Sunday, March 19, 2006

Corythosaurus Pull

I’m in Edmonton at the moment helping friends dig out from the near-record snow fall. Tomorrow I head over to the University of Alberta to photograph some fossil material that Philip Currie and I are working on. Then it’s down to Drumheller to continue research at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology.

While I spend the evening shoveling snow enjoy these images from last summer.

In the summer of 2005 a Corythosaurus (duck-billed dinosaur) skull was collected from quarry 246, Dinosaur Provincial Park. To get the blocks out to a place where they could be picked up by a vehicle, Dr. Don Brinkman decided to use a modification of a "palaeo-cart" first developed by then RTMP technician Kevin Kruger.

Martin Kundrat and Nick Longrich assemble the cart. It's a series of light weight, pre-assembled aluminum scaffolding bolted together, with an axle with two wheelbarrow wheels.

The first block is flipped onto the scaffolding and lashed down with mountaineering rope. That’s Nick in the middle holding the rope and Don on the right. In the back Dr. Julia Sankey (blue shirt) and Dr. Brad Belluk (in red) supervise.

After rope loops are tied for handles the 1.5 km walk out is begun.

The only major obstacle to overcome is the 30m cliff to get down. Our final destination is the just beyond the low badlands in the middle distance.

A combination of lowering and dragging the cart down the coulee wall was successful. Time to travel from quarry to truck was under 45 minutes.

Stay tuned for more updates.

All photos © Michael Ryan