Sunday, July 06, 2008

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Today marks the official beginning to Dinosaur Field School with the arrival of our first group of aspiring paleontologists. Mark and Kevin from Cincinnati arrived at the airport in one piece, while Russ, Sandy and Matt met us at the YBRA Lodge this afternoon. Everyone is settling into their cabins as I type this.

Dr. Storrs, Mac, Sara and Ian are prospecting on the Taylor Ranch near Edgar, MT. This is a prime Cloverly locality with the promise of many good finds to come. Today was their first opportunity to see it in person, and the cooperation of the ranch owner is testament to the quality program that Dr. Storrs and the other scientific staff at Cincinnati Museum Center have put together over the last decade. Craig and Lauren accompanied me into Billings today and our getting spoiled with their second showers at the YBRA in as many days.

We have opened the site, and wouldn't you know it, the fossils are just begging to be unearthed. Several nice limb bones and vertebrae have already shown themselves, onw of which is shwing an interesting pathology...perhaps a cancerous growth...but we won't know more until we get it out.

July 4th was a wonderful day in the Bighorn Basin, capped off by a cookout in Powell, Wyoming at the home of Winston and Beryl Churchill. This cookout traces it's roots to the 1920's, and all geologists and paleontologists in the Basin have an open invitation to attend. Nearly 70 people were in attendance this year, hailing from the Univ. of Florida, Johns Hopkins, the Smithsonian, the Univ. of Washington, the Univ. of Michigan and others. Many thanks the the Churchills for their wonderful hospitality.

July 4th also brought us Pat Monaco. For those of you who have read about our campsite food (beans, spam, spaghetti, etc.), Pat is the answer to our culinary prayers. Her first meal for us on July 5th was chicken curry with brown rice, vegetables and mango chutney. Tonight is supposed to bring with it buffalo marinara. Yummy! Pat is also a great conversation starter in camp. I've never heard any of our crew laugh so hard...

July 5th was a brief work day, followed by lunch at Bogart's in Red Lodge (you have to try the wheat crust pizza), and showers. Throughout dinner we watched a storm come from the northwest. As soon as dishes were washed, the skies opened up with marble-sized hail and about 10 minutes of gully-washing rain and 50-mile-per-hour winds. I'll get some images and perhaps a video posted soon.

Well, the satellite Internet is having issues with the big storm clouds rolling across the Beartooth Plateau, so I'll try to post more this evening.

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