Take a trip with our paleo crew as they dig up dinosaurs in the rocky deserts of Utah! Learn how they find fossils, excavate them, and then transport them across the country for further study.
were in this area, sort of in the central part of Utah, and the reason we're here is there's a very thin, narrow strip of rocks that are about 98 million years old, and it's a time period. We don't know anything about the dinosaurs that were living here, so we came out here specifically just toe excavating Prospect. That little thin area. Brooke Yeah, this is one of my favorite places become Utah is an absolutely beautiful state, and all throughout their their sites that you can go and dig for dinosaur stick for other fossils. It's one of the best places in the world to come for fossils. So day one, we haul a lot of gear out to the site. We haul picks and shovels on It's amazing, and paleontology has arranged from a dental pick all the way up to a £60 jackhammer. And sometimes we flip between those pretty rapidly so we'll be jackhammering for a day, will take off all the overburden will be crack hammering with giant chisels will find a bone. Everybody slows down. We use smaller hammers. We use finer chisels to move rock that's close to the bone so that we can see what's actually in the story itself. Um, and we don't want to use a big pick axe, you know, right next to the actual fossil, because I don't want to damage anything. So we think of fossils as data right there. Not just pretty things that look at where they came out of the ground is very important because I could tell you a lot about the animal, how it died, what kind environment it was in. You looked for this story behind the bones and a large part of that story come from the geology. So we go to a site, we find the bones. We see what kind of set a minute standing. This is lake, is it? An ocean was deposited river very far away from a river. What part of the skeleton it's from, whether it's a vertebra, whether it's a limb bone, whether it's a claw or a toe bone. When we're getting a specimen ready for transport, we can't just take it out of the ground and put it in a truck and bring it back because it's too fragile. We uncovered the surface of the bone and leave it in the ground. We don't take it out of the ground right away, and then we'll mix up some plaster in water and cut burlap strips will dunk those in and cover that hole. Specimen encased in rock and plaster will undercut it and flip it over and jacket the other side, and it's all ready to go back. Once we excavate things and we wrap them in plaster and burlap jackets, we then have to haul them all the way back to the vehicles. We will strap it down with ratchet straps down to a backboard or sled and get a bunch of people around it and carry it together in unison, back to camp. We have a really heavy jacket and we can't drive up to the location. There's only one way to get it out of there, and that's using a helicopter lift. And that can get pretty expensive, too.