The weather was looking good so we headed back out into the field last week. Tuesday, we had some GPS coordinates given to us by our friend Dr. Jim Kirkland. A week before, Jim had been on a field trip with some UFOP (Utah Friends Of Paleontology) members and they located some bone in the Mancos shale. Jim identified it as plesiosaur and was kind enough to give us the location.
We followed the GPS coordinates and found the bones exactly where they were supposed to be. Looking at the bones, we determined that there were at least two vertebrae and fragments of other bones imbedded in some concretions.
We collected them and recorded the site and have them in the lab. They will be a challenge to prepare out. In the surrounding area, there were several small ammonites and other aquatic fossils.
We collected a few samples of these also.
After lunch, we headed for an area near Cedar Mountain in the Dakota Formation. A few years ago, Donnette Tuttle, a resident of Emery County, showed me some two-toed tracks in the Dakota Formation and I was trying to relocate them. This will be the third try but fortunately, in looking back over the past field records, I located the GPS coordinates and was confident we could locate them this time.
We found them and they are as interesting as I remember. They look similar to a hoof print, but I believe instead they are a two-toed track. A couple of years ago, I located some tracks near PR2 (Price River 2 Quarry) and one of the tracks looks to be just like these two-toed tracks so we know of two locations of these tracks. I took a new GPS reading using the datum of NAD83. This datum is more widely used than the old NAD27.
While looking for the tracks, we located several petrified logs imbedded in the Dakota. These will be next to impossible to remove so we collected pieces for identification and left the remainder of the logs in place.
The spring run-off had collected in pools. I found these to be interesting. Some of them contained moss and other short-lived organisms.
Our outdoor companion Sage, being half lab, enjoyed a cool dip in some of the pools.
Wednesday at the lab, our friends from DinoLab brought us a load of mammoth cast bones. Jim Madsen (founder of DinoLab) and his son Chris came down with their crew. I called Don Burge and told him his friend Jim was here so he came over for a visit.
We spent a short time going through some of the collections and reminiscing about old times.
The next day, Thursday, we went back out into the field. A new volunteer to the museum, Charlie Johnston, had located some bones in the Morrison east of Castle Dale and since he will be heading back to Alaska this week, he wanted to show us before he left. The site is at the top of a ridge. The bones are of a sauropod and were in good condition for weathering on the surface.
Unfortunately the source was at the top of a hill leading me to believe there were no undisturbed bones to be excavated.
The spring flowers are coming out and I have enjoyed photographing a few. I hope I can get back out in the field soon.