i was going to find out more about this mysterious francis slate, an early adventurer from the great canadian dinosaur rush, who found my egg nearly a 100 years ago yet left it in the ground for some reason!
darren tanke had taught me everything i needed to go out and find slate's lost quarrys. so i was set and ready to get started
though it took darren some convincing that i was up to the task of tracking down the elusive slate. afterall darren, the master of lost quarry locating, had been unable to track down francis after nearly a decade. however, darren was a man with a day job and lots of other things to discover.
i on the other hand was a tiny dinosaur with nothing better to do for my time here. if not look for this man with a connection to my past, i'd just end up bumming around my old hometown another month. which was getting old.
no, instead i could focus my energies on nothing but digging up the trail of this elusive fossil hunter, and who knew maybe make some cool new things along the way...
darren had empowered my on my hunt of slate's lost quarrys by giving me copies of what few photos of the man we had. out some 22 of his field reports (almost the ONLY records of this man's existence), only 5 were from work around drumheller, and as i was stuck in town that's where i'd be looking.
here they were:
this one from 1913. a picture from the geologic survey's records, one of the few photos of slate not taken by his own field team, you can tell as his field assistant eli hexton is taking a photo in the picture... his photo of the scene has since disappeared. it is a nice view into how all the rest of these old photos came to be though!
according to the field report of slate's, this was a site after some reconnaissance digging revealed a bonebed with at least 4 "albertosaur type" dinosaurs present. this wasn't just a claim. francis had counted the left femurs. there were four of them!
this was at the top of darren's list. as a new tyrannosaurid bonebed would help new light on the building evidence of pack behaviour in my family.
i had few details to go on with this one. other than it was somewhere in proximity to a coal mine. which didn't help in the drumheller section of the valley there were 8 of them... but i had some ideas how to narrow this down!
this the FIRST of francis slate's field reports ever, from 1912, when he was tailing both barnum brown and the sternbergs during the year they were both in drumheller.
i have a slight clue where this was. the fossil was pointed out to eli hexton by some coal miners walking along the trail to work (you can see the path on the left in the photo). hexton in this picture is in turn pointing it out to slate. i just need to figure out which coal mine this might be near...
i have next to no clues on this one.
the last of the 1912 photos. this is one of only instances we know slate to have collected something himself... the weird part he doesn't tell us what it is though...
sadly there are contradicting clues on where this is. he at one point or another says the site is near the star, the north american, midland, and/or the atlas 3 coal mines in his description. those mines couldn't be further apart. covering the entirety of the drumheller section of the valley. it was almost like he was deliberately hiding this spot!
what is curious about it is that slate states in the photo he is directly attempting to track down a "diminutive tyrannosaurid dinosaur". yet he is clearly looking across a valley with binoculars, which wouldn't help look for fossils in the hills far away. i think he mislabelled it, and this is him scouting for good outcrops.
no clues again...
i could tell he was going to ask me a million questions, and frankly i had a few for him. how the heck was it we both ended up at the tyrrell museum only a couple months after both being in australia? i knew he was very much wanting to know the same thing.