Dinosaurs of the Bahariya Oasis, Egypt - Page 2 of 3
2003 Grant Recipient
Matthew C. Lamanna, University of Pennsylvania
The first few weeks of the expedition were extremely frustrating. It didn't take us long to relocate the bones Josh had found in 1999, but we soon realized that very few of them were useful. Most were largely destroyed through years of exposure to the harsh Saharan wind. We were ready to give up, when on January 27, 2000, we decided to revisit the site where Josh had seen his first dinosaur bone at Bahariya. And there we would make a discovery that surprised us all. Several of us gathered at the site, and began to clear away the sand from the bones Josh had found the year before. Slowly more bones appeared, in reasonably good condition and encased in rock, rather than lying on top of it. Josh and our friend Jason, a specialist in fossil excavation, began to dig up what they thought were separate bones. But as time went on, it became clear that they were working on a single specimen. What could it be? Finally, after many hours of careful excavation, the entire upper half of the bone was revealed. And there was no doubt- it was an upper arm bone, or humerus, from a long-necked plant-eating sauropod dinosaur. It was the biggest dinosaur humerus I'd ever seen. We were pretty sure that we had found something special.
The author excavating the left humerus, or upper arm bone, of Paralititan, Bahariya Oasis, February 2000. Photo © 2000 Dr. Joshua Smith.
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