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White River Outing


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It's been a while since I posted a trip report. The past two weekends have found me out at the White River Fm in eastern WY. The first weekend was just a day... but I found some cool bones. Found a titanothere site. Looks like quite a bit of at least one animal had been here, but much of it has weathered away. After poking around the site, I found some broken tooth bits on the surface, and quickly realized it was a jawbone sticking out of the ground. Way cool. I have never found this many titanothere bones, or a jawbone. Wyoming had a very wet April and the area is greener than I have seen it in years. Beautiiful.

Here is the road going in to the Ranch. The ranch has been sold, so the big sign I posted last year of the Ranch is no longer there. But here is a dirt road going towards the Seaman Hills.

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Here is the titanothere site I found near the end of the day. A vertebra is seen lying on the ground up close. There are titanothere bones all along this ridgetop and along the sides. The area in the black circle is full of titanothere bones, but those over there are really badly preserved. I had to beat a hasty retreat away from the rainstorm. But not before collecting a nearly complete vert and a rib.

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Here is the jawbone as exposed before I touched anything... a few broken tooth pieces and some bone showing.

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Last weekend I went back and brought my girlfriend along. She's new at this fossil game but did a great job. Despite the fact that she said early on..."Hey we have three days, can we go to South Dakota on the third day. I've never been to South Dakota". So, watch out, there will be a few pix from SoDak at the end.

After a few hours of digging by Becky and me, here is what we had. Pretty cool, not just one jawbone, but a fused matched set, left and right and a really cool procumbent incisor. Here is the jaw.

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In case you can't see the teeh, in this next photo they are below the red lines. We are looking onto the chewing surfaces, more or less.

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And this shot shows the beautiful incisor.

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Here is Becky working real hard at pedestaling the jaws (she had a good teacher, I like to think).

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We plaster jacketed the thing and rolled it over. Here are a few action shots of that.

Writing a label on the plaster.

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Ready to the roll it over.

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On the count of three... "ONE TWO FIVE Three sir"

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And fortunately nothing rolled out the bottom.

And then we hauled it out. The site is behind the biggest badlands hill in the background. Becky took this picture from the car. It was about a 3/8 mile walk with a 150 pound rock. The dolly came in rather handy.

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And then we're off to South Dakota. Becky had never seen Mount Rushmore, and I also convinced her we should stop in at the Black Hills Institute in Hill City. You know, to see if they have a titanothere jaw on display. If you guys ever go through the Black Hills... gotta stop in Hill City. Great little museum. (Their titanothere jaw is much smaller than mine... hehe).

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And finally a collapsed old homestead on the Ranch at the base of the Seaman Hills.

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  • I found this Informative 1
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Uncle Siphuncle

Whoa! Killer outing!

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Man Id love to hunt the White River formation! Great find!

But about the name of the ranch and the surrounding hills..... :blink:

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...about the name of the ranch and the surrounding hills..... :blink:

Hush! I just got through overwriting the censor filters!

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Uncle Siphuncle

i noticed all that too but kept quiet...

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Terry Dactyll

Great report.... enjoyed looking at the processes you have used to collect that....

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Hi,

:goodjob: JP ! Can't wait to see it cleaned !

Coco

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Missed this the first time through but I'm glad I came back. what a great report and some awesome pictures too! Congrats on the Titanothere jaw. Are you going to see if there are more collectable bones around that area?

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great trip, and great pictorial through the process.. I love when people show it that way.

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I did find one vert while exposing the jaws.... to be collected later. There is no sign of the skull on the surface, no teeth or weird skull bits, so I think the skull should be underground somewhere. But it is a huge area. Could be a multiyear project. As for the name of the ranch and the hills, this is one of the funniest things I have ever found in my looking over maps and such. But it gets even more interesting... there's a family named Ball who temporarily owned part of the Old Woman Hills (found my only allosaurus tooth there). You have to drive through the Ball land to get to the place. The Cummings family just sold their place which abutted 's the the north. And the big Johnson Ranch covers some land on the southern edge of the Seaman Hills. I couldn't make this stuff up.

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oops... I tripped the censors again. Sorry auspex.

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OMG, too funny. Glad I'm not the only one with a mind that picked up on those "names". Like Dan I figured I would remain quiet until someone else saw it too.

Oh yea, cools jaws dude! Sounds like Becky's a keeper if she doesn't mind fossiling around like that.

Daryl.

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JP, great thread and finds! Loved the variety of pictures. Regards, Chris

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