• Stacia Martineau

If You Show a Paleontologist a Dinosaur Bone...

If you show a paleontologist a dinosaur bone, they will ask you where you found it.

Volunteer Bob shows off a fossil he’s found.

When you show them, they will want to take a closer look, so they will ask you to help them brush it off.

Site Manager Cory and Intern Maeve work together to brush dust off a hip bone.

When they get a closer look, they might discover that the bone goes into the rock.

A dinosaur’s long bone continues into the hillside.

They’ll ask you to grab the toolbox from the truck…on top of the hill.

The suburban waits in a cow pasture.

By the time you get back, the paleontologist might have gotten carried away and dug up most of the bone with a dental pick. They’ll ask you to go back to the truck for some glue to fix the broken pieces.

Intern Maeve pours glue over a dinosaur bone in the ground.

While they’re gluing the bone back together, they will ask you to mark the dinosaur bone on a map and take plenty of pictures.

Site Manager Cory records data in the site journal.

You may point out that there is a lot of rock on top of the bone.

Site Manager Cory inspects the rock overburden above the dinosaur.

The paleontologist will grab a shovel and start removing the rock. You will get to hold the bucket.

Staff and interns remove rock overburden from above the dinosaur.

After the rock is cleared away, you and the paleontologist will spend hours picking away the last layer of rock.

Site Manager Cory and Intern Dana slowly remove the dirt on top of the dinosaur bones.
Intern Maeve picks away at the rock while Site Manager Cory constructs a plaster jacket.
A wide bone starts to be uncovered.

And if you do, you might find a left leg, and then a right leg…

Intern Aaron and two participants pose next to the left femur of a duckbilled dinosaur.

Then the hips…

Then a rib cage…

The rib cage of a duckbilled dinosaur is cleaned off in the sunlight.

Finding the ribs will make the paleontologist hungry, so they’ll want to stop and eat lunch.

Interns Maeve and Dana eat lunch above the dinosaur.

After lunch, you keep peeling away rock. You might even find a skull!

Intern Dana points to the jawbone she has discovered.

Before you know it, you’ve found an entire dinosaur!

The crew gets ready for a day of excavation.

And when the day is done, and you’re sore and tired, the paleontologist will ask you to bring the toolbox back to the truck on top of the hill. And while you’re walking you just might find a dinosaur bone.

The crew heads back to the truck after a long day.

And if you find a dinosaur bone, you just might be tempted to show a paleontologist.

A boy holds dinosaur bone fragments in his hand.

All of the above photos were taken during TMDC's public dig programs. For your chance to see what happens when you show a paleontologist a dinosaur bone, hop on over to www.tmdinosaurcenter.org/dig-programs.

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