When desperation strikes

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).

4 Responses to “When desperation strikes”

  1. 1 Jaime A. Headden 20/04/2009 at 5:01 pm

    I’m surprised at this, actually. Does Corwin know that Neimongosaurus, Segnosaurus and Beipiaosaurus have preserved ankle material?

  2. 2 David Hone 21/04/2009 at 12:59 pm

    Yes, but not in the exact orientation and condition he wants. He has very specific requirements for a project on theropod ankle evolution and the speciemns that have exactly the right conditions are very few and far between.

  3. 3 Jaime A. Headden 21/04/2009 at 4:18 pm

    Does he want them completely disarticulated, loose, and complete without erosion? Huh. If so, that’s a heck of a hope. I should think, though, that Nei Mongol Gobi fossils would be the best place to look, since it seems they have looser astragali and possibly calcanei.

  4. 4 David Hone 22/04/2009 at 8:06 pm

    Yeah, that’s pretty much it, and I think he knows how unlikely that might be, hence resorting to prayer in the first place…

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