No rest for the weary! After the big multi-day dig, I was up in Barrie helping to downsize a house and got to keep some supplementary tools that will help at the prep bench and in the field. A selection of awls, sandpaper, tiny screwdrivers, and even a fish knife all come in handy when paired with the precision tools I use.
So began a bit of prep.
This is the placoderm plate that I chased to its end. I'm thinking it is a plate from Protitanichthys rockportensis.
I'm always looking to hone my preparation skills, so practicing on less than perfect trilobites is ideal. The one on the left is by far the best of the two, but could still use some restoration on the right side by grafting a bit of cephalon and the right genal spine.
Small and battered, this goniatite is now clean.
Although incomplete, this Tornoceras unioangulare has some stunning detail after I put it under heavy abrasion.
A pity this one is missing a few pieces, but not a bad preliminary prep if I do say so myself!
Some of the other trilobites are going to be much tougher work, and they are also missing pieces. The main thing is that my prep skills are improving with practice. Beyond that, someone from the University of Calgary has shown some interest in the placoderm pieces I pull from the Widder Formation. There is a remote possibility that I might have something new to science, but who knows? Just as a refresher, two previous placo pieces that might be worth studying:
It's just too darn hot to go out collecting these days, but I'm really hoping to get out there relatively soon, if not also a possible trip to Western NY pending Deb's work schedule.
Well, it has been a while since the last blog post, but a flurry of recent activity has seen me on multiple days out in the field with fossil comrades doing extensive excavation at our hide-y hole in the Devonian strata. Being bogged down with work has meant that things were quiet on the fossil front for much of the month of June, and a surge of fossil activity here at the end of the month has been exceptionally productive.
Of course, the first few days are about site preparation: digging out overburden, hauling out blocks to dry before splitting, and bench extension while searching for the productive horizon. All that hard work certainly paid off well, and I can safely say that I came away with at least twelve or so full Greenops, a few lovely pyritized cephalopods, and even two very significant examples of placoderm armour.
There were rainy days that made it a slog, but between the group of us (five of us in total, but with people pinching in and out), we moved and split a significant amount of rock.
What now remains is a lot of preparation. The images here are all field fresh, and should come out quite stunning.
Definitely a trip-maker. Finding a complete Greenops widderensis makes for a good day, but this lucky split yielded a multi-plate of three. As these were delicate, and it started raining, I had to douse these in cyanoacrylate quickly so that it would survive the trip home. It is right now in the hands of my friend Kevin who will prepare it and possibly poke around to see if there are any others hiding in the rock.
Loads of trilobites. The last image is of one that has its tail stuck under matrix in the negative, so I'll be gluing it together and prepping it down. Finding so many over a few days meant that we were digging at the right spot.
And yet a few more. The one on the top right is very small and tucked in nicely in the jagged fracture of the bedding plane. The one at the bottom was a very tricky one because the rock wanted to break in every which direction. I had to chisel groove around while another of our crew stabilized it with his hand. A slow process to tap gently, stop, and observe where the crack is going. Sadly, it came out a bit broken on one side, but we wicked the glue on the running cracks and collected any bits of shell that came off to be reapplied during prep.
We were coming across Devonian plant material a bit more often. This stuff is likely fallen pieces that the shore laps up and, after getting water-logged, falls to the sea floor.
Kevin found a real prize in this one. Nicely inflated, well preserved, and pyritized nautiloid.
Not anywhere near as dramatic, but two of my own cephs -- dirty Tornoceras.
A prize find: a good chunk of placoderm plate with that biggest piece being quite thick like a chunk of bone.
And yet another lovely piece of placoderm with full pustular surface. I'm still working away at it slowly on the prep bench, having yet to find where it ends in its companion rock.
In all, a fantastic trip. Great people, great finds. I have a lot of prep work to get to in the coming while.
Readers of the blog may recall a find from my Bowmanville trip back in late May, and the uncertainty of the species. Kevin excellently prepared this beauty, and although it is missing pygidial spines, it is indeed the rarer trilobite Leviceraurus mammilloides.