Tapir Challenge, Part 3
The Haile 7G fossil dig site is the location of the Florida Museum of Natural History's "Tapir Challenge." More information is on the museum's website.
We were on a quest, digging through walls of gray clay in search of something to put in these vials. If we were lucky, we would find something larger....
Our supply area sat at the top of the dig site, on level ground. One cooler contained large bottles of water and Gatorade. Another container held cups. To the right of frame sat large open containers of wash water, and the porta-potty beyond that.
We didn't use any of the shovels in the trash can here. Instead our work focused on finer details. I spent the day wielding a small screwdriver, prying back a mountain of gray one small piece at a time.
I don't know if anyone made the connection between sifting through all the clay on the site and sifting through a clumping clay-filled litterbox, but I found our buckets for the task to be quite a propos. In its way, the process is extremely similar, though the objects being pursued are quite different.
There's a good reason for canceling work days on account of rain, which is what happened for my first scheduled work day back in November. This terrain becomes very slippery when wet. Shown here is one of the gentler slopes on the site. Often we used sand bags for steps, and passage to my second work area involved descending a narrow dirt ramp.
We carried more than just ourselves. We also hauled those cat litter buckets filled with clay and rocks to a place where we dumped our "spoil" over the edge.
Our instructor at right sets up with two volunteers, who had also been rained out of an earlier work date. With an hour-and-a-half of dig experience, they were the veterans of our morning group.
Coming up: Feet (and hands, pants, shirt...) of clay.