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Fossil hunting in unexplored dinosaur country

This is what it’s like to be a paleontologist out in the field, from waking at dawn’s first light, to digging in the rocks, to wrapping or jacketing finds, to gathering around the campfire, exhausted and covered with dirt. It’s rugged but exciting work under the sun and sometimes into the night. From National Geographic:

Fossil hunting has always been stubbornly low-tech. When it comes to fieldwork, not much has changed since the great “bone rush” of the 19th century, when discoveries in the Wild West sparked a furious campaign to get fossils out of the ground and into the great halls of East Coast museums…

“We use the same techniques because they work,” said Ian Miller, who heads the department of earth sciences at the Denver Museum. His preferred tool: a six-pound pickax with a hickory handle. “A good one is hard to get these days,” he said. “But they don’t break.”

They’re hunting for fossils in an area that was a part of a Late Cretaceous island continent called Laramidia, which was separated from the rest of North America by the Western Interior Seaway. Read more about their groundbreaking and ever-surprising work: Digging Utah’s Dinosaurs.

In the archives: a dinosaur nest through Google Glass, Utah’s newly discovered Siats Meekerorum, and more dinosaurs.

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