High school students from Montclair Kimberley Academy in New Jersey have received 150 million-year-old dinosaur bones encased in rock and packed in plaster.
Two sets of plaster pods containing unidentified dinosaur bones arrived at the private school in Montclair last month from a dig at the Como Bluffs site in Rock River, Wyo.
Thirteen students and two science teachers from the 1,000-student school traveled to that site last summer to participate in an ongoing professional excavation.
The same group of students is now conducting the painstaking work of removing the bones from the plaster and rock. The bones will be returned to the site this summer, when another group of students will travel to Como Bluffs, said Albert Leger, one of the science teachers who traveled with the students.
For a week in August, the students— ranging from sophomores to seniors—worked in 95-degree heat and blowing sand alongside paleontologists, carefully unearthing the precious bones.
Students were invited to participate in the excavation by Robert Bakker, a well-known paleontologist who worked with the group at the site in Como Bluffs. The students who chose to take the summer trip were instructed by Mr. Bakker in the correct techniques to use and in the history behind the site.
"It was like we were real paleontologists for a week, and the kids were really excited about the responsibility they were given," Mr. Leger said.
The students worked in two areas of the site: One contained larger bones; the other, which is thought to have been a dinosaur "nursery," contained much smaller bones.
During the students' time there, a new species of meat-eating Allosaurus was discovered. The specific name of the new type of dinosaur has not yet been determined, pending further work, Mr. Leger said.
Vol. 20, Issue 16, Page 3Published in Print: January 10, 2001, as Take Note