The weather has been great this month. We have been out walking around the San Rafael Swell checking out areas for fossils, mainly dinosaur bone. One known area we call the gator site, (probably a fossilized crocodile) can be seen in the side of an overhang. Unfortunately, amateurs have been picking at it and it is slowly disappearing. The fossil is in a conglomerate. Next to the fossil ancient men painted in red, a series of pictographs of men with electrified looking hair. Renee Barlow, our archaeologist at the museum, identified these as Barrier Canyon style (see her blog for more details).
The leaves in the small canyon were falling from the river birch, and the area was very beautiful and pleasant. (I’ve got such a hard job).
We then headed to an area east of Castle Dale to explore new territory. We did a lot of walking but unfortunately very few fossils were found with the exception of a turtle site that I GPSed (Global Positioning System) and recorded. We also found some Tempskya. Tempskya is a tree fern that grew during the Cretaceous period. Later, we found a couple more bone sites, one with a couple fragments of crocodile scutes.
Barb Benson, a UFOP (Utah Friends of Paleontology) member, and Marvin Evans, a retired lab and field assistant of mine, was with us. We found a USGS (United States Geological Survey) marker. The wooden stake that had been propped up to make the marker easier to find had fallen down so Marvin proceeded to brace it back up with rocks from the area. As he picked up one rock, he stopped and looked at it. As he did so, I looked over at the rock he was carrying and asked him what he had in his hands. He said, “I think it is dinosaur bone” and it was. We had parked right by a bone outcrop.
After a little more survey work it was time to head home. Our couple days of wandering the Swell had come to an end for a while.