Darren Tanke’s Gorgosaurus preparation: final roundup

I have been less than brilliant at cross-linking all the various Gorgosaurus posts that have been running now since December and finished yesterday with Darren’s final summary and update. It seemed sensible then to have a final little round-up on here back linking to all the previous posts and giving a central repository for everything up to this point.

I also want to use the opportunity to repost a few of my favourite images from the series which are scattered in below. Of course I also want to give huge thanks to Darren for all his work on this. I’d originally conceived of the series of being little more than some nice pictures shows the rock slowly clearing to reveal the underlying dinosaur with a few notes on what was going on. Darren obviously has gone way beyond this with a huge series of detailed posts and documenting every step of the process and every little trick and tip he has going. My thanks too, to the Royal Tyrell Museum for letting us do all of this and stick this, as yet undescribed, specimen all over the web.

Right, here we go:

Darren Tanke and Gorgosaurus

Pt. 1 Getting started

Pt. 2 Into the jacket

Pt. 3 The snout appears

Pt. 4 A maxilla

Pt. 5 Fixing the cracks

Pt. 6 A lucky break

Pt. 7 Safety first

Pt. 8 Removal and repair

Pt. 9 Epoxy and a foot is found

Gorgosaurus review and Q & A

Pt. 10 Filling the cracks and a foot uncovered

Pt. 11 A hands-free glue system

Pt. 12 Specimen preparation and planning

Pt. 13 Detailed work

Pt. 14 Until next year

Pt. 15 Finishing touches

Pt. 16 More cleaning

Pt. 17 Supporting the breaks

Pt. 18 That superb skull

Pt. 19 Preparing to mould

Pt. 20 Fixing undercuts, the final preparation

Pt. 21 The end

All photos here and in the series are owned by Darren Tanke and the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

Sometime after this roundup post originally appeared, Darren extended this series with some further work. These are linked to below so that the whole set can be accessed from this single post:

Pt. 22 Trenching

Pt. 23 Drilling

Pt. 24 Jacketing the skull

Pt. 25 Completing the skull jacket

Pt. 26 Numbers

Pt. 27 Adding burlap

Pt. 28 Replastering

Pt. 29 Block turning i

Pt. 30 Block turning ii

Pt. 31 Jacket removal i

Pt. 32 Jacket removal ii

Extra final bonus post.

14 Responses to “Darren Tanke’s Gorgosaurus preparation: final roundup”


  1. 1 mattvr 22/02/2011 at 10:12 am

    It’s been a superb and informative series of articles.

    Thanks to Darren and Dave!

  2. 2 Mike Taylor 22/02/2011 at 10:26 am

    It has been excellent, yes. And I am really looking forward to finding out how the casting is done.

  3. 3 David Hone 22/02/2011 at 11:07 am

    Thanks guys. I should add that Darren and I are planning a short paper on this series as a tool in sci comms about preparation and the behind-the-scenes aspects of palaeo. As such any more specific feedback about what worked well (or badly) and specifically things that came to light as being especially new or interesting or a ‘I never thought of that’ type thing would be most useful for us. Cheers.

    • 4 Jaime A. Headden 22/02/2011 at 2:33 pm

      Honestly, I think a layout of the tools and products used in consolidation, repair, fixing, and removal would be the best thing such a paper can offer. That’s what struck me about this series most (and Darren has always been a detailed sort of writer, so this should not be hard). The paper need not even be technical, but in the form of a narrative and review. It was far more interesting reading this as a story than it may as a technical piece on preparation.

      When a new stage of preparation occured, you may simply start a new section of the piece, as if it were a chapter, rather than a disconnected group of parts of preparation (e.g., “Tools Used,” “Consolidant Used,” “Parts Recovered” etc.).

      • 5 David Hone 22/02/2011 at 2:41 pm

        That seems to be across from what we intended. Our plan (such as it was, we hadn’t thrashed it out in detail) was to talk about how the blog posts have, hopefully, opened up some of this ‘secretive’ stuff to a wider audience and thus was more about the fact that people can see what the procedure was, rather than what those procedures actually entail and the practicalities of those methods (the posts already largely cover that).

    • 6 Mark Robinson 22/02/2011 at 4:03 pm

      I’ve already mentioned some of this in the other post but the stand-out stuff for me was *all* of the various tools, original and modified, that Darren employed at different stages of the process.

      Then there were the other pieces of apparatus constructed from bits of string and plastic tubing (well, you know what I mean) that were pretty much all directed toward improving the distribution of glue and facilitating its penetration of the specimen’s nooks and crannies.

      Plus I was surprised to see the amount of effort spent to make in-fill and even the edges of the field jacket look like natural rock.

      Most of the above could have simply been covered by a series of photos, but Darren’s attention to detail with explaining the why’s and wherefore’s significantly enhanced the value of the posts for me.

  4. 7 Gregory Carr 02/10/2013 at 4:16 am

    Thanks for a great series. I learned a lot. I’m working on an Ichthyosaur (we think) from Triassic Oregon and would like others to visit my blog. I think I’ll include a post on the tools of the trade that we use as well – that seemed very nice. We are doing complete bone removal from the matrix as it’s completely disarticulated and leaving the bones partially in the matrix we’ll miss a lot. See http://www.bernietheichthyosaur.blogspot.com.

    Thanks – Greg Carr


  1. 1 Gorgosaurus reconstruction « Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings Trackback on 27/02/2011 at 8:57 pm
  2. 2 The ecological implications of Zhuchengtyrannus « Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings Trackback on 02/04/2011 at 8:22 am
  3. 3 Upcoming features « Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings Trackback on 04/06/2011 at 10:08 am
  4. 4 Extra final bonus Gorgosaurus preparation post « Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings Trackback on 26/03/2012 at 8:05 am
  5. 5 Preparation, predation and a missing quarry | Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings Trackback on 19/05/2013 at 2:27 pm
  6. 6 Another incredible Gorgosaurus | Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings Trackback on 07/07/2013 at 8:47 am
  7. 7 Science communication and fossil preparation | Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings Trackback on 12/07/2013 at 8:53 am

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