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Dinosaur Dig; Done and Dusted

Friday, July 27, 2018

Being on the team for the Eromanga dinosaur dig is an exceptional experience on so many levels. You are not just working with a team of experts digging up massive dinosaur bones but you are a valuable team member in a small group learning the whole process from beginning to end, how to recognise new dinosaur sites, how time has shaped the surrounding landscapes and how important it is to discover and preserve our Australian dinosaur heritage.

In the evening you watch the sunset across the wide open spaces, enjoy your hosts generous hospitality, conversations and a wonderful meal under the stars in front of beautiful warm campfire and finally being able to fall asleep in the comfort of clean linen and warm rooms of the shearers quarters.

Each day brings its own new discovery and something new to learn about this ancient continent of Australia.

This was the second year we had dig at this dig site and previously we had nicknamed the dinosaur from this site ‘Monty’. ‘Monty’ is looking big…very big. Many bones were removed at the last dig and during this period we ran out of time to remove all the bones we had found. A large area of exposed rock full of dinosaur bones was left to remove this dig as well as continue to uncover more of the bone bed.

National Geographic spent five days on the dig with us filming for a documentary ‘Only in Australia’. The first episode is due to go to air in October 2018. The Nat Geo team were fantastic to work with and I have to thank our dig team for being so accommodating of their many filming requests.

Over the two weeks many more new bones were found and most all cocooned in protective rock but some we were able to simply be removed from the rock and expose beautifully preserved dinosaur bone! Our small but hardworking team had a huge job ahead of them to remove as much of the exposed bone before the end of the dig. Massive plaster jackets…we did it!! Well done dig team 2018.

We thank our ongoing support from our sponsors whom without we  would not be able to remove the amount of material that we did. With a special thanks to SANTOS for helping sponsor the dig, IOR for fuelling our project, Eromanga Contracting for their supply of heavy machinery and Plevna Downs for their use of the land and machinery.  

The bone bed continues and several bones were well covered, protected and left for next year. We look forward to seeing what more of this giant lies beneath.

Robyn Mackenzie 
Field Palaeontologist & General Manager ENHM

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Holotype?

A holotype is a valuable original specimen that describes a new species.  It is a term used to describe a specimen that is the first known of its kind anywhere in the world.  A holotype can be any type of fossil, and it serves as the name-bearer of the species.  Even if a better specimen is found, the holotype is not superseded.  These are rare and exciting discoveries, which help fill important gaps in the fossil record. 

Every animal and plant that is scientifically described is represented by a holotype.  If a scientist wishes to study the unique traits of a species, it is usually the holotype specimen they study.  The holotypes are the crown jewels of any museum collection.  These priceless specimens need to be stored and conserved at standards that meet the Code of International Zoological Nomenclature.

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