about 15 to 18 feet long. It is also called the bulldog fish, occasionally, because of its resemblance to the canine. They were such great finds that on Tuesday, we decided to field jacket them.
After a dig tour on Tuesday, Lisa and I headed down to our research site where Joey, Anita and one of our volunteers, Tanya, were preparing to field jacket the fish jaw. They dug a small moat around the fossil, surrounding it with a buffer of shale. To protect the fossil we gathered mud from a nearby pond (dried up at this point), and packed it over the fossil as a protective layer. The next step was very amusing as we had to relive our kindergarten days and start playing with plaster! I was
the lucky one who got to mix the plaster: which was slightly stressful as you had to mix it to the right consistency and then hurriedly run strips of burlap through it before it hardened too much. Tanya and Lisa would then wrap the plaster-covered strips around the fossil, mud and shale so that there were no air pockets or sharp edges. It was a quick process as the plaster started to dry almost immediately. Next, after the plaster dried, we dug under the fossil so that it was on a type of pedestal. When there was enough room, four of us flipped the fossil and its matrix over so we could plaster the bottom. It was a delicate process as we didn’t want the fossil and shale to all fall out. Our first field jacket was a success as it made it back to the lab in one piece!
|Teaching us to field|
|Digging a trench under|
|Our finished product!|
|The grid for mapping|