more MfN bone cellar

Here’s what I am always tempted to call ‘The Stash': unopened containers from Tendaguru

What these are was excellently described by Gerhard Maier in his excellent 2003 book African Dinosaurs Unearthed: the Tendaguru Expeditions, so I’ll be lazy and just go and cite him:

Locally available wood was too brittle for crates that faced a long, rough journey.
It was also not feasible to carry empty wooden crates to the site from Lindi.
Once loaded with specimens they would have made an impossibly awkward
and heavy load for humans. Motorized transport was unavailable. Pack animals
could not long survive in the tsetse fly-plagued region. There was no river or rail
route. Instead, bamboo stems were cut into 70-centimeter lengths. They were
bound together with wire and coir rope, forming a flat mat. A field jacket was
packed in grass and set onto the bamboo mat, which was then simply rolled into
a flexible but sturdy and portable cylinder around the jacket and tied up with
more wire or rope. A circular piece of wood was wired to each open end of the
cylinder and labelled. The Africans dubbed these cylinders “bamboo corsets.”

Here’s an opened one:

Maier again:

The fruit of the baobab tree was enclosed in a hard-shelled gourd that could be sawed open and emptied. Small bones would be wrapped in soft grass or raw cotton wool and placed inside.

Add to that used tin cans – some still have their original labels, so that we can determine the expedition’s meals. One cans is labelled in four languages: Filet de boeuf aux truffes, Lomo de vaca con trufas, Ochsenfilet mit Trüffeln, Filet of beef with truffles. Yummy!

There is excellent news about these bamboo corsets, too: they have all been CT scanned, so that now we know what’s in them. And although a huge number of Dysalotosaurus bones, which make up the vast majority of material in the containers, had previously been prepared, much was destroyed during WWII. The unprepared material in the corsets is a significant increase of what we have, with for example several additional radii and so on.

Previous bone cellar posts here, here and here.

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About Heinrich Mallison

I'm a dinosaur biomech guy working at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.
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2 Responses to more MfN bone cellar

  1. hypnotosov says:

    “unopened containers from Tendaguru”
    This is all kinds of awesome, I’m not sure what I find more awesome those bamboo corsets or the tin cans.

    [Also "a huge number of Dies-a-lot-o-saurus bones" or am I pronouncing that wrong?]

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