Pretty much any researcher will be able to tell you of their ‘dream’ find. The one fossil they would love to discover and describe, or at least would love to have available so they could work on it as it would help their research so much. A whole Deinocheirus, a Tyrannosaurus with feathers preserved, a pterosaur with a 20 m wingspan, an allosaur with a stegosaur spike wedged in its braincase, a trackway of a sauropod walking bipedally – you get the general idea.
However, on our recent trip to Japan when given the opportunity to potentially obtain any one fossil in the world, my good friend and colleague Corwin Sullivan asked for something a little different.
While in one of the excellent parks in Tokyo was came across a Shinto temple and shrine complex. There you could write out a message and lave it (with a donation) for the priests to write out as a formal prayer for you. Many archosaurian researchers would have gone for something bold and dramatic and career changing, but Corwin? All he wanted was a theirizinosaurian ankle.
(Not that we know much about how the religion works, so my apologies to any readers if I report this incorrectly, or if in fact we trampled over someone else’s traditions).