5 October 2011

Two Sisters

Posted by Callan Bentley

All this talk about footprints and tail traces, and I haven’t even shown you any “for sure” dinosaur fossils. Well, let’s remedy that today. We return now to the scene: exposures of the Jurassic Morrison Formation, on the east side of the Bighorn Basin, just north of Shell, Wyoming. I was wandering around, finding things like ripples and lichens and cobbles of chert that had multiple intersecting conchoidal fractures, and surrounded by flakes, suggesting they had been worked by Native Americans:

This is a view of the VMNH quarry, amid the splendor of rich vegetative colors (it was a wet spring in Wyoming):

Zooming in, you can see the dig site itself, a spot called “Two Sisters” for the two sisters who discovered it (both residents of Shell, apparently):

Here’s what the Two Sisters site looks like from below, on approach to the excavation pit:

Inside the pit, you could find volunteers Nancy and Linda work at excavating a large bone, perhaps a tibia:

They were a fun pair: vegans who did this for fun every summer, a couple of plucky lasses who enjoyed a cool beer at the end of the field day. They were kind of like Two Sisters themselves – the name of the site is much easier to remember as a consequence of their spirited participation in the project. Linda even hooked me up with a pair of free tickets to the Virginia Wine Festival (which she runs) as a wedding present. Much obliged indeed!

And, here, finally, is a look at that bone itself, with my trusty Swiss Army knife for scale:

Ta-dahhhhhh! That’s a real-life dinosaur bone, emerging from the ground.

I guess I can cross that one off the Geologist’s Life List.