Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cincinnati Museum Center's next adventure!

We arrived in Cincinnati safe and sound on Saturday and unpacked gear and field jackets. While the crew is catching up on their sleep, we are preparing for Cincinnati Museum Center's next adventure...
An Excursion to Ecuador
January 10-20, 2010! Join Herman L. Mays, Jr., Ph.D., Curator of Zoology on a birding expedition of a lifetime in the Ecuadorian rain forests. Space is limited, adventure seekers wanted.

For more information, please visit our website:

Hope to see you in Ecuador!

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Plesiosaur has landed

The Plesiosaur has made it safely onto the trailer! This was the largest of the field jackets removed from the site. There were a lot of crossed fingers but everything went according to plan.
Now, with one site closed, the entire crew will tackle the Mother's Day site tomorrow. Before we close for the season, the following still needs to take place:
  • Two bones need to be jacketed
  • The edges of the site must be contoured with fill to prevent looting and erosion
  • Haul all the tools and supplies off of the site
  • Strap the remaining field jackets to day packs for the trip down to camp
  • Carefully pack the van and truck using up every available space
  • Strap down everything that rests on the trailer
  • And then, just then, will the site be closed for the season
If all goes well, we will leave Wednesday bright and early and arrive in Cincinnati on Friday and unload on Saturday.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Hold your breath and flip

When you find a bone in the quarry you become the "protector" of that bone, taking every caution and even tuck it under a tarp every night. Each hour in the quarry, you get closer and closer to that dreaded moment when you actually have to flip the top of the field jacket. When you flip, the bone and the matrix below should come out as one unit. Even if you have done everything right, there is always the fear that the actually flipping of the bone will go horribly wrong. It is like flipping a bundt cake onto a plate. You cross you fingers, take a deep breath and hope you greased the pan well enough.

On Friday, I flipped a beautiful humerus that I had been fretting over. The matrix stayed in the ground exposing the perfect bone. It was a proud milestone.

Later that day, a vertebra was not so lucky. When you trench, you guess how far the bone goes into the ground. This trench wasn't deep enough and after the flip, half was in the jacket and half was still in the ground. When this happens you fly into surgeon mode armed with glue and a chisel. We eventually got out the remainder and enclosed it in toilet paper, aluminum foil and then plaster. It will be pieced back together in the lab.

We still have a few more jackets to go before we can officially close up the site for the season and head back to Cincinnati Museum Center.