Shindigging around Montana

It’s time to catch up on another set of fieldwork photos! This summer I spent the bulk of my fieldwork time traveling around Montana. Let’s see where I wound up!

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DinoLand USA

Work’s been busy and posting’s been light around here while my head is down in a bunch of research projects, developing a Zuul exhibit and writing a Zuul book! But then I took a vacation last week with my husband and my parents and my sister and my brother-in-law, and we went to Disney World because we’re all huge dorks, and we had a great time. I thought I’d share some pictures from the hilariously on- and off-point DinoLand USA at the Animal Kingdom. Enjoy!

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Where did all the tail clubs go?

Today is a New Paper Day! This time, we’re talking about the evolution of tail weapons!

(Two Ankylosaurus duke it out with their tail clubs. (c) Jack Mayer Wood, used with permission)

Readers of this blog will not be surprised to know that I find ankylosaur tail clubs quite interesting. I’ve been lucky to get to study their biomechanics and whether or not they were plausible weapons, how their morphological variation helps us identify different species, and how they evolved in a stepwise manner, with the stiff handle evolving before the enlargement of the osteoderms at the tip of the tail. Occassionally it’s good to step back and just think about how *weird* it is that ankylosaurs modified their tails in this fashion, and how weird it is to have a weapon on the tail. Continue reading

Where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead.

I can’t believe that it’s been more than 2 months since we got back from our fieldwork in Utah and I’m only getting around to posting about it now, but I guess that means things have been hopping around here! We had spent a week at the Crystal Geyser Quarry earlier in May, but our main batch of fieldwork lasted for four weeks from mid July to mid August. We drove from North Carolina to near Emery, Utah, to set up camp and work in the Morrison and Cedar Mountain formations.

Camp was comfortable and cozy!

And there were some pretty nice views!

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Wading With Dinosaurs

It’s that time of year again! Time to talk palaeontology with a 1000 of my closest friends in a convention centre somewhere far, far away! That’s right, it’s the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, this time in Dallas, Texas. This year I tried out an SVP meeting field trip for the first time. We chased dinosaurs and their friends through the mid Cretaceous near Dallas!

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All work and no play….

giphy (2)

Here’s a short video showing just how long the tail of the Carnegie Apatosaurus is. It just keeps going and going and going…

giphy (3)

Each year the SVP hosts a benefit auction to support society activities. And each year the auction committee has a fun theme that they dress up to – previous years have included Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, James Bond, and Monty Python. This year we got Star Trek! So an already nerdy bunch of nerds got even nerdier. I was rather excited by the presence of tribbles.

Tribbles are dangerous and should be avoided by people who like to collect stuff.