Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Dr. Pat Druckenmiller: Extreme Paleontologist!

"We ate and ate and ate. I ate the fattiest sausage I could find. I ate nothing but fat."
From Billingsgate.com:

The hunt for ancient sea monsters sometimes calls for extreme paleontologists. One, Pat Druckenmiller, flew 800 miles away from the North Pole, rode a boat across an icy fjord and jumped into the sea to reach the shore where no one lives except polar bears and reindeer.

Student Linn Kristin Novis, left, and Pat Druckenmiller discuss sausages during an expedition to the Arctic. Photo courtesy of Natural History Museum, U. Oslo

Then the Montana State University scientist hiked, rifle in hand, across an Arctic island to map the remains of 28 sea reptiles that are 150 million years old. The biggest sea reptile found - a predator nicknamed "The Monster" - had a skull as long as seven feet and a body as long as 40.

After pitching his tent in the tundra, Druckenmiller helped set up a trip-wire system to scare away polar bears from camp. Then he ate fat - lots of fat- to keep warm.

"We ate and ate and ate. I ate the fattiest sausage I could find. I ate nothing but fat," said Druckenmiller, who traveled to the Arctic last summer with a team of Norwegian-led scientists.

"The site we have chosen for next year's excavation is on a hillside with several exposures of shale," Dr. Jorn Hurum, co-leader of the team, wrote in an e-mail from the University of Oslo in Norway. "There will be three digs going on at the same time within five to 10 minutes' walking distance."