7.2.09

setting out! (the lost quarry part 1)

so it was settled in my mind.

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.

according to the attached field report, slate found what may by a horned or duckbilled dinosaur here. whatever it was he describes a sharp protrusion coming off the skull.

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...

another from 1912, but 3 weeks after the last report. in this slate discoveries a "radically" new form of ceratopsian which he pointed brown and the american museum of natural history crew to, and he says they collected... based on this it might be the quarry for the type specimen of anchiceratops...

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...
francis merely states that he is collecting "a specimen of unfathomable importance" for posterity sake. what it was or where it ended up though we have no idea. darren is hoping he might have left some of the fossil behind that we can use to unravel this mystery.

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!

my last photo is a big one in francis slate history, from 1917. it records slate's last known field action. he would die about 2 weeks after this picture was taken.

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...
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despite the odds against me, i'm feeling optimistic. i have yet to make a big find while out in the badlands, and they say for every 200 hours someone is out in the field they'll make a significant find. i'm at just over 300, so i'm way over due! meaning a slate quarry should make up the interest i'm owed...
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so i hit the tyrrell to stock up on a few minor supplies, and look over some maps of the area.
on my way out of the museum i had the most unexpected run in... while heading through the staff only corridor i rounded the corner to come face to face with none other than...
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professor paradigm!!!
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upon seeing the other we said in unison... it was the weirdest thing ever, it was like we had one voice for a second... "WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!?"
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we'd both last encountered in melbourne, and it hadn't been pretty. he'd been a major bully and fired the girl of my dreams lillian from her job... i'd vowed i'd try to avoid this guy at all costs. as he was bad news.

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.
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"of all the... what are you doing..." he said clearly working through my unexpected presence out loud. however before he could finishing asking his question the most unusual thing happen.
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the professor was paged over the museum intercom... which is normal for tourists in the public galleries, we send messages to them all the time on that side of the museum. very rarely did people get paged in the staff only end of the building... and to the director's office?!?
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if it wasn't paradigm, who kind of scares me, i'd have thought he was in big trouble. however knowing paradigm i wondered if it wasn't the director who was in trouble!!! it had to big for them to be calling in a big shot like paradigm to talk to the big boss of the whole museum...
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never the less i didn't have to worry about it then, as the encounter ended as quick as it started. "if you'll excuse me," paradigm sounded like he was formally excusing me. adding to this sense, he turned back as he walked away. "for today."
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it was an ominous note in a way, but i didn't care. he couldn't effect me here that much. like say he'd done to lillian. i was just a visitor, and one who was going to be scarce for a while...
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for as of right after i publish this post people of the innerweb, i set off into the badlands to search out francis slate...
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so i won't be around for about 2 weeks. i aim to be back in on feb. 20th, and will update on my expedition then. in the meantime enjoy a series of autoposts i've set up to entertain, and at time test, you.
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have a good one people of the innerweb without me, and wish me luck!!!

2 comments:

Raptor Lewis said...

Okay, that was wierd! That rules out Paradigm as to who has been giving you the anonymous gifts. Anywho, Good luck, buddy!! Slate seems to be evry elusive, so my advice to you is keep your eyes peeled.

*To Myself*
What IS Paradigm doing in Drumheller?

*To you*
While you're away, I think I'm going to try and figure out why Paradigm IS in Drumheller in first place.

Dinorider d'Andoandor said...

Oh my Balrog!
That Paradigm dude is wherever!

have a nice trip!

May the paleoforce be with you!