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Triceratops expedition 2018 #1

Posted on 03-09-2018 by Sander van der Deure

For two years Naturalis Biodiversity Center has been excavating fossilized bones op Triceratops in Wyoming. Every time a bit more mysteries are uncovered. This year, will be the last year. One of the excavators; Sander van der Deure tells you about the process.

In a little less than a week it will happen again... Wyoming: the Triceratops expedition! We will stay shorter than usual makes the challenge for the team even bigger. With six of us, we have two weeks to split the last large sediment block (about 3 by 4 meters) into smaller pieces and prepare it for transport.

This makes the feeling of the excavation different than it has been in recent years. In the past we focussed on discovering new bones, halfway through the excavation of 2017 the accent shifted to unwinding of what had been discovered before. This gives a different dynamic, ie less kick and more plaster. It almost sounds like a complaint. Fortunately, nothing less is true. Being able to do such a job in the Wyoming prairie is of course the best thing a group of dinofans would want to do. 

The wide strip at the top right was almost ready for removal in 2017. But we desided not to transport it because the plaster was not sufficiently fixated.

I personally, am very curious about how this block came through in the winter. I would be great if nature has done a little bit of work for us. Because, due to dehydration, existing gaps/cracks might have become wider. But the results could also be negative: a lot of loose bone material might be "squeezed out" or moved. I predict the negative effects will be negative, because we already poured glue in those cracks last year. An excavation is unfortunately not without risks. Unforeseen things will always happen...


But before we can even start excavating the block we will have to set up camp! I fear that the tumble weeds have taken over the campsite again. The following blogs will be written from Wyoming!

If you would like to read more about the excavations, take a look at Twitter for English, or at Sanders personal website: opalsonly.nl for updates in Dutch.

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