Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Bristol Dinosaur Project

Today I went to a training day organised by the south west STEM ambassador organiser Katy Glazer. It was about the Bristol Dinosaur Project.


We met at Aust, under the Severn Suspension Bridge to look for fossils. There are no ammonites, but you can clearly see shells in the limestone and can also find fossils of teeth and bones if you look carefully enough.

I have never been very good at spotting fossils, but it was really easy to find them. I can see why youngsters would love coming down here.

Apart from the fossils the cliff is interesting. At the base you can see the white gypsum, the mudstone and at the top the limestone.

In the photo above you can see the slip that has caused the discontinuation in the layers.

I can't wait to go back and take my family! The Bristol Dinosaur Project will organise for groups of students to go to Aust and have some money to support with transport, although can't manage a whole year group at a time.

After lunch we looked round the new labs of the Earth Science Department. Very swish! All paid for by the Bristol Dinosaur Project. Link: http://www.thebristoldinosaurproject.org.uk/?q=node/50

Pedro, showed us the equipment. In one room we saw buckets containing acid that was helping to remove the rocks from the fossils. This is a picture of the equipment that contains a tiny pneumatic drill that can be used to remove rock from fossils. They have come a long way from a chisel and hammer as this damages the fossils.

The passion for fossils was evident. Pedro has used old maps to find quarries so he can collect more rocks that contain fossils.

He maximises the chance that the rocks have fossils by choosing those that were formed in caves. This is because a flood will kill and wash a large selection of the plants and animals that were alive at that time into the cave. This then gives and idea of the whole ecosystem at the time, so palaeobiologists can find out a lot more about the time.

It is possible to spot the caves in the rock because the rocks formed are not as ordered as those around it.

At the end of the day Ed Drewitt talked to us about the ways that schools can engage with the project: http://www.thebristoldinosaurproject.org.uk/?q=node/3

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Aust, UK

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