Dinosaur dig bears more ancient fruit

Andrew
Andrew Wagstaff
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Why were these animals preserved for 200 million years?

Dr. Tim Fedak (right) discusses developments with Dr. John Calder (left) and Kennan Richard during the recent excavation at the Jurassic dinosaur bed at Wasson Bluff near Parrsboro. 

PARRSBORO – Ten days of recent field work at Wasson Bluff could lead to answers as to why previously discovered dinosaur skeletons were so well preserved for more than 200 million years at the famous site, according to Dr. Tim Fedak.

Fedak, who led the Aug. 9-18 excavation, said the dig – the first at the site since 2004 - was very successful.

“Every opportunity that we have to examine the site is very important,” he said. “This year we focused a lot on analysis of the sediments that buried the skeletons.

“During previous digs we have recovered articulated skeletons of at least five prosauropod dinosaurs,” he continued. “By examining the sand and mud that entombed the animals 200 million years ago, we can try to determine why these very rare skeletons were preserved.”

The team of scientists, volunteers and students put considerable effort into removing beach sand and rubble from above the previously discovered Jurassic dinosaur bone bed, and their work paid off. Several new bone specimens were revealed and collected, according to Fedak, who described the finds as disarticulated and isolated elements, representing different a skeleton that was spread over a wider area.

The dinosaur bones that were collected will be examined at Dalhousie University, during which the website (http://eDinos.ca) and Facebook page will be updated with photos and video explaining the methods and tools used to study the bones.

After the examination, the bones will find their way to the extensive collections at Fundy Geological Museum.

Another result of this year’s fieldwork was the development of 3-D digital models of the cliff and dinosaur bone bed through the use of sophisticated software and a high-resolution (24 megapixel) digital camera.

“The 3-D digital models will be used to study erosion at the site in a long-term monitoring study, and for recreating a digital version of the dinosaur bone bed, putting the bones back together again, digitally,” said Fedak.

Also present during the recent dig was a documentary film crew, and airing of the documentary is anticipated for later in 2014.

awagstaff@citizenrecord.ca

Twitter: @ADNandrew

Organizations: Dalhousie University, Fundy Geological Museum

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