2011 Emerging Explorer Jørn Hurum is currently leading a fossil-finding expedition to Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, continuing the work that has yielded many spectacular fossils through the years (Giant “Sea Monster” Fossil Discovered). Follow the expedition here on Nat Geo NewsWatch.
As happens every year, we end up with too many exciting discoveries, and too few days, so we now have to select the last fossils to excavate; we have not enough time for all of them. Pat and Espen went to the Karoline Valley to excavate the fossil Nille found a couple of days ago, where the vertebrae were particularly well preserved. After some digging they found that the bones unfortunately were disarticulated (not placed in natural order), but the output was good after all.
The main dig of the day was the fossil we have named “Nillefanten.” This is probably a new species to science, and is much older than the rest of the Ichthyosaurs we have found in this area. We know that because it is found in a lower layer than the others. However, it is particularly fragile as it has been exposed to repeated frosts, and we have to be very careful when excavating. Tomorrow we will end this quarry and prepare “Nillefanten” for the transport back to the museum.
Also today, Tommy and Krzysztof went to look for more seeps where fossils could be found (or just a nice view?), but were caught in a snow storm approaching the top of the Konus mountain.
Finally, after a long working day the team gathered around in a tent for a good meal. Aside from the soda cans, this is pretty much the same scene that people have enacted in these far northern areas for thousands of years.