Believe it or not from previous blog posts, we have been hard at work doing research. At the moment the majority of our time is consumed with data collection that has yielded great amounts of information about these eggs. Since their numbers are probably tallied in the hundreds, if not thousands, our preliminary descriptive work would be a bit boring to report upon daily. We have broken into groups and essentially formed an assembly line of description.
I have asked members of each group to describe their work in simple terms over the next several days. First up: Annie with Sedimentology.
Nate and I (Annie) are currently focusing on sedimentology. Basically, we are examining the non-shell material which has attached itself to the eggs or which the eggs have become attached to. The reasoning behind this is relatively simple. We are hoping to discover stratigraphic markers or distinguishing characteristics in the sediment that give us clues about the eggs. Stratigraphic markers would hopefully tell us simple things such as which way is up, since that data is often unknown. It could also tell us what sort of environment the eggs were buried in. We also gather some general data as well including the color, grain size, and sorting of the sediments. These are based on widely accepted standards so that the information will be useful to further researchers . Thus far we have not very many stratigraphic markers, probably for a number of reasons. First, they make not exist in our specimens. Secondly, often the amount of sediment attached to the eggs is incredibly limited therefore possible “markers” may not be markers at all but anomalies in a small amount of sediment. In other words, a small feature may not have been present in the greater sedimentary structure where the egg was discovered. Fortunately, this lack of luck doesn’t necessarily represent failure. The data we are gathering will benefit the museum as well as our peers and perhaps further work will yield the results we hope for.