[N] 2006 New Ceratopian from the Wahweap formation, Utah
De Blieux, D., Kirkland, J. & Titus, A. (2006) Discovery, excavation, and preparation of the skull of a new Centrosaurine Ceratopsian from the Wahweap formation of Grand Staircase-escelante National Monument (GSENM), Southern Utah. JVP 26(3) Abstracts pp.54
The Utah Geological Survey (UGS), in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), has been conducting a multi-year project to inventory the paleontological resources of the Wahweap Formation (middle Campanian) of GSENM. In 2002, the partial skull of a ceratopsian dinosaur was discovered eroding out of a sandstone ledge in the middle mudstone member. Collection of bone on the surface and cleaning of the block revealed a nearly complete skull lying on its left side; part of the right side had eroded away, but over half of the skull remained imbedded in the rock. After obtaining an excavation permit from the BLM, we spent eight days over the next three years using a gas-powered cutoff saw to separate the block containing the skull from the surrounding ledge. We trimmed the block to the point where it weighed approximately 1,000 pounds, and encased the exposed bone with a standard plaster jacket to prepare it for transport. In September 2005, the block was transported by helicopter to a truck waiting on a nearby road and driven to the UGS preparation lab in Salt Lake City. Several hundred hours of preparation have been completed on this skull, which represents a new genus of long-horned centrosaurine ceratopsid. A variety of electric, pneumatic, and hand tools have been used to free this specimen from the enclosing sandstone matrix. Large-scale removal of rock has been done using the large gas-powered cutoff saw equipped with a 14-inch diamond blade. An electric angle-grinder with a 4-inch diamond blade has been used for small-scale rock removal. A variety of pneumatic air scribes have been employed to remove the rock adjacent the bone. We describe additional tools and techniques that we have found most useful during this process.