Some more ‘not bone’ photos

Encrusted salt / minerals

Encrusted salt / minerals

Following on from the few photos I took in Henan this summer that fitted my ‘things that look like bone but on closer inspection turned out not to be’ post last year, I was able to scoop some more from Bayan Mandahu this summer for your education / amusement / something or other.

This is a bit tricky as if I just show off long-shots then it’s very hard to see anything much at all, but if I get good close-ups then these things are obviously not bone which rather removes the point. Hopefully I have judged things right and you can see that they look like bone, but are not, but can appreciate that form just a few feet further away they might compellingly look like fossil bone. Anyway, have some fossil wood, salt crystals, reprocessed fossil bone (that is bone, but not worth collecting) and this time some concretions that are not eggs as well.

Some gypsum (bottom left) and reworked bone (genuine, but worthless) top centre

Some gypsum (bottom left) and reworked bone (genuine, but worthless) top centre

Fossil wood, with an excpetionally bone-like suface.

Fossil wood, with an excpetionally bone-like suface.

Some not dinosaur eggs

Some not dinosaur eggs

5 Responses to “Some more ‘not bone’ photos”


  1. 1 mythusmage 03/07/2009 at 7:06 am

    Ah, but doesn’t the fossil wood give some clues as to life back when? May not be bone, but it remains informative none the less.

  2. 2 David Hone 03/07/2009 at 7:30 am

    Yes it is, and we did collect some. But it’s still annoying when it’s not what you are looking for. And as you (may) be able to see (it’s not a great photo) this has gone white as some calcite has built up on it which means you can’t see very much. So in this case it looks like bone, isn’t, and isn’t of much use as it has been altered and thus can’t tell you much about what it may have been like originally so not worth collecting. Damn you fossil wood!!!

    • 3 mythusmage 04/07/2009 at 2:33 am

      Even with the “adulteration” you can still learn a lot from that bit of fossil wood. Ask a mineralogist, geologist, or paleobotanist. That fossil wood can tell you a whole lot about local conditions at the time the plant was living, how conditions changed as it was buried and fossilized, and even how local geology and geography changed. It all comes down to knowing the questions to ask, and how the answers you get connect to other elements.

      So here are two questions for you: Is it from a conifer or a deciduous plant? A softwood or a hardwood? As a bonus: What do the answers tell you about local conditions at the time the plant was alive?

      My point?

      There are no subjects you can learn nothing from.

  3. 4 David Hone 04/07/2009 at 8:11 am

    All true…but: we only have limited time and resources to collect material from the site. It has already been pretty well studied from this perspective (palaeoecology, flora and faunal composition etc.) if admittedly some time ago, and we did indeed collect various pieces of fossil wood etc. for this kind of work (these are in the collections and freely available to researchers). However, our priority (i.e. our field team) was and must be collecting bones so that is what I was looking for and indeed in terms of writing an archosaurian based blog for people who are interested in archosaurs, pointing out how to spot and identify bone is the point of the post. I’m not trying to disaparage palaeobotany (indeed its essential to some of my ecology work and I was actively collecting fossil wood for a project I’m working on) I felt that this piece was no use for my work and the reworking and calcritic crystals would have destroyed what I wanted to see. Thus it was no use to me, nor the field team, nor would be any better than things we already had (both at the IVPP and in other collections) so I left it behind. That comment was a) contextual (and I appreciate you don’t have my knowledge of our collections or field projects and I didn’t exactly make it clear) and b) supposed to be humerous. Plants are very important, but when you are looking for bone and only find reworked calcritic wood it can be annoying.


  1. 1 Bones in the field « Dave Hone’s Archosaur Musings Trackback on 03/07/2009 at 9:23 pm
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