Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Science in progress. Burpee Museum (Rockford, IL), October 7, 2014.
October 7, 2014

Left at 8:30-
Scenes from the road:
~A man standing in a grassy median/His jacket is a cocoon of tight green wire/His feet nose the road's last deer/the shadow back bronzes into a secondary sunrise/Pulls a phone from the jacket to his ear/Three russet plumes of leaf bonfires~
-arrived at 9:30
10:45 am: I’ve finished writing up the paired set of cervical ribs. I then spent some time double checking the sequence of the rest of the cervicals and numbered them with a new set of Post It notes. I then resumed writing up the remaining ribs (there are two to go – I am presently writing up Cervical rib E). I covered a lot more ground during the previous visit than I remembered.
11:03 am: IL and CO removed the left dorsal ribs from the mount and brought them down to where I am working in the collections. I expect that I’ll reach the dorsals today.
11:56 am: We leave for lunch; just before that I was siding the last cervical rib, which appears to be from the right side. The capitulum is snapped off and the anterior end of the cranial process is damaged, and the degree of bilateral symmetry is extreme (unlike the preceding ribs), which briefly threw me.
12:54 pm: Back to the ribs!
2:06 pm: I finished writing up the last free cervical rib (Cervical rib G), but there are a few loose ends: I still have to photograph several of them in multiple views, and I have to compare my rib descriptions with those of Brochu (2003) and Brusatte et al. (2012) to fill any holes in the description.
I’ve started writing up the left dorsal rib 1, but it nags at me that its complement is preserved and is attached to the skeleton upstairs. I leave the collections room to check the gallery; indeed, the first dorsal is there on the right side, and it is more complete than the left bone that I have started penning.
3:09 pm: Returned from the gallery with the first right dorsal rib in hand, which IL just removed for me.
4:07 pm: Microsoft Word just crashed when I copied a heading, “Osteological correlates, ligaments”. It takes a few minutes to reopen the program, open the file, and find my place. Luckily, only two subheadings were lost in the crash; I save the document compulsively as I write to minimize the cost of these frequent, frustrating, crashes. Luckily this is only crash today.
4:24 pm: I wrap up, having nearly completed the description of the first dorsal rib, where I stopped after getting several paragraphs into “Osteological correlates, muscles”. The manuscript has reached 377 pages.
Left at 4:35 pm-
Scenes from the road:
~The sky is mitered by long, crushed anvils/The full moon waxes oblate in a silent ascending drill~
References cited
Brochu, C.A. 2003. Osteology of Tyrannosaurus rex: insights from a nearly complete skeleton and high-resolution computed tomographic analysis of the skull. Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Memoir 7: 1-138.
Brusatte, S. L., T.D. Carr, andM.A. Norell.  2012. The osteology of Alioramus, a gracile and long-snouted tyrannosaurid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 366: 1-197.

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