Darren Tanke’s Gorgosaurus preparation 23: drilling

When a specimen is flipped over one has to think in reverse regarding where the specimens various parts are then located. Boney processes that pointed one way, now point in the reverse. Bone processes that pointed up are now pointing down. So do I cut or grind away the plaster jacket here? Maybe not, there was a rib or limb bone there. Usually one just guesstimates where everything is but as the incredible Gorgosaurus skull is close to the original field jacket I did not want to do this. So what to do? I tried something different and have never tried before.

First I took a red marker pen and drew a line around the skull, several centimeters away, thereby marking a safe buffer zone. Then using that line as a guide, I drilled a series of spaced holes with a power drill and a long bit. The holes were drilled all the way through the jacket. In curved areas the holes were drilled closer together. When the block is flipped over, these holes will appear and the holes can be reconnected with a red felt pen and thus accurately outline the skull. As the jacket is then pulled and cut apart, the holes will always be there until the very end to remind me where the skull is.


I also spent a couple hours photographing the specimen under various light levels, angles and distances. These pictures will serve as a valuable reference when I prepare the other side and will be useful for future researchers.

6 Responses to “Darren Tanke’s Gorgosaurus preparation 23: drilling”


  1. 1 HP 07/06/2011 at 7:59 am

    The drill bit thing reminds me of the cartoon technique used in medieval and Renaissance frescoes.

  2. 2 Mark Robinson 08/06/2011 at 3:07 am

    These photos show really clearly just how far the teeth overhand the lower jaw. Do we know for sure whether these would’ve been visible externally when the animal was alive, or is this just a best guess based on their nearest living toothy relatives?

    • 3 Mark Robinson 08/06/2011 at 3:09 am

      *overhang*

    • 4 David Hone 08/06/2011 at 9:10 am

      Good question and soemthing John Conway has been talking about a lot of late. i’m trying to push him into writing it all down, so i don’t want to give it away just yet, sorry!

      • 5 Mark Robinson 09/06/2011 at 5:21 am

        No worries, Dave. Thanks, and please tell John that I look forward to his guest post!


  1. 1 Darren Tanke’s Gorgosaurus preparation: final roundup « Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings Trackback on 02/09/2012 at 8:46 pm
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