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By Erik Tunstad We found the head! And at the same time solved a 150-year-old mystery! What an ending–not only for this year’s season, but for the whole project of the Spitsbergen Jurassic Research Group! The buildup was perfect. The long necked plesiosaur we’ve nicknamed “Britney” was found last Sunday, and the digging started on Monday. At the beginning it didn’t stand out, except for giving a faint hope that somewhere, deep in the rocks, there could be a skull. On Thursday we started to expand the already fair sized quarry by chain saw. At that point, the mud had already been bothersome for several days, and it would only get worse. Saturday, Jørn asked us to tear down the mountain side. Since this is our final field season in Spitsbergen, this was absolutely our last chance to find the skull of a plesiosaur. Sunday was horrible between the cold wet weather and the backbreaking labor of digging. As other team members completed their excavations, more and more of the group’s attention turned to this extraordinarily big hole we had been digging–all the way up at the top of the slope. Final Push I went there with Pat this morning. Determined, he started breaking away shale like never before. We others sat there waiting. The wind was freezing, we hunched together–the excitement was tangible. A couple of hours before lunch, we had 43 neck bones exposed. Just how many cervical vertebrae this animal could have, no one knew–but if it were to be a Colymbosaurus, we should end at 46. Unfortunately, no one had ever seen the skull of a Colymbosaurus. Then we hit a downer: Pat noticed a layer of rock on the right side of the crater–and he didn’t find it again on the left. There must be a fault going through the hole –one side of the crater once upon a time having been displaced in relation to the other. What if the fault goes through the neck and at some point separated the head from the rest of the body–and transported the head deeper into the mountain? Or even worse; transported it up, where it became exposed and eroded away? At five p.m. the chain of cervical vertebrae ends. And there is no sign of anything else, either. The atmosphere hits rock bottom. Oh well, that’s that. I get up and take a few finishing shots of Pat and the others, deep down in the permafrost.
Originally posted by dayve
R you saying that picture number 2 is suppose to be picture number 1 put together....? Lol..... All i see is dirt