07 March 2009

weekly update/in the news: we're on basic cable!

Lab assistant Trevor Valle made a totally awesome -- personable, even -- appearance on G4's "Attack of the Show" this week. Clip is embedded below!

Trevor had a great time, Kevin was a great interviewer, and we're hoping this'll turn into a recurring thing. Their studios are across the street, after all...

Meanwhile, back at the project...


We've taken a break from the large deposit -- Box 1 -- to focus on the little crate that could -- Box 10B. It's about 5' x 5' x 4' deep, and filled with wonderfully soft and squishy asphaltic sand and dirt -- SO much easier to excavate than Box 1. Not nearly as dense a deposit as Box 1, but we have found a wide range of rodent, rabbit and bird bones (including a beak), some dermal ossicles, and the jaw of a dwarf pronghorn. We're making quick work of this deposit; it's been open for about a month, and we're already more than half way done with it. Two things to note in this picture:
1) Check out the awesome lean-to that volunteer Richard Simun rigged up out of spare parts strewn about the excavation compound. We are well-shaded and sunburn-free!
2) The box was originally 2' taller than it is in the photograph; we've been removing slats from the tree box as we dig down. We'll be doing this for all of the deposits. It makes it easier to dig, and easier for the public to get a look at what we're digging.

Things you can't see in the picture above -- Ryan sprained his left wrist! But fortunately, he is going to be...


...a-ok. He's out of town now, but will have a "Note" on that sometime next week.

And though the sediment is a lot softer than that in Box 1 (I'm sitting next to it right now, with Spencer Bronte digging -- he just found a big bird bone!), it's not without its hazards:


I broke two screwdrivers this week while chiseling. Good time to test Craftsman's warranty, eh?


Michelle said...

That was my favorite chisle...i had fixed it with duck tape the other day :(

Excavatrix Laura said...

I found most of a squirrel skull in there today, it's sooooooo cute!
(Well, at least as cute as a tens-of-thousands-of-years-dead, fleshless, furless rodent CAN be, I suppose.)
Anyway, I'm very excited! Pictures to be added later, I promise.
-Excavatrix Laura

Spencer said...

My favorite finds of the day are still Laura's beetle specimens. We've got both elytra on both specimens, and on one the ventral portion of the thorax, the other, the ventral portion of the abdomen (from what we can tell). Very impressive, Laura!


Kirstine Steavenson said...

Cool video! I knew the animals came alive at night!

Sorry about Lonely Boy's injury. I'm sure he's made up some elaborate story, when in truth he really fell off a bar stool.

Try Gorilla Glue on your screwdriver. That stuff will hold anything!

Doug said...

awesome video. Though a missing leg shouldn't be too much of an obstacle for mounting a mammoth skeleton. If a museum in Italy can mount a legless mammoth, then you guys should have no problem with a tripod!

However, a recreated excavation does sound pretty cool. That certainly would be interesting with a big bull mammoth. Especially one with complete tusks.

And about the broken screwdrivers, maybe you should try a jackhammer bit. Not an actual jackhammer, just the bit (use it like a chisel). Considering what that thing stands up to, shouldn't be too difficult to chip through tar matrix.

andie said...

we do use actual chisels, and I'm pretty sure we have a couple jackhammer bits here and there -- but a lot of us nevertheless prefer long screwdrivers. They're smaller, and thus easier to drive into sediment in the first place, and lighter, so they're easier to use as "scoops" when necessary. The longer ones are particularly handy because they don't force us to crouch over the deposit quite as much as shorter tools.