Rain and Mud

With all the rain we had on the long weekend, it’s remained difficult to access most of our sites. One of the sites where we’ve spent a lot of time this year had a partial cave-in (nothing major), which wouldn’t be a big deal if the shale wasn’t from the upper Gammon Ferruginous member of the Pierre Shale (don’t worry about that too much). Upper Gammon is brutal when it’s wet, turning into a mass of sludge that sticks to shoes and shovels with equal tenacity. The cave-in is in a trench, too, making it even harder to get at. Nevertheless, Aaron, Eric (two other Field Techs), and myself spent some time digging part of the trench out last week after the first school dig tour of the year, which came all the way from Vita, MB. It was hard work, but life in the field is a lot better if we don’t have to walk or wheelbarrow through wet Upper Gammon.
Field work isn’t all hard labour, though! A few days ago, I found a tiny, really well preserved mosasaur vertebra (backbone). It’s smaller than any mosasaur backbone our curator has ever seen, smaller than Bruce’s very tiniest vertebra, which means that it’s probably from either a relatively small adult mosasaur or, even better, a baby mosasaur! A baby would be a great find, since they’re pretty rare. I’m really excited; this fossil is likely more significant than any of the few specimens I’ve found before.
Tours are really starting to heat up, so if you’d like to book one, do it quick! The weather’s only going to get better as summer approaches, and we’ll be opening more of our sites up soon. There are  half-day, one-day, two-day, and five-day dig tours available, as well as museum tours; if you’re interested, give us a call at 204-822-3406. See you soon!

Matt Remple
Field Tech