The Sniffles Project

    The Sniffles project was started about four years ago, at least my part of it. Sniffles was found near Alcova, WY by Kent Sundell and a school group he was leading a fieldtrip for. The right side was partially prepared and the specimen was put on display at the Tate Museum at Casper College. It had remained on display for almost a decade when I decided to finish the prep and describe the specimen.

    I completed prep on the specimen and noticed something odd on the ribs. The ribs have something like the uncinate processes seen in birds today. Unicinates are bony projections that posteriorly project across the following rib (or two). This helps in ventilation (compression of the ribcage) when the costal muscularture contracts. This is the first articulated remains that demonstrate these structures for this group of dinosaur (Othnieliosaurus). Recent publications have re-evaluated the 'dermal armor' of hypsolophodontids from Europe and found that they were misdiagnosed and were indeed costal elements like those seen here. Also, this specimen has a nicely articualted manus and because of its three-D preservation displays how the ribs sweep back wards. This is a common error in dinosaur mounts! Too many are mounted with straight ribs like mammals (which is poor reconstruction of the skeletal anatomy).

     Another interesting feature is the rapid decline in the length of the ribs after the eight rib. The specimen is not back at the University of Wyoming. Casts are on display at the Tate Museum and The Wyoming Dinosaur Center. A paper will be coming out shortly describing this specimen in detail.



2005 D.M. Lovelace • Contact