Dr. Matthew Carrano returned to Wyoming from June 13-28, 2004. This expedition was a follow-up to his first reconnaissance trip of summer, 2003. During these 2-1/2 weeks, Dr. Carrano continued exploring the Late Jurassic deposits of the Morrison Formation, as well as those of the overlying Early Cretaceous Cloverly Formation.
These two formations are well-known to dinosaur paleontologists. The Morrison is incredibly productive, famous for giant sauropods such as Brachiosaurus and Apatosaurus, along with evocative predatory theropods such as Allosaurus. The Cloverly has yielded the sickle-clawed dromaeosaur Deinonychus, as well as the common herbivorous ornithopod Tenontosaurus.
On this expedition, Dr. Carrano extended his exploration into the Big Horn Basin of northwestern Wyoming. This expansive region, just east of Yellowstone National Park, is home to hundreds of important discoveries of dinosaurs and fossil mammals. This year’s goal was to locate deposits in the Morrison and Cloverly that would reveal many of the smaller and more elusive components of these two ancient environments. In particular, animals such as frogs, lizards, turtles, and crocodilians are especially important in determining many environmental details that cannot be learned from dinosaurs alone.
This year’s team included Jennifer Young and Pete Kroehler (both
from the NMNH Department of Paleobiology), Robert Hill (from the New
York College of Osteopathic Medicine), and Jorge Velez, a student
from the University of Puerto Rico and a participant in the museum’s
Research Training Program.
To view a slideshow and read about their field work experience,