Friday, August 31, 2007

Farewell!

Its August 31st and it has come to the time for me to say good bye!

If I has to use two words to describe my time here at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre, it would be ADVENTURE and FUN! Please let me elaborate..

Adventure is the perfect word to describe my summer job. Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of finding my own prehistoric lizard! My back pack would be crammed with books and books related to these gigantic beasts. Now, by working at the CFDC, I finally got to live out my childhood dream. For once the books about dinosaurs have now been replaced with fossil excursion supplies! Everyday I get to hike through beautiful vistas, explore new dig sites, and most importantly find fossils! Thank you Dave and Anita for giving me this opportunity.

Fun is the second word I would choose because this is exactly what I experienced! I owe this to the summer staff. I got to work with eight of the coolest people! Here are few words that only us fossil crew members will know:

The Cobra
Rubik's Cube
Slushie and Bike
Big Brother Updates
Wedding Updates
Anthropology
HESPERONIS
Food Critics

Also, the volunteers played a major role to the overall fun! They were great company. Each volunteer managed to put a smile on our faces. I would like to also say thank you to the volunteers for being my number one blogger fans! You guys have kept me motivated every week to keep making the blogs entertaining. And I am sorry Paul we couldn't find your plesiosaur!

There you have it! From reading my blogs you have seen my perspective on what working at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre was like. Thank you once agian to Anita, for letting me write these blogs every week!













I hope those of you who read my blogs can come down to the museum and experience these two words as well, fun and adventure!

-Kod a.k.a The Insider

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Corn and Apple

This week we've been doing some major cleaning for corn and apple... not for actual real corn and apples, but our annual Morden festival, Corn and Apple!

Corn and Apple festival is a time where the community celebrates Morden by running a three day fair. People from all over the place come to see the spectacle and for our free corn and apple cider. So all of this means that we're going to have LOTS of company!

We've been dusting every nook and cram, windexing every glass surface, and vacuuming every single dust particle. Also, we finally got the text panels for Bruce's room setup just in time for corn and apple. They look great! On the panels are cool pictures and a detail description of the two specimens that are in that room.

Including making the museum spick and span we prepared a gift shop downtown. The gift shop is located on Stephen street, next to John's Bakery. I had the privilege to design a window painting for the gift shop. I painted a huge elasmosaur that stretches its neck across the window and on the bottom of the window sill I painted corals and sea weed. So when your in line waiting for your cob, please check out my Di Vinci work!

But I better wrap up this blog, the museum opens in a few minutes, and I can already hear the corn and apple crowd coming!

-Kod

Monday, August 20, 2007

Manitoba-Montana Exchange Complete

The 2007 Manitoba-Montana Paleontological Student Exchange was a great success this year. A total of 5 participants in Manitoba and 6 in Montana ventured into the worlds of dinosaurs and marine reptiles.
To re-cap the exchange in Manitoba was a bit wet to say the least but they still managed to find mosasaur fossils. In Montana the weather was the complete opposite, very hot. We helped field jacket dinosaur bones and worked on a Triceratops.
Thanks to everyone who participated and made the exchange a success including, Destination Sports Outfitters, Manitoba Culutre Heritage & Tourism and DAP Plaster.

Photos of the exchange can be viewed at http://www.discoverfossils.com/ under the field research section.

Action movie!

Just like a ticking time bomb in a fast pace action movie, the fossil crew has 2 weeks left to find an elasmosaur! And like an intense action movie, the fossil crew braved the extreme heat and dangerous terrain last week to uncover ancient treasure! Okay, I am not proclaiming myself as Indiana Jones or anything, but last week was indeed action packed!

We karate chopped the start of the week with two paleo tours. The first paleo tour group found a mosasaur vertebrae, which is very well preserved. It is hard like a diamond and just as precious. The second group actually did collect diamonds! Pembina diamonds that is! Pembina diamonds are selenite rocks that grow naturally in the shale. Unfortunately, they aren't real diamonds, otherwise I would be a millionaire!

At the end of the week the fossil crew went back to the CFDC site with a volunteer, Dave Simpson, to work on the fish specimen. Dave is like the reinforcements the good guys send in a movie when the good guys need help. And help is exactly what Dave did. He helped us find two large fish vertebrae and something we haven't seen before at that dig site, a Hesperonis bone!! This find was the extra boost we needed. The fossil is about 5 cm long and in good condition. Who needs the wish list, when we have Dave? The fossil crew will continue to excavate in the area in hopes of finding more hesperonis bones!

So will this action packed movie have a happy ending? Will the fossil crew find a huge specimen before the summer is up? And will the recently recovered hesperonis bone lead to the very first complete hesperonis the museum has ever seen? Stay tuned to find out.

-Kod

Sunday, August 12, 2007

4 Simple Rules

There are several rituals and things you must do in order to have a successful excavation. The following is a list of 4 things I like to in order to find an amazing specimen:


1. Rub the Wish List
In our work area is a list of things we need to find. This step may sound funny, but rubbing the wish list is an absolute must before we search for the new Bruce. On this list the fossil crew has reserved a spot solely for rubbing and nothing else. By touching the list we hope to gain better luck and wisdom. So far it seems like we need to rub the list a little harder, we haven't brought an Elasmosaur home yet!




2. Think like a Mosasaur
This may seem even more peculiar than rubbing a list, but it served to be a very useful strategy. When your out at the dig site, there is vast amount of shale to look through, it's almost overwhelming to think where to begin. However, if you imagine your self as a scaly marine reptile with 3 sets of teeth, it improves your chances of finding a fossil. For example, by taping into the mind of a mosasaur you can imagine where he would have ate a plesiosaur and left the bones to fossilize. Stephanie and I like to say "If I were a mosasaur, where would I die?" Okay, I know its kinda far fetched, but at least I get to be a mosasaur for a day!



3. Pack Lots of Water

Packing lots of water is less of a ritual than it is as a survival tactic. Some days we will be out in the field for the entire day in the scorching heat. So it is very important to bring lots and lots of water. Staying hydrated is our number one motto.




4. Get Dirty
Here at the CFDC, we like to say, "if you didn't get dirty, then you didn't have fun!". You can't help but get dirty at the dig site. At the end of the day your usually covered head to toe in shale. The best part is when it gets on your face and you don't know about it. So next time if you see me, and it looks like I have a beard, its actually shale! Getting dirty is apart of the job. Once I worked on a fish specimen, and I got up and I realized I had been wallowing in a cow pie! Why do I always have to do the "dirty" work??



So there you have it folks, these are the 4 absolute must to do things before we search!

-Kod

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Busy week

Foremost, I apologize for the short length of this blog. I got into a bit of a biking accident, and it has limited my ability to write a lengthy blog! So kids, the next time your biking, always bike with two hands and remember that a slushie is not more important than your elbow! I kinda learned that the hard way.

Other than my fiasco with the bike, this has been a quiet but busy week. Corinne was gone all week, enjoying her wedding holiday! Congrats Corinne! So when she comes back, we will all have to call her Mrs. Bueckert now! Also, Anita has been gone all week too in Montana, taking part on the student exchange. By the sounds of the Montana blogs, it seems like shes been finding lots of fossils. With those two gone, it sure has been quiet in our museum. However, we had our hands full with programs.

This week we had several days doubled booked with paleo tours, and Ryan almost had Dino Day camps every single day of this week as well. Most of the paleo tour groups worked on the fish site at our new property. Lately there have been larger fossils surfacing next to the fish, right under a layer of jarosite. Those fossils are currently unidentifiable, but hopefully with the help of our summer program participants we will be able to find more fossils and identify it. Perhaps it's a Plesiosaur with an ammonite in its belly?

In the end, it was quite a busy and fun week. But we can't wait until Corinne and Anita gets back, and I can't wait until I can jump on my bike again!

-Kod

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Montana - Day 6

Our final day was a nice easy pace after the past couple of days. We began at the Triceratops site, but sadly did not find any new fossils to help complete the skeleton. Lots of pictures were taken and will be posted soon.

After a couple of hours we made our way to a new look out to view the K/T boundary. The boundary marker where the Cretaceous and the Tertiary meet, or the point where dinosaur fossils are not found above this level. Most research conducted on the K/T boundary is from this locality.

So after the hard week we put in we came back to base camp early, had a nice BBQ while relaxing before the big travel day back to Manitoba.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Montana - Day 5

WOW!!!!! What an eventful day! I'm not even sure where I should begin. We had a history lesson this morning visiting 3 quarries previously excavated 102 years ago by renowned paleontologist, Barnum Brown.

Out of the 3 quarries an original rock hammer was found now currently in the Garfield County Museum. The third quarry we visited is the type locality for Tyrannosaurus rex. It was neat to see the original pictures of them transporting the field jackets on horse drawn wagons and then to stand right there at the same spot.

We headed back to base camp for a short break until dinner. The evening ahead of us was going to be a challenge. The objective was to load the Torosaurus onto a flat bed from a 10 foot high bank where it was discovered.

I don't know where to begin. Wood was breaking, the jacket was sliding, the truck jumped its blocks and eventually the engine had flames twice. Needless to say we pulled together as an awesome crew and eventually winched the 800 pound jacket onto tires. At this point it was too dark and we couldn't strap it to bring it into town. That joyful task of unloading will be saved for another day.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Montana - Day 4

Back to the Triceratops site for some more. The day was off to a great start. Two of our participants located several new ribs going back into the wall. The interesting part was the ribs are located on a fault and we could see where they had shifted from.

A crocodile tooth was the highlight of the day for me. Its the closest thing to marine fossils here in Jordan, how could I not be excited. The tooth was only a centimetre in length but the preservation was very nice. That was the first fossil crocodile tooth I'd ever held in my hand.

The day was broken up by looking at some of the geology at North(Long) Point. The view was amazing and included the Fort Union Formation (Paleocene sandstone), the Hell Creek Formation (Cretaceous mudstone) and the Fox Hills Formation (Cretaceous sandstone). Lots of pictures of the trip have been taken and will be posted on the CFDC website http://www.discoverfossils.com/.

Today was one of the longer field days we've put in. We came in for a quick dinner and then headed back out to begin work on a Torosaurus we'll be bringing back to base camp tomorrow evening. We made a great start and should have it transported back by late evening.

Montana - Day 3

We were off to a great start this morning. The entire CFDC crew and a student from Scotland headed to the Triceratops site and began to plaster a field jacket of the skull. We reviewed the preliminaries and made a really good jacket. The jacket will be heading off to Philadelphia in the fall.

The afternoon was spent in the Garfield County Museum where we saw some marine reptile fossils from the Bear Paw Shale (the equivalent of the Pierre Shale in Morden) and of course lots of Triceratops material.

The evening was spent visiting the Hell Creek Bar, where scenes from Jurassic Park III were shot. It was amazing knowing so many paleontologists have visited this exact bar and sat where we were sitting.