Utah Dinosaur Digs

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Utah Dinosaur Digs

2006 and 2008


The biology and environmental science department has twice teamed with the geology department on the latter's annual dinosaur dig.  The geologists have a secret Utah base where there are a number of dinosaur skeletons that they have excavated in association with the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History.  The trips are normally for 2 weeks and involve camping in primitive conditions in the desert (we have to haul our own water in, there are no toilet facilities, etc.).  In addition to helping at the "pit", the biologists explore the desert biota in the vicinity.  Each trip also features visits to areas of biological and/or geological significance on the way out and back.



The first set of images are from an electronic journal kept on the 2006 trip:


Here are some maps showing the trip out and back.  You can right-click on the maps and open them in a new tab or window at larger size. 







Frequently Asked Questions

1.  What was this trip all about?

Well - the geology department has been heading out to dig dinosaurs for about 30 years.  It seems that Professor Emeritus Dwayne Stone (his real name) - AKA Stoney - had dug dinosaurs with Jim Madsen in Utah in the 60's.  Over the years the trip has been led my many of the geology faculty including Stoney, Fred Voner (who had to miss this year for the first time in 23 years due to medical problems) and now Dave Jeffrey and Veronica (Rocky, of course) Freeman.  For the last 2 years Dr. Steve Spilatro of the Biology Department went along, and this year he and I (mostly him) organized a class for biology students to take in conjunction with the trip.  Our goals were to see the flora, fauna and geology of the Utah desert site, as well as several places along the way.

2.  Where, exactly, are these dinosaur bones found?  (From a person who is not a professional fossil rustler)

    Dear not a professional fossil rustler:  There are several possible places where we were digging the fossils:

  1. In Greenland (go during the winter)
  2. In Michigan, on a horse farm.
  3. 0.0000000 degrees N by 180.000000 degrees W
  4. In the exercise yard of the Marion Federal Penitentiary
  5. At the St. Augustine alligator farm next to the chicken-dropping platform.
  6. At an undisclosed location.  Ask for Dick, he'll show you.
  7. Yucca Mountain, Nevada.
  8. In cyberspace.

3.  Whose ugly handwriting is this?

Dear Sister Florentine:  It is not mine.  You taught me much better. 

4.  How were the web pages put together?

I wrote the pages on my tablet PC in Microsoft OneNote then exported as a jpg file.  The jpgs are then loaded into the respective web pages with the handwriting as part of the jpg.

5.  What is the meaning of life?

This question is frequently asked - but rarely answered.

6.  What time is it?

Also frequently asked - look at the right hand bottom corner of your screen.

7.  What's with the music?  (From someone who is not a lawyer for Reprise Records)

Dear Counselor: On our first night in camp, pitmeister John Bishop  welcomed us to the desert.  It was well after dark, and after his greeting he asked us to turn off all the lights.  He reached in his truck and cranked up some Enya - I'm not sure which - and that and the stars pretty much left us all speechless.  It's not often in today's world that you can be outside and not see a single source of human light.  The two starfields in the slides were taken there.  It was an experience to warm the human heart (that is an organ we humans have).

The selection that loops is about 30 seconds from Enya's Shepard Moons.  You can go to her website at: http://www.enya.com/main.php; there is a link to buy her stuff at Amazon.com.   If you decide to sue me anyway, the address for the summons is Biology Department, Muskingum College.

8.  Why are there so many pictures of _blank_ and so few pictures of ME?

    Dear me:  there are several possible reasons:

  1.   I like _blank_; I don't like you.
  2. _blank_'s check cleared; yours didn't.
  3. _blank_ went on the biology classes; you spent all your time at the pit, except for the morning I was there.
  4. I broke 4 cameras on you - what do you want - blood?
  5. _blank_ is way better looking than you are.
  6. Your parents' check cleared.
  7. The dean will not let me post pictures of people fogling.  
  8. I DID post your picture.  Look at the classes page - that really is you, not Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, or whoever you look like.
  9. The internet's check cleared.
  10. You never took off your "Marietta College S***S" T-shirt.
  11. Have you checked the right pages?  You may have been looking under "classes" or "camping" or even "mammals".  Try the lizards, snakes or insects pages instead.  Some of the photos were kind of a judgment call and I may have miss-classified you.