It was in September 1997 that I first traveled to Nova Scotia to begin my study of dinosaur skeletons at Wasson Bluff. I then spent the next ten years collecting new specimens, and completed my PhD dissertation describing what is now recognized as a bone bed of sauropodomorph (long necked) dinosaurs. Now, twenty-five years later, I am returning to the work to produce new publications that describe these important specimens.
My initial attention is focused on a specimen within the bone bed that is likely to be a holotype. The specimen (GF13-11) includes a partially disarticulated skull, articulated cervical, dorsal, sacral and caudal vertebrae series, pectoral girdle (scapulae, coracoids, clavical, sternal plate), humerus, pelvis and right rear leg.
The 200 million year old dinosaur skeletons are deformed by many faults. The faults cutting the skeletal elements are sometimes be complex and obliterate important details. However, the faults are important part of the context of the bone bed – located in a depositional setting located along a palaeoscarp formed by the Cobequid Chedabucto fault system of the Fundy Basin.
The dinosaur specimens were collected over multiple years (see Field Work) and it is only after the large blocks were prepared that we could develop a clear picture of how the multiple skeletons are laid-out.
One of the initial tasks for the new publications is to create an updated quarry map that summarizes ten years of field work and locates the potential holotype specimen within the bone bed deposit.
The updated quarry map is being produced using Adobe Illustrator, importing field maps (1998, 2000, 2004) and photographs of prepared blocks. Each of the unique skeletons will have a different colour, and the final figure will summarize the layout and faulting of the skeletons.
Tips for Students/Learners:
These types of visual skills are useful in natural sciences like palaeontology, providing powerful ways to document and communicate complex spatial information. Students who are interested in palaeontology will find it useful to learn how to use new digital drawing tools.
3D Dinosaur Bone Bed
As the quarry map details become updated the information is also being incorporated into the development of a 3D reconstruction of how the skeletons were oriented when buried. The quarry map provides the location of the elements and digital skeletons are posed to fit the map.
Stay tuned for more updates as the work on the quarry map continues to offer new insights.