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Field Journal
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The research group at the Cedar Mountain Dinosaur Project's east camp rose early in the bright Utah sun on Friday. The winds of Thursday had quieted and there were many bones to dig. By 9:30 a.m., nearly 60 bones had been extracted from quarry No. 4 and were being packed for shipment to Denver. In order to get to the bones still captive in the rock matrix below the surface, researchers have to remove the top layer of bone.

Disarticulated fossils, which are jumbled and don't resemble the skeletal patterns of familiar animals, are often layered bone on top of bone. This seems to be the case with the armored dinosaur called Gastonia being excavated at the Utah project. It will take the weekend and more to "…get to the bottom of this." If it took only a few hours to reclaim a dinosaur from the surrounding rock, everyone could be a fossil digger. The work of a skilled fossil preparator on a single animal may take months or even years. And consider that the bones being uncovered today are 120 million years old, while the Museum’s field season is only six days old, so this all could take a while.

Forty kilometers to the west of the digger camp, the prospecting team took to the field at 8:00 a.m. to again navigate the ridges and valleys of the Cedar Mountain rock formation. There have been a few clues over the past few days indicating that there are more dinosaurs buried here. A single bone section, which was discovered late in the week, and the discovery of the exact types of rock deposits in which nearly whole animals were found in the 1998 and 1999 field seasons, drives the team of 12 forward into another day of exploration.

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