May 2, 2001: The Best Laid Plans...
Our original plan was to submit a daily report. But, as is common in field work, plans often change. The excavation will take longer than the originally estimated 7 days, and so our crew won't be able to stick around for the entire dig (we do have our "day jobs" to get back to). Bad weather today halted progress for a while, and a smaller than expected excavation crew will delay the completion of the dig.
The team has removed the protective covering and brushed the exposed bones with a small broom.
Sudden weather changes are a way of life in this area. In fact, yesterday, it was sunny and 90 degrees; today, it is snowing, blustery, and in the 30s.
It is now estimated that the dig will take a couple of weeks. So we will document what we can over the next few days, and then send in periodic updates over the next couple of weeks.
The excavation photos on this website show progress made so far. Primarily, the bones have been cleaned from their winter's cover. The team has removed the protective covering and brushed the exposed bones with a small broom.
Alan Titus and his foam "cutouts" demonstrate the size of the dinosaur.
Alan Titus, BLM paleontologist, created cutouts to illustrate how big the entire animal might be.
I was not able to accompany the crew to the dig on their first visit, since there was a school group, and I would have displaced a student. Being an educator, I saw no reason to do that, knowing that I will be on site soon enough! So I asked Art who was shooting the scene, for his first impressions. "It was fascinating to see just how big the tail was in the ground, and the fact that you could see the entire tail so clearly that close to the surface." He said, "It is amazingly well-preserved. When you get a chance to see something millions of years old, it really makes you stop and think about the concept of time."
The next step will be to start digging trenches around the bones. We'll send photos as the dig progresses