Previously, I showed a total of the digsite as it was roughly at middle of my stay at the Sauriermuseum’s dig season 2003. It is the Howe-Stephens-Quarry, a scant 100 meters I guess from the Howe Quarry, but situated some 10 meters higher in today’s elevation. I have no clue wrt stratigraphy, can can’t tell you from memory how the strata were situated, so that it remains unclear to me right now how the two quarries relate to each other.
The SMA team found the quarry when a series of smallish distal caudals of a sauropod were discovered eroding out of a hillside. As always, you never know how far such a series goes in the Morrison, but if it looks (semi-)articulated it is worthy of closer inspection. In this case, the series went pretty far.
I can’t recall if this is all there was (except for surface collection), or if some caudals had already been removed when I got there. But on the right is the tiny end of a big animal that motivated the SMA crew to rip an impressive hole into the hillside, which in turn delivered some truly amazing stuff. Here’s a view from the other end of the series, taken when it and all associated material were fully exposed.
Apatosaurus tail at the 2033 SMA dig. Note barely-pulled-apart hindlimb.
Articulated ilium has been removed already.
Here’s a shot that shows the leg a bit better. Can you see the stegosaur skull?
No you can’t! All you can see is the hole on the other side where most of the stegosaur has already been removed – a nice bathtub it would have made! And there are a few elements left that are partly under the tail, and thus could not yet be taken out.
The SMA Howe-Stephens-Quarry Stegosaur Bath. Shallower children’s area on top left. Interior decorations at our new facility include a real Apatosaurus tail and hind limb. The award-winning plaster&tinfoil design makes a dust bath in this spa a pleasure to all senses.
After this short excerpt from the glossy brochure advertising for the new retreat, let’s get back to palaeo. The next thing we took out of this part of the quarry (yes, there’s more!) was the big femur. It made for a big cast, and we had to be very careful when lifting it out. And once it was out, we found bone underneath it.
Can you see the stegosaur skull now? :)
Toni Fürst, as the most experienced preparator present, was given the task of digging out whatever this was. We were quite sure it was a skull, and after some days of careful picking away at it this was revealed:
Yes, that’s a barely displaced hyoid on the right!
OK, I’ll leave you with this beautiful stunner for now. More tomorrow.