Dinosaur Excavation and Taphonomic Research Project


Dinosaur Project History Recovered Fossils Bone Catalog Aerial View Abstracts Reports  

The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful. If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing, and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not be worth living.
Jules Henri Poincare'


For several summers Southwestern Adventist University in collaboration with Earth History Research Center and the Hanson Research Station has been conducting an on-going dinosaur excavation and taphonomic research project in the Lance Formation of eastern Wyoming.

Excavation, recovery, and preservation of the fossil remains is a year-around endeavour involving teachers, students, and researchers.

The actual quarring is conducted on a private cattle ranch. The bones are located in an extensive and rich bone bed containing the disarticulated remains of several upper Cretaceous dinosaurs as well as a few articulated partial specimens. The genera found in roughly decreasing order of abundance:
  • Edmontosaurus
  • Triceratops
  • Thescelosaurus
  • Tyrannosaurus
  • Nanotyrannus
  • Troodon
  • Ankylosaurus
  • Pachycephalosaurus
The project is innovative in its use of digital techniques, including:
  • The use of high-precision GPS (Global Positioning System) based surveying equipment to measure the locations of every fossil remain
  • In-field digital photographs of every labeled and recovered bone, tooth, etc.
  • Complete digital data measurement with subsequent transfer to a computer data base
  • Internet access from the field with data transfer, news, photos, and web camera shots of the work
  • The use of a GIS (Geographical Information System) to reconstruct the quarries in 3-dimensions
  • A web-based catalog of recovered remains ( http://fossil.swau.edu/ )

2019 Expedition

May 30 through June 28

notes from the field

2020 Expedition

June 4 through July 3

notes from the field


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