John, Louis, Dave and Nam-Soo spent the majority of the day working a fossil turtle locality, located near base camp. This was a site that Louis had discovered last year while working in the same region. Hundreds of turtles are preserved in layers of sandstone that was deposited by a river channel system. Like the therizino and ornithomimid quarries, this site had also been poached by pirates.
Turtle material seems to be one of the most common fossils in Bugin Tsav. No matter where I go, I find turtle shell. This is very telling as to what the environment must have been like 70 million years ago – a green river valley with enough water to support a large population of turtles, fish and dinosaurs. The mystery is that we find very few fossils of crocodiles.
(In photo: Fragments of shell from three different types of turtle.)