Year of Placerias
After a trip of 2080 miles we arrived at our field site near St. Johns, Arizona. The trip was exciting in itself, with a flat tire and severe storms in Arkansas, and high winds in Oklahoma and Texas. I always enjoy getting back to the high-desert, and seeing the different cactuses and wildlife including jackrabbits, antelopes, prairie dogs, and mule deer.
You never know what you are going to uncover when you begin to dig. Soon after we started, Dick Webb unearthed a number of phytosaur vertebrae; we were off to a good start. After four years we had not found many bones which could be attributed to Placerias, a cow-sized mammal-like reptile.
This year seems to be different. So far we have found several dorsal vertebrae (vertebrae from the back of the animal), a maxillary (a part of the upper jaw), a section of the brain case, an atlas vertebra (the first vertebra behind the skull), and a sacral rib (a rib from the pelvic part of the beast).
This is looking like a great year.