恐龙国度的发现

IM电竞官方APP下载 paleontologists and students have unearthed significant dinosaur fossils — including a possible new species — in the Montana badlands.

这是蒙大拿东部不毛之地7月潮湿的一天, 上午十点左右的气温已经逼近三位数. 被野火的烟雾笼罩着, the sun casts a primordial gleam on hills built up by eons of sediment and eaten away by wind and water.

IM电竞官方APP下载脊椎动物古生物学馆长格雷格·威尔逊·曼蒂拉说 伯克自然历史文化博物馆,向外示意,这里曾经是一个完全不同的地方.

“这是恐龙之国,”他说.

大约6600万年前, 一只三角龙在离威尔逊·曼蒂亚站着的地方几英尺的地方咽下最后一口气. 这片古老的土地肥沃肥沃, crisscrossed by rivers snaking their way east from the young Rocky Mountains to North America’s inland sea. The Hell Creek Formation (as the layers of sedimentary rock are now known) was teeming with plants and animals — and dominated by dinosaurs. 三角龙死在这里后,它最终被埋葬在泥里. Until now.

威尔逊·曼蒂拉的后面是伯克大学古生物化石实验室经理凯尔西·艾布拉姆斯. 她大部分时间都待在恒温实验室里, 精心准备的化石 来自世界各地. 但每年有两周的时间,她会前往遥远的挖掘地点, 为化石开采和保存提供咨询, 管理志愿者团队的人现在聚集在一个软泥岩的山坡上, 蜷缩在部分出土的三角龙周围.

威尔逊·曼蒂拉和艾布拉姆斯是IM电竞官方APP下载训练的古生物学家, 四名IM电竞官方APP下载学生和应届毕业生, 还有其他学生和志愿者. They’ve traveled to this remote locale for the opportunity of an aspiring paleontologist’s lifetime: to be at the front lines of dinosaur discovery.

志愿者们则从外围铲起岩石,小心翼翼地从化石骨头中撬起泥岩, Abrams speculates that this Triceratops was picked clean by scavengers or tossed about by running water — scattered into puzzle pieces that she’ll reassemble in the lab. 然后,她和几个学生讨论IM电竞官方APP下载谋杀悬疑的想法. 毕竟,他们是侦探.

This is what hooks many budding paleontologists: the ability to lift the veil of the present and peer back into the distant past, 人类从未见过的生物在地球上游荡. And to learn more about what their extinction — and the species that rose in their places — might mean to us today.

格雷戈·威尔逊·曼蒂亚宝丽来
Kelsie艾布拉姆斯宝丽来

飞机在山坡上飞行

他在空中检查他的牛, 一个牧场主发现一只三角龙的角从山坡上伸出来.

找到一次飞越

研究小组一开始是怎么知道这里有化石的? 这一旅程始于2019年, when a Montana rancher flew his plane over the property he leases from the Bureau of Land Management. 当他在空中检查他的牛时,他注意到一个奇怪的东西从山坡上伸出来.

农场主告诉威尔逊·曼蒂亚, 近十年来,他一直在自己的土地上寻找化石发现. 专家们最终确认这是三角龙的角,” in paleontology slang) — a large herbivore that roamed the Late Cretaceous landscape alongside its foe, the T. 雷克斯霸王龙,直到恐龙时代结束的大灭绝事件. 为了向牧场主致敬,威尔逊·曼蒂亚将其命名为Flyby Trike.

因为大流行推迟了一年, Wilson Mantilla and Abrams cleared their calendars for July 2021 and pulled together a team of volunteers and students from the IM电竞官方APP下载 and other universities. 伯克年度的K-12教育工作者 挖掘领域的学校 项目也会帮助挖掘, 把他们的第一手经验带给华盛顿和全国各地的学生.

离三轮车的地方只有几百码, prospectors with permission to scout there followed trails of “float” — shards of fossilized tendon and bone that drift down the hill — to their origins like breadcrumbs, 发现了另外两只恐龙的化石. 距离主星系团六英里, 一位勘探者帮助威尔逊·曼蒂亚又发现了一块很有希望的化石.

挖掘还在继续.

Bruce & 朱迪思,探矿者

行业工具

每天到达主要挖掘地点后, 志愿者肩背包, 整理装备和装满佳得乐的冷却器, 开始徒步前往三个化石之一:三角龙, a hadrosaur (duck-billed herbivores) or a theropod (meat-eating dinosaurs that include tyrannosaurids and velociraptors). 一个较小的团队正在挖掘第四具化石, a rare theropod that sends a fresh wave of anticipation through the group: It just might be an entirely new species.

他们一边走一边拍打着黑苍蝇,并拉下帽檐遮阳. If chisels, 刷子和铲子是挖掘工作必不可少的工具, 防晒霜也是如此, 杀虫剂和大量液体——尤其是在盛夏的蒙大拿州东部.

On this day, IM电竞官方APP下载学生伊泽贝尔·鲁伊斯, ’22, kneels next to a large hunk of Triceratops frill — the distinctive armored plate extending above its massive head — and carefully uses the point of a rock hammer to pry mudstone away from what might be another bone. IM电竞官方APP下载毕业生韩瑶, ’20, 采取更温和的方法, 从一大块似乎有碎裂危险的骨头碎片上刷去污垢. Abrams covers it with a special glue to protect it until she can meticulously separate fossil from rock back in the lab.

鲁伊斯停下来喝了一大口佳得乐(Gatorade)饮料,蹲在头顶破旧的防水布下, 去任何她能去的地方荫凉. 她擦了擦额头上的汗水,休息了一会儿 tink岩石锤的声音在她周围回响,逐渐露出更多的三角龙. 然后,回去工作.

It’s the opportunity of an aspiring paleontologist’s lifetime: to be at the front lines of dinosaur discovery.

发掘线索

The possibility of a new discovery adds a blast of excitement to what is already a peak experience for second-year transfer student Zeke Augustine, ’23. 他刚从那个小点的地方回来, 在那里,他帮助挖掘了一个可能是新物种的东西,或者可能是一只“来自地狱的鸡”,” paleontologists’ nickname for the rare Anzu wyliei — an 11-foot-long theropod estimated to have weighed up to 650 pounds. 的脊椎, 威尔逊说头纱, 对窃蛋龙来说是正确的吗, 化石的大小与安祖属相似. 他们将在化石制备实验室了解更多, 但奥古斯汀, 终身恐龙爱好者, 帮助IM电竞官方APP下载找到了线索,骨盆, vertebrae, 四肢和四英寸长的爪子,威尔逊·曼蒂亚称之为“内脏”.”

今天,奥古斯丁带着更大的群体回来了, 专注于一种更常见的鸭嘴龙——但挖掘任何一种恐龙都是古生物学的梦想.

这些不是你在电影中看到的化石,在泥土的映衬下呈现出鲜明的白色. 当溶解的矿物质渗入并取代有机物质时,化石就形成了, 以原始骨骼的形状结晶. 这就是为什么你不用高科技设备来扫描地面, 威尔逊·曼蒂拉解释说,这就像试图区分岩石. 你必须挖掘,而且要小心.

更重要的是, 化石很少被完整无缺地发现——它们经常被食腐动物分散开来, 在水中翻滚或在泥土中磨损. 奥古斯丁和埃迪·阿姆斯特朗的鸭嘴龙就是这样, ’20, 今天在做什么, 和志愿者文斯·布鲁斯卡斯一起.他每年都会和妻子儿子一起去恐龙探险.

研究小组发现了鸭嘴龙的臀部和腿部, and much of the fossil has already been encased in plaster for protection and safe transport back to the Burke. 奥古斯丁和阿姆斯特朗四肢着地,小心翼翼地挖出了几根椎骨, 与杂乱的泥岩相比,它们显得格外光滑.

当天晚些时候, volunteers help roll the other plaster-encased theropod fossil — a hipbone of an ostrich-size animal — onto a pallet, which the rancher then winches up the hill with his tractor and loads into Bruscas’ pickup truck for safe transport back to the Burke.

志愿者们小心翼翼地清除鸭嘴龙脊椎骨上的污垢.

志愿者们小心翼翼地清除鸭嘴龙脊椎骨上的污垢.

三角龙的牙齿上覆盖着一层胶水以保持完整.

三角龙的牙齿上覆盖着一层胶水以保持完整.

A rare theropod fossil sends a fresh wave of anticipation through the group: It just might be an entirely new species.
有人在山坡上用鹤嘴锄

横跨蒙大拿州部分地区, 怀俄明州和达科他州, the Hell Creek Formation is a roughly 300-foot layer of sedimentary rock formed between 67 and 66 million years ago. 这里可以说是世界上找到晚白垩纪化石的最佳地点.

过去的未来

经过一个月的挖掘, it becomes obvious to Abrams and Wilson Mantilla: The dig team won’t be able to excavate the Triceratops this year. 他们扩大的范围越大,发现的化石就越多. 还有很多东西等着被挖掘出来,他们的时间不多了. So, 保护它在冬天免受恶劣天气的侵袭, 他们在上面盖上绝缘灰泥,再在上面铲上泥石.

While Wilson Mantilla and Abrams look forward to returning next year — especially since the Burke Museum doesn’t yet have a Triceratops skull, 只有一个演员——他们对团队发现的东西感到兴奋. 比较常见的鸭嘴龙和兽脚亚目恐龙, 还有心皮化石和琥珀, 会在恐龙时代末期增加他们对该地区生物多样性的了解吗. 而兽脚亚目恐龙是在另一个挖掘地点发现的, 是一种罕见的安祖威烈还是属内新种, 会给地狱溪多样化的生态系统带来新的启发吗.

“Each fossil we collect helps sharpen our views of the last dinosaur-dominated ecosystems and the first mammal-dominated ecosystems,威尔逊·曼蒂拉说, 当恐龙从地球上消失时,哺乳动物是如何崛起的. “有了这些,IM电竞官方APP下载可以更好地理解生态系统的脆弱、崩溃和组装.”

Ruiz, Yao, Augustine and Armstrong return with something of their own: The experience of a real-life field dig to complement their classroom learning and help launch them toward their dreams of becoming paleontologists.

有一天,它们也可以帮助IM电竞官方APP下载了解过去是什么,可能是什么. 事实上,威尔逊·曼蒂拉和艾布拉姆斯会说,他们已经做到了.

“这不仅仅是凯尔茜或我在做的事情,”威尔逊·曼蒂亚说. “这是一支完整的球队,每个球员都扮演着重要的角色.”

 

摄影:丹娜·布鲁克斯,21年,丹尼斯·怀斯. 所有活动和摄影都遵循了当时的COVID-19安全协议.

最初于2021年11月发布

Amber

除了骨骼化石, 挖掘队发现了树脂化石, 或者琥珀色(如图), 和种子豆荚.

被包裹的化石,准备被带回伯克

被包裹的化石,准备被带回伯克

鸭嘴龙的股骨有多大? 兽脚亚目恐龙的髋骨长什么样? 伯克是自愿发现了安祖威列还是一个新物种? And how, exactly, 你会从包裹在坚硬的泥土中的杂乱的骨头变成展示出所有荣耀的化石吗?

你自己看: Visitors to the Burke Museum can now watch paleontologists remove rock from the hadrosaur and both theropods. All four dinosaurs will be held in trust for the public on behalf of the Bureau of Land Management and become a part of the Burke Museum’s collections.

参观伯克

最初于2021年11月发布

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