The bone yard reunion

Adam, with his wife Celeste, try and put the pieces together

If everything fits together it will be a 200-million-year-old reunion.

Two pieces of fossilised bone belonging to the same dinosaur brought together after eons of erosion, geological upheavals and scores of ice ages.

The fossil looks like any piece of dirty rock, easy to miss. But the trained eye of palaeontologist Dr Adam Yates noticed the rounded angles of vertebra, of a dinosaur that once roamed the borderlands of South Africa and Lesotho.

At first, little was thought of this poorly preserved fossil, found lying in the veld, and it was given away.

But later with other fossils collected from the area, all possibly from one dinosaur, that dirty piece of rock became all that important.So the fossil had to be brought to the collection room of the Wit University’s Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research where a reunion awaited.

This room holds mysteries, here lie the bones of dinosaurs yet to be named.

In a draw is a 10 cm long fang. The tooth came from the jaw of an unknown predator, perhaps seven metres long, that prowled what is now a corner of the Free State, in South Africa.

Adam calls this beast Carnivore X and one day he hopes to find the rest of it.Some of these fossils in this store room were collected decades ago and are still waiting for a Phd student to come along and take an interest.

From a draw Adam pulled out several fossils. Anyone of these bones might have millions of years ago been part of the fossil I’d returned.

One by one, he picked them up and tried to find a natural join with the new fossil.Adam tried different angles, working the fossils like a big 3D jigsaw puzzle.

He couldn’t get a perfect fit.

Then Adam returned the bones to the draw.

There would be no reunion.

About Shaun Smillie

Journalist, with a love of bones, fossils and other things dug up. Fisherman and occasional beer maker.
This entry was posted in dinosaurs, palaeontology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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