Skip to main content

This short-neck pliosaur of species Brachauchenius was found by myself and a friend, Wryht Short, in 1999. Merle Graffam was credited as co-discoverer which is not correct as he wasn't even present at time of discovery. 
Look at the skull of this monster. This is a pliosaur I discovered when I was 14 years of age that was excavated in 2000. It is one of the best skulls of its species ever found. 
The very beginning. The brush is where I found the bone eroding out of the hill. and we have just started to remove the matrix. 
Little did we know... 
A few tons of matrix lay ahead with temperatures soaring in the hundreds. Devising the tarp removal program we were able to move quite a bit of matrix at a time without damaging the bones. 
As you can see this was a mess. After these poor things died they floated and bloated then got tore apart by predators and other natural forces. Then they usually fell apart or jumbled up before coming to rest on the ocean floor, 90 million years ago. 
This is a nice shot of the 4 foot 2 inch lower jaw. If you can pick the V shape out of the picture you will be able to see the tooth sockets, which no longer have teeth in them, facing straight up. Reptiles are not built as "tight" as mammals, they have more bones in the skull and these bones are held together by ligaments. After the animal dies the ligaments rot and the bones fall apart. In this case the teeth fell out and were found associated with the bones. 
A nice shot of the quarry floor. 
A far shot of the quarry. 
The Crew. Myself on the left followed by Merle Graffam, Dr. David Gillette and Dr. Barry Albright. 
The bones wrapped up in plaster, stabilized with wood, and ready to go to their new home. 
A once abundant quary, now empty. 
Off to the lab to be preped, studied, then put on display. 
Back to Discoveries