Dr. Don Brinkman, Director of Preservation & Research, Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology
The field season started in the spring with a helicopter -lift of a block containing the skeleton of a small individual of Gorgosaurus that was excavated in 2009.
The block was too big to remove by people-power, so a helicopter was brought in to take it out. The work went without a problem, and preparation of the specimen is now well along.
While collecting the Gorgosaurus specimen from 2009, Dr. Don Henderson noted an unusual locality that he thought might contain in situ trees.
Last summer he spent some time excavating and mapping this locality to determine if that was actually the case.
Dr. Don Brinkman with a crew prospected in the Natural Preserve, looking especially for turtle elements. One focus was limb elements that could be used for a study aimed at aging turtles. In extant turtles, growth lines are present that can be used to estimate the age of an individual, and that is the case with fossils as well.
In addition to collecting turtle material for this study, a number of significant fossils were found. One of these is the partial skull of a crested hadrosaur. The shape of the crest shows that this is Lambeosaurus lambei. The specimen will be useful for studies of the variation in crest shape in this species, as well as documenting their distribution.
Dr. Dennis Braman undertook a different kind of study of the park's ancient ecology. Working with student Sara Brown from the United Kingdom, he collected charcoal from throughout the park.
The abundance and kind of charcoal present can give information on how often forest fires occurred and how hot they were. Although the study is only partially completed, initial results show that there is abundant charcoal found throughout the layers, indicating that fire was an important component of the environments during the Late Cretaceous Period.
Only gymnosperm wood charcoal has been found to date, which supports the observation that fossil wood found in the park is only represented by gymnosperm plants.