Earth Sciences in Mongolia

Earth Sciences doctoral students John Graf and Thomas Adams, who provided the reports for this blog, along with Professor Louis L. Jacobs, are traveling to Mongolia as a part of a multi-international dinosaur expedition hosted by the city of Hwaseong in the Republic of Korea. The purpose of the project is to discover, collect and study dinosaur fossils from the Gobi desert in Mongolia, which is one of the most important dinosaur localities in the world.
In addition to SMU researchers, the multinational team includes researchers from Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) and Paleontological Center, Mongolian Academy of Sciences and the University of Alberta, Canada. The project will be augmented each year by additional researchers from countries including the United States, Canada, Japan and China.

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The final push begins

Aug%2031.jpg We have four days left until we return to Ulaan Bataar, and the push is on to finish all the ongoing excavations and close the quarries.

John, Louis and I will spend the rest of our time excavating and plaster jacketing the Barsboldia bones.

The anterior portion of the tail has been exposed, as well as the tip of the tail next to it. It looks like the whole tail is curved around and buried in the hillside. Using a jackhammer, we will take the hill back about a meter to expose more of the fossils and make room for us to work. With so little time left, we will plaster jacket and collect just the material exposed.

Barsboldia is a poorly known lambeosaurine hadrosaur (a duck-billed dinosaur). It is named after Ligden’s father, paleontologist Dr. Richen Barsbold. It was a large quadrupedal plant-eater with very tall neural spines on its vertebrae. Until now, it had only been known from a single specimen.

(In photo: Ganzorig (with shovel) and Thomas removing part of the hillside to expose more of the Barsboldia bones.)

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