (Monash University).

Pat requested that we remove a large block of rock covering all of our fossil-bearing strata layers to be taken whole to the Monash labs to be mapped in detail. A rock was chiselled from the hole, and passed inspection (it had a few fossils on the outside including a beautiful turtle vertebra). This left us with the logistical problem of transporting a 50kg+ lump of rock back to the lab. A wheelbarrow was duly produced, and the rock wheeled "the long way" across the sand to where the road was close to the beach. Although it was better than carrying the rock up the stairs to our usual carpark, Pat still gave us express permission to curse her as we pushed!

A last-minute ornithopod tooth by Mary just on knock-off time won "bone of the day".

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Finally some sunny weather

We were finally treated to some sunny weather today after what seemed like an eternity of grey skies and drizzle. We were also visited by 70 Grade 2 and 3 students from Inverloch Primary School, who were very enthusiastic.  We had a great day of finding fossils - a lovely complex curly bone which might be part of a skull, and also 4 teeth.
We were visited by John Long (Head of
Sciences at Museum Victoria) with
the winners of the New Scientist
competition, Sam Arman and Ben Hopper.
Lesley and John


Monday, 25 February 2008

Sedimentology & Taphonomy

A sedimentologist and taphonomist
\examine the shore platform and confer.

Wendy's turtle humerus found in rock we had
stored overnight on the beach. This bone was
beaten to "bone of the day" by a dinosaur metatarsal.

More Jackhammering

Today we did more jackhammering to remove overburden.
It was fun.

But hard work.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Early morning at Prep Rock

Cilla and Anne discuss fossils in
the Prep Rock hole. It was very windy
and (if truth be told) a bit chilly.
Doris looks at a tiny fossil
with Bill. Note the effect of
the high wind on Bill's bandanna.


Week four crew photo

Week four crew -what a happy bunch

Dave has done some preparation on the ornithopod
maxilla that Gerry found a week or so ago.
It is approximately 7cms long; has 4 erupted teeth and
5 unerupted teeth. It is the largest ornithopod maxilla
found at the site so far.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Prospecting near Eagle's Nest

David prospecting with Eagle's nest in the background.

Breaking Rock at the house

Mary wears her
Koolasuchus hat with pride!
The team hard at work
breaking rock.

Mary finds a pretty whale-shaped bone which
puts her at risk of winning the hat 2 days in a row.


This morning a small band of diggers were at the site before Dawn so that Angela the photographer from The Age could take some atmospheric shots.
The Intrepid included Paul (Hammer Man), Bill (Pump Man), David (Indie Hat Man), Sheahan (Background Meanderer), Dave (the Leader) and Wendy (Kneeling Girl).
Our regular readers are invited to check out tomorrow's Age which is scheduled to have a big spread on Dinosaur Dreaming.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Day at house

Today was "change-over day" - spent at the house because neither the morning or afternoon tides give us enough time to collect rock from the beach. We reached #400 in the catalogue of bones and teeth.
Mary's centrum won "bone of the day" and Mary is proudly wearing the Koolasuchus hat.
We were unpacking the toilet paper kindly brought to the dig by Zeina, and discovered bags of Suga lollies hidden within. A big thanks to Hala!
Tomorrow we plan to do some prospecting with Mike.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Rained out

Catriona with the coveted hat
Today was pretty much rained out, with rock breaking declared impossible at about 10:00 am and not reinstated until about 3:00 pm.
Nothing terribly exciting was found.
Catriona won "bone of the day" in an extremely poor field.
With too much time on our hands, we spent some time colouring dinosaur pictures and visiting local "Op shops".
Due to a lucky purchase by Matthew, we have instituted a new tradition. "Bone of the Day" gets to decide the fate of the coveted "Koolasuchus" hat (which looks a little like Dorothy the Dinosaur). The winner can either wear it everywhere for 24 hours, or nominate anther crew member who must wear it instead of them...

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Gerry's dinosaur femur

More nice bones were found at the Bridge East end of
the fossil layer, including this lovely ornithopod femur
found by Gerry.
Local resident Joanne O'Driscoll dropped by to see
how we were going. She sends a special hello to her
grand-daughter Kirra in Canada.

Moulding the theropod footprint

Today we moulded the theropod
footprint near the site.
Mary assisted David in pouring
the silicon rubber.

It was a hot day so it only took about
3 hours for the silicon to cure
and the mould could be removed.

The finished mould showing
the toe impressions

Monday, 18 February 2008

Friends of Dinosaur Dreaming Day

Lesley found a turtle pelvis, which
made her very happy.
John modelled the latest dig crew T shirt
It was a beautiful day for the "Friends of
Dinosaur Dreaming" to come along
and watch us excavate.
An "all girl" hole crew - a first we think
 - and they did a great job too.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Lovely bones

Gerry found a lovely small ornithopod maxilla
with at least three teeth exposed and he didn't
break it.
Holden got "bone of the day" with this
odd bone. Not sure what it is yet, maybe scapula
or humerus

Mary deserved a siesta after finding her fourth
Early Cretaceous mammal jaw. Well done Mary!

Week 3 crew

Cross-section through small hollow limb
oops - rock-sawed through this limb

Week three crew - what a happy lot

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Jackhammers, better rock and lots of water

Today I think that we arrived on the beach just a little early...  The tide was still in, and our one pump currently working was difficult to start. We took the opportunity to remove the overburden with a jackhammer. But we found so many bones that there was mad scrambling wrapping after pack-up time. We're all feeling much more useful and competent now.

Rohan and Mike cleaning the rock rock off.
We seem to spend lots and lots of time washing rocks...
Rohan and Norman discuss mechanical things.
Mike gives Sue jackhammer lessons
Norman and Rohan start work
on the part of the fossil layer
not under water...
The rest of us spend some time breaking
the sandstone just in case it there's
a really good fossil in it:
Lesley drew a picture of her Koolasuchus
for the visiting college group

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Breaking rock under grey clouds

Threatening grey clouds this morning, but fortunately no rain. However it was so cool on the beach that there were no requests for "swim o'clock".
We fished out a lot of "Prep Rock" rock from the pond where we store it overnight. This rock didn't have too many fossils in it, and we were glad when it had all been processed.
Of course, we were assuming that the new rock would be more prolific!
Dave led the intrepid hole crew (of Sue and Holden), working Bridge East.
Sledges were slung, and after a slow start, some very large chunks of rock were extracted.
No bones long enough for orientation measurements were extracted, but we did find a very pretty vertebra.
Dave swings a sledge
The hole crew

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Week Two crew

The hole crew
It gets cold and wet -
even in the Australian summer
Mary mapping
Week two crew