This is the Gorgosaurus preparation update for December 15-17, and 20-23. Progress continues unabated, but is visually hard to see as so little rock gets removed now. Some days less than a sugar cubes worth is removed. Much of the work now is stabilizing rock with glue and doing fine cleaning of the bone surfaces. The last of the back of the head is now uncovered and it looks like the skull will be 520 mm long give or take a couple millimetres. The skull preparation is essentially done now- only a few minor cleaning and fixups required. Much gluing of tiny cracks is being done.
Most preparators use big eyedroppers or medical-grade syringes to inject glue, but I find both too coarse to get the job done, so I developed my own handheld modified eyedropper system years ago. My old modified eyedropper was falling apart so I recently made another. I take a plastic eyedropper and snip the tip off so it can firmly carry a medical grade syringe needle tip. The tip of the needle is carefully ground off. This is done so one does not accidently inject themselves with glue or get stabbed. We have a wide variety of needle sizes (gauges), from tiny (diameter of fine hair) to large (pencil lead diameter). The needle is pressed against a crack or hole and the bulb of the eyedropper gently but firmly squeezed. One can see the glue actually move along the crack and adjoining cracks as it wicks along. This is very time consuming, but necessary work. This is usually done on surface bone, whereas the glue bottle dispenser concept shown in a previous update is more for internal bone and matrix stabilization.
Areas of harder rock are softened with tisse paper lumps soaked in water. These are placed upon problem areas and allowed to sit for 10 minutes or so. When removed, the rock has usually softened up enough so that it can be carefully scraped off.
This will be the last update this year, they will resume early next year. Happy Holidays Everyone!
And indeed happy holidays and all that jazz from me too. See you again in a few days, I have exam papers to mark.
All photos here and in the series are owned by Darren Tanke and the Royal Tyrrell Museum.