Jelle Wiersma is a graduate student at the University of Utah. He specializes in paleobiogeographic dispersal patterns, phylogenetics, sedimentology, and sequence stratigraphy. Below are his thoughts about working at the quarry:
"I felt honored when I was invited by John Foster and my advisor, Randy Irmis, to work on this historic site. It is truly inspiring to be part of an excavation that started in 1859, and work in the same locality where John Newberry stumbled upon this “old petrified monster”. Climbing up some of the cliffs and using some of the same foot holes, carved in the rock and used by Newberry and his crew, as well as being able to look around and think that John Macomb and his expedition members camped in the nearby area and saw pretty much the same geologic features that we are seeing today is truly something to experience.
Dystrophaeus was located in the hard sandstone deposits of the Tidwell Member in the Morrison Formation and excavating can be challenging at times and days in the quarry are often long and under less than favorable conditions, especially the rapid changing weather. Transporting heavy jackets down steep cliffs on stretcher boards and belaying them down with climbing gear provide another challenge. But knowing that we expand the knowledge that we have on Dystrophaeus with every additional bone that we bring back to the museum makes it all so worth it! I am looking forward to come back."