Categories
Dinosaur Bone Bed News Uncategorized

Digital Innovation in 2000

I was looking back at field notes and photographs from the “Dinosaur Expedition 2000” online web updates. These images and written notes and labels all contain important data that was obtained during the two week long collection of new dinosaur bones at the site.

The project proved to be innovative in the level of online engagement, with daily written updates and photographs provided on the website of the Fundy Geological Museum in the evening after a full day’s work in the hot sun. The images were taken as Polaroids (R) – the fastest way to develop, scan, and publish images online at the time. Digital cameras were around but not yet quite affordable for regular field work.

This was very early days of the internet – and this was an early example of online updates during dinosaur digs. These updates are still available online through the Way Back Machine.

Click Here to see the the July 21 update:

Expedition Notes: July 21, 2000

The July 21 update is helpful – as it includes an image of the ilium that had been exposed that day. This is the earliest photograph of the specimen (FGM998GF13.46) – a right ilium that has several fault offsets cutting through the bone.

The images in the web updates were very small (8 kb) – because the early internet was very slow and images had to be kept small to avoid long page loading delays.

A copy of the first online photograph of the ilium, FGM998GF13.46 from July 21, 2000. It is small because the file size was very small to avoid long page loading times.

Years, later – back in the Preparation Lab at the Museum, the specimen was photographed several times while being prepared, and the sandstone was carefully removed away from the fossil bone. In these later years the digital images increased in size and quality as camera technology increased.

The medial view of a right ilium, FGM998GF13.46 – as the plaster jacket was opened and preparation was beginning.

Finally, after the bone had been fully prepared – it was then illustrated in a figure with the posterior portion of the ilium blade ‘reattached’, and published in a dissertation in 2007.

The online publishing of the updates from the dinosaur field work was innovative for the early days of the internet. Even twenty years later, these online updates continue to provide information to compliment the field notes, maps and photographs from the dig.

Categories
Uncategorized Updates

Good Weather for Dino Dig

Paleontology field-research requires hard and laboring work, but this year’s field season was particularly hot along the shore of the Minas Basin in Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy.

The Early Jurassic sandstone cliffs on the Bay of Fundy near Parrsboro, Nova Scotia.
The Early Jurassic sandstone cliffs on the Bay of Fundy near Parrsboro, Nova Scotia.

The truck arrived on Friday August 9th. The gear was loaded and the crew was ready to go.  A tightly secured tarp was used to keep the supplies dry from the forecast rain.  This was a fortunate decision because there there was a torrential rainstorm in Parrsboro that Friday night that left nearly 80 mm of rain.

A tarp was tightly secured around all of the gear in the truck. It rained cats and dog.
A tarp was tightly secured around all of the gear in the truck. It rained cats and dog.

The weather during the rest of the field work was generally sunny.  Some days it was soaring hot.  When the breeze stopped, the Bay was calm and reflective as a mirror, and on these hot days there was no escape from the heat of the blaring sun.  Even under the tarps the temperature soared.  A darker tarp would likely have provided a more cooling shade.

The view from under the tarp during one of the hottest days in the field. Notice the mirror-like water due to the total absense of a breeze.  distance.
The view from under the tarp during one of the hottest days in the field.

Second only to water, shade was a treasured resource.

Wedge seeking shelter in the shade.

The one major weather challenge was the tropical storm when moving equipment into Parrsboro during the start of the dig.  Although there were a couple of days when an intense wind that played havoc with the tarps and blasted beach sand into our faces; in general, the 2013 Bay of Fundy Dinosaur Dig had very good weather.