Thursday, November 08, 2007

Collecting an Oviraptorid Nest in the Gobi

As part of the Nomadic Expeditions trip to the Gobi last summer we were fortunate enough to find and collect an oviraptorid skeleton on top of a nest of eggs.

The nest was found by Ph.D. student, Frederico Fanti (right, with Phil Currie), who was examining sedimetary structures in the Nemegt basin. The nest and skeleton were exposed in cross-section coming out of a cliff about 2 meters above the ground. Erosion had destroyed the tail and one margin of the nest but the rest was complete, including the skull. Frederico has his hand on the exposed portion of the nest.

Work commences on the specimen. You can see the stacked dunes sequences on the cliff face.

Much of the excavation was done in the rain. Many thanks to Nick Longrich who had the foresight to bring a large tarp (for protection from the sun he thought!)

Clive Coy, Frederico, and Phil work on the specimen.

Frederico expresses his opinion on hardness of the rock that had to be carved away.

Tom Owen, Eva Koppelhus and Miriam Reichel pedestal the nest and skeleton.

The block was rolled in a van and the field jacket finished as we pulled out of camp at the end of the trip - everything always happens at the last minute!

Victoria Arbour, Federico, and Miriam celebrate the successful collection of the specimen.