The smoke was thick in the air from forest fires west of us in Utah and in Southern California but Bill and I headed out to Suarez. We had a pubis that had been discovered on the previous trip that we needed to get out before we closed the quarry for the season. We thought maybe the smoke would dissipate before we reached Green River but it was still so thick that we could not see the mountains back of Green River.
When we reached the trailhead, the smoke was still thick and we hiked with our equipment up to the site, our lungs hurting a little from the smoke in the air. Fortunately, within the hour, the wind shifted and the smoke began to clear and the mountains were again visible and we could breathe.
We removed overburden from above the pubis and Bill began working around the fossil to enable us to jacket it for removal. I worked a couple of meters away. The bones in this area are very abundant. I refer to it as the spaghetti bowl. The bones overlap each other and are so close together it makes excavation very difficult. It’s like excavating spaghetti.
On our previous trip, I had found a very nice ilium to a therizinosaur and was trying to work around it so that I could remove it. In the process, I uncovered a couple dozen other fossil bones that we recorded and mapped before I was able to remove the ilium from its resting place. After all of this was removed I found a layer of armor from the nodosaur. These will have to wait until next year.
Earlier this year, we recovered a lower jaw from a therizinosaur. Several of the teeth were still in place. This is the largest jaw we have recovered from this site and I just thought you might like to see it. The teeth are spatulate in shape, very unusual for a theripod. This is one of the main reasons we believe this animal was an omnivore. Its claws are still very sharp and lethal so at least at this stage of their evolution they are thought to eat some meat as well as plants.
When we finished we covered the exposed bones with burlap and pulled some of the overburden onto the burlap. This will keep the quarry in good shape until we return next year. This year we have spent many a great night stargazing and at one time, we were able to see the space station and the shuttle before the shuttle was docked. The Milky Way is beautiful on moonless nights and we were able to see satellites, meteors, and planes as they go by.
We are looking forward to preparing out the specimens collected this year and further excavations and stargazing next year.