Southern Alberta field collection 2011 has arrived!

Posted: November 18, 2011 - 12:00 , by royal

Fossils wrapped in plaster with labels written on the outside

Marked field jackets containing horned dinosaur bones from the McPheeter’s bonebed (MBB) and the South Side Ceratopsian (SSC).

The fossil bones that we collected from the Milk River region of southern Alberta arrived late last week, and we have just opened the massive crate and inventoried the bones. We are just getting the fossils now because they must go to the Royal Tyrrell Museum to be inventoried and cataloged before they are sent to us for preparation and research. The process is complete, and we are ready to get to work on the new finds. The final tally is in the neighborhood of 100 plaster field jackets containing dinosaur bones, weighing well over 500 kgs (half a ton!).

We had one of our best field seasons ever this past year — we excavated parts of the oldest associated skeleton of a horned dinosaur ever found in Alberta — which came to be known as the South Side Ceratopsian, well over 200 bones from a dense Centrosaurus bone bed, and we collected a parts of rare chasmosaurine (long-frilled horned dino) and leptoceratopsid skulls. We are particularly excited about the South Side Ceratopsian, which has a good chance of being a brand new species of horned dinosaur, and we will start preparation of this specimen as soon as we can.

There is more in the ground, and we will return to dig more next summer. Until then, we have plenty to keep us busy in the prep lab.

Fossil bones wrapped in plaster in a wooden shipping crate

The freshly opened crate of southern Alberta fossils collected by the ROM in 2011.

David Evans standing in the collection room inspecting fossils

ROM palaeontologist David Evans inspects the collection.