Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How can you tell the difference between a dinosaur bone and a piece of petrified wood?

I have learned the value of being able to properly distinguish dinosaur bone from petrified wood. While on our field trip I happened across what I thought was a large round piece of petrified wood. So thinking that it was just another chunk of cretaceous wood, I decided to see just how big it was. Before doing this however I conducted the “lick test” to make sure it was not bone. The reason the “lick test usually works is because bone is porous, this allows the moisture from your tongue to be absorbed into the bone. This causes your tongue to stick to the bone. Wood is not porous so it does not have the same affect. After doing this test I determined that's what we had found was wood. I soon learned that this test is not always accurate. It turns out what I thought was a large piece of tree was actually a Hadrosaur femur. The most sure fire way to find out if something is bone or wood is to ask a paleontologist. If you have any hunch that you have found a bone the best thing to do is take its GPS location and leave it exactly how you found it.    

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