Preparation Lab Projects

Theropod dinosaur, Cretaceous, Utah This specimen was initially found in the summer of 2008 during our fieldwork in Utah and thought to be sauropod dinosaur remains.  We had collected samples and returned to Chicago to prepare and study them.  As we prepared and as more detail was uncovered, it became apparent to our scientists that they are theropod dinosaur remains.  Subsequently, we obtained an excavation permit to open a quarry to dig out the rest of this critter in 2009 and 2010.  The segment of this excavation appears in the museum's 3D movie ' Waking the T. Rex'.

Ornithopod dinosaur, Cretaceous, Utah The ornithopod dinosaur site was discovered by chief preparator Akiko Shinya in the summer of 2009 during our fieldwork in Utah.  A small quarry on a steep hillside quickly turned into a graveyard of dinosaur bones, too many to be collected at that time.  Our crew, led by Dr. Peter Makovicky returned in 2010 to excavate the hillside and further expose the many bones.  Many field jackets were brought back and are now being prepared by staff and volunteers.

Ichthyosa****ur, a marine reptile, Triassic, Nevada The ichthyosaur known as "Jim" was discovered in 1999 by Jim Holstein (pictured above, left) on Dr. Olivier Rieppel's field expedition in Nevada.  It took nine years until researchers Nadia Frobisch,  Jorg Frobisch, and Lars Schmitz could excavate the heavy blocks and get them transported to the Field Museum.  Preparation began in fall of 2008.  The specimen is a very large ichthyosaur and was recently featured on a National Geographic 'Naked Science' program, "Ancient Sea Monsters".  In life, it would have been about 35 feet long, and there are many blocks of skull, vertebral and limb material to prepare.

Turtle, Eocene, Wyoming This 52 million year old turtle has already been prepared on the dorsal (top) side.  Dr. Lance Grande wants to see the underside of the turtle's shell, known as the plastron.  The specimen is now suspended upside-down in a specially cushioned prep cradle, so it will not be damaged, as the underside is being prepared and revealed.  You can view the progress of this project in the McDonald's Preparation Lab.

Endothiodon, Permian, Zambia This is a skull portion of a dicynodont known as an endothiodon. Dr. Ken Angielczyk brought this specimen back from Zambia in 2009.   Dicynodonts were short-tailed synapsids (ancient mammal relatives) with beaked jaws who lived from the Early Permian to the Late Triassic.  Their unusual jaws and teeth and stout, barrel-shaped bodies suggest they were herbivorous.  You can view the progress of this project in the McDonald's Preparation Lab.

Dicynodon (?), Triassic, Africa Not always we know what we are preparing because curators bring back newly discovered specimens from all over the world and frankly, it is preparator's job to reveal its morphological detail so that curators can figure what it is.  Currently there are a several such specimens from Africa.  We will update the info once we know more about them, so keep on looking for update to come.