Ogle County company helps museum curators transport dinosaur bones

At the invitation of Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford, Woods Equipment Company of Oregon, Ill., helped museum curators remove and transport dinosaur bones from a dig site in southeastern Montana.

Under the watchful eye of Mike Henderson, dig site supervisor, the fragile bones of a young triceratops dinosaur were carefully removed from the soil with a layer of earth still surrounding them. The dirt enveloping each bone was wrapped in tinfoil and then burlap. The burlap was wet, dipped in plaster of Paris, molded into a pod cast, and loaded into the cargo box of a Woods Boundary MAV480 utility vehicle.

Each bone was then transported from the dig site in the MAV480 a considerable distance across rugged wasteland to a dirt road. There it was cradled in a mesh sling and loaded into a waiting 18-wheel tractor and trailer. The truck, with its large “Woods Power” logo on the trailer’s sides, was provided from the Woods fleet to haul the bones to the museum.

Upon arrival at Burpee Museum, the bones were eventually removed from their plaster of Paris casts, gently separated from the earth that still surrounded them, and prepared for preservation.

To reach the dig site, the terrain that needed to be traversed was rough, uneven, and exceedingly difficult to navigate. As an added challenge, when it rained, the ground instantly turned to slippery mud. For this reason, the previous year, Burpee staff and volunteers were forced to leave their vehicles several miles from the site and carry cargo in and out by litter. Thanks to the MAV480, this was no longer necessary.

In addition to transporting dinosaur bones, the MAV480 hauled the work crew, lumber and supplies to and from the dig site location in the field. The MAV480’s on-board 12-volt power outlet also provided the crew with the necessary electrical power to operate small saws and hand tools to fabricate crating materials that were used to protect large bones during transit.

For more information, call toll-free at 1-800-319-6637 or visit the Woods Web site at www.WoodsEquipment.com.

From the Oct. 11-17, 2006, issue

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