Tuesday, 2 February 2010

An Unusually Well Preserved Vertebra from the Hastings Group

First of all let me apologise for the lack of entries over the last couple of months. It’s been a pretty hectic time to be honest, but I have been keeping an eye on the palaeo-blogosphere and, boy, has it been busy out there or what? Lots of new critters already and it’s only the beginning of the year!

What I have done, however, is finished preparation of a cracking vertebra that was recovered in 2008 from the Wadhurst Clay (Hastings Group), not too far from Bexhill. It is Lower Cretaceous in age (Valanginian), about 135 million years old.

Unusually for a vert from the clay it obviously had some processes preserved and intact. This is really unusual since, although vertebrae from this formation are not exactly rare, they are often poorly preserved and water worn. This was obviously a special bone and I was very keen to do it justice.

The matrix that had encrusted the bone had also been its saviour and it was quite tough in places to remove but it was also, on occasion, surprisingly easy to remove. The centrum was fairly easy to clean but the processes were especially tough to clear. Surprisingly perhaps, the neural canal was easier than I expected to clear out.

Throughout the whole procedure, there was only the one repair required – one of the tips on a prezygopophysis came away but this was easily stuck back together with B72. Other than that, a light dressing of B76 was all that was needed to finish the job. Overall the bone was nice to work with and rather forgiving when it needed to be.

What we have here is an anterior caudal vertebra from Iguanodon (MWB-014.0408). It’s hard for me to reduce it to the species level although I’m almost certain it is bernissartensis but, for now, Iguanodon Sp. will have to suffice.

The images will give you a brief idea on the process involved. I hope you enjoy the images as much as I enjoyed prepping it.


David Swensen said...

Interesting finds, but what is more odd is the fact that only the vertebrae was found - or so? Keep digging.

saurian said...

This particular venue, whilst producing fairly regularly, seldom turns up associated material. Like I said, most of the bones are well water worn suggesting that carcasses of all types were probably scattered far and wide. Isolated elements of dinosaurs, crocodiles, fish and pterosaurs have all been recovered over many many years.

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