Poster or Presentation Title

Washing Technique Analysis for Microvertebrate Fossils

Access Type

Campus Access Only

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Start Date

April 2017

End Date

April 2017

Department

Environmental Science

Abstract

The Late Jurassic Morrison Formation in Wyoming has been known for over a century for it’s dinosaurian fauna. But it contains a much more diverse vertebrate fauna including mammals, crocodiles and croc relatives, fish, lizards, and smaller dinosaur remains. The techniques for recovering these smaller materials are different from the quarry excavations for large dinosaurs. Rock matrix is gathered in bulk, and then reduced using a variety of methods to remove unwanted rock while preserving the delicate microvertebrate fossils. This project examined the different methods of matrix reduction in the literature, then experimented with a new technique to determine if it resulted in sufficient matrix reduction and fossil recovery.

The system used in this study utilizes paint sieves. The process we used involves a five gallon bucket, a one gallon paint sieve / five gallon paint sieve, a bubble wand, and an air pump. We placed the bubble wand on the bottom of a filled five gallon bucket with a one gallon paint sieve hanging from a stick that has been placed overtop of the five gallon bucket. We are able to compare the efficiency of the two processes by measuring percent reduction of the matrix.

We used different washing techniques but the last, and most efficient technique involved soaking a 1 gallon paint sieve for two days and agitating it after each day of soaking. The average percent reduction was ~72%. We continued to use this procedure for the rest of the experiment.

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Brooke Haiar

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Apr 5th, 12:00 PM Apr 5th, 1:00 PM

Washing Technique Analysis for Microvertebrate Fossils

The Late Jurassic Morrison Formation in Wyoming has been known for over a century for it’s dinosaurian fauna. But it contains a much more diverse vertebrate fauna including mammals, crocodiles and croc relatives, fish, lizards, and smaller dinosaur remains. The techniques for recovering these smaller materials are different from the quarry excavations for large dinosaurs. Rock matrix is gathered in bulk, and then reduced using a variety of methods to remove unwanted rock while preserving the delicate microvertebrate fossils. This project examined the different methods of matrix reduction in the literature, then experimented with a new technique to determine if it resulted in sufficient matrix reduction and fossil recovery.

The system used in this study utilizes paint sieves. The process we used involves a five gallon bucket, a one gallon paint sieve / five gallon paint sieve, a bubble wand, and an air pump. We placed the bubble wand on the bottom of a filled five gallon bucket with a one gallon paint sieve hanging from a stick that has been placed overtop of the five gallon bucket. We are able to compare the efficiency of the two processes by measuring percent reduction of the matrix.

We used different washing techniques but the last, and most efficient technique involved soaking a 1 gallon paint sieve for two days and agitating it after each day of soaking. The average percent reduction was ~72%. We continued to use this procedure for the rest of the experiment.