Preparation projects often involve ongoing or revised planning and the Gorgosaurus is no exception. It was originally planned to prepare the specimen showing one side only as it was unclear how much (or how little) of the skeleton was there. However, with all the preparation we have witnessed on this blog and the Royal Tyrrell Museums Facebook page, those plans have now changed. We now know much of the skeleton is present. Given the small size of the skull (about 50 cm long), several researchers have expressed their desire to have the skull removed and fully prepared. There is also an interest to see what was preserved on the other side as it was not fully uncovered in the field owing to preservational issues (shattered rock) – issues best dealt with in a controlled laboratory setting where there is no exposure to the weather and no time pressure commitments which often frustrate a field worker. In about 1.5 weeks there will be a meeting among Tyrrell Museum senior staff and others to decide the future of the preparation phase of the Gorgosaurus. It seems likely it will be flipped over and worked from the other side. If that is the case, then I can make plans towards that eventuality and prepare/not prepare certain areas. All or some of the specimen seen in the pictures here may be moulded first. Some of the better preserved parts may be removed permanently. Or none of this may happen. A future update will detail these revised plans.
The pictures today were taken on December 3rd. The Gorgosaurus underwent an extensive cleaning. As all pieces visible and their surrounding rock are now glued and stabilized, it is OK to carefully vacuum up all the rock chips and dust. Once that was done the pictures were taken from a raised platform and a ladder which gave a vantage point about 2 metres above the specimen.
Dave adds: Here I’m first reposting a couple of the early photographs to show the contrast and just how far Darren’s work has come in just a few weeks. For drama, the new images are below the fold. As ever, all photos here and in the series are owned by Darren Tanke and the Royal Tyrrell Museum. These should not be reproduced or embedded without permission.
And now the progress: