Paleontology is, by it's very nature, quite a slow process. A reasonably complete skeleton can take several seasons to excavate from the ground - much longer if the bones are encased in very hard rock or in a particularly difficult location (just ask anyone on our team who has helped us excavate the Triceratops bones from Johnsonops Hill the last couple of seasons!!!). Once back in the lab, the process of removing the remaining rock, re-assembling the pieces, cleaning and then studying them, is even slower - sometimes excruciatingly so! And don't even get me started on the length of time involved in the publication process!
So when I was asked recently what our research group - the Bighorn Basin Dinosaur Project - has published, there was no shame when the answer included only a short list of accomplishments. We've all been busy publishing a number of unrelated projects, and we did present a paleo-education focused poster to the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Meeting in 2013, and there was another poster presented to last year's SVP on the promise of crowdfunding paleontology research, but we simply haven't been doing this long enough to have discovered, excavated, prepared, and studied enough specimens to have a prolific research record . . . yet.
But that all changes, starting now. We're very proud and excited to announce that we'll be presenting our first "traditional" paleontology research study at #2016SVP in just a few days. Led by long-time BBDP leaders and paleontology students, Laura Rooney and Brittany Malinowski, our poster describes a new, relatively complete specimen of Leptoceratops the team excavated in 2014. You can see a pdf of the poster, attached.
This is just the beginning. We have a number of exciting research projects in the pipeline led by BBDP team members, but also several others lead by students and professors at numerous area universities. The future is very bright for the BBDP, and we'll be excited to share it with you. And just a reminder - so much of this success is a result of your support, so thank you!
Maybe we'll see you at SVP? Until next time, Keep Digging!