My favorite kind of art to do is “gesture drawing”. These are quick drawings, taking anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes, trying to capture the essence of a pose. These drawings tend to be simple but full of energy and life. I do it every day to warm up, and try to carry some of that same energy into my finished drawings. Usually gesture drawing is done with the human figure, but I find that paired with “book” study of any form, human or animal, doing lots of gestures is a great way to get an intuitive sense of their anatomy.
All dinosaurs hatch from eggs, including extinct dinosaurs and modern birds; as do crocodiles, the living group most closely related to dinosaurs. Until the 1980s, discoveries of fossilized eggs and bones of young dinosaurs were extremely rare, but dinosaur eggs have now been discovered on several continents, and fossils of hatchlings, juveniles, and adults have been found for most major groups.
One remarkable find was in Montana, where fossils of duckbill dinosaurs, including eggs, nests, hatchlings, juveniles, and adults were found together in one death assemblage, or mass grave. The eggshells in the nests were badly broken, arousing speculation that the hatchlings might have crushed the eggs while moving around the nests. Some paleontologists think this site was a nesting colony, where adult dinosaurs cared for their young during the first several months after hatching.
#WomeninSTEM Wednesday: It’s #NationalFossilDay… and guess what happened? BLM Recreation Planner Discovers Dinosaur Bones in the Road
BLM Colorado Little Snake Field Office Outdoor Recreation Planner Gina Robison was walking along a remote BLM road 30 miles south of Craig, Colorado, when she saw something in the road. There, literally in the road – as in embedded in the road – was a very large leg bone.
BLM Mining Engineer Jennifer Maiolo returned to the site with scientists from Colorado Northwest Community College (CNCC), who confirmed that there was indeed a dinosaur bone in the road. It was unclear how long people had been driving on top of it.
With the help of four CNCC paleontology students, they carefully excavated about a half-cubic meter of rock that contained a dinosaur tibia and rib bone estimated to be 74 million years old.
“The bones appear to be from an adult duckbill dinosaur,” said CNCC science professor Dr. Liz Johnson. “The tibia appears to have one completely intact end, and I am hoping to identify the genus once it is prepared.”
Dr. Johnson says that if more bones are found, they will likely be parallel or perpendicular to the original bones based on the fluid dynamics of bones moving in water.
“My personal experience tells me that if three bones are found in a location, it makes a site more likely to be productive than just two bones in isolation,” she says.
Since there were no other bones found in the immediate proximity, the BLM will likely re-grade the road this fall.
“The grader could reveal more bone, suggesting a more lucrative site and a future summer excavation,” Johnson says. “However, we won’t know until rock is moved.”
CNCC is an approved BLM repository for paleo resources, so the staff and students will continue preparing the specimens this fall. CNCC Professor Kathy Simpson and CNCC students Kate Ellis, Matthew Ellis, Lauren Ellis, Robert Meyers and Sue Mock assisted with the excavations.
Story by Gina Robison, BLM Colorado Outdoor Recreation Planner.