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Uphill Both Ways

Volume 9 - Boston 1956


it. It has already been cut open here with the armature half installed, mounting struts protruding from its right side in anticipation for being welded to the steel framework bolted to that wall.

The problem was the way it had been prepared years before by a paleontology grad studentDr. X(name withheld to protect the guilty although he’s probably gone before) [4] who later became the head of the Dinosaur National Monument. I remember the skull in the state it is here, dad and Arnie talking about it.

Since the basic skull has been left intact in this photo, it is clear that at this juncture both Arnie and dad were simply trying to install the internal armature. But at some point thereafter, something profound happened. They unexpectedly discovered that the skull had been improperly mounted. That was a shock. One does not expect to find that there had been some intellectual anarchy like there has been, particularly at ivy covered Harvard. There are two basic reasons for this conclusion.

The first, a disarmingly simple obvious one is the remarkable smoothness of the skull. Dad and Arnie accepted that peculiar, featureless configuration as what it was and started to excavate channels in the places they believed most appropriate to locate the steel pieces. In hindsight, one wonders why anyone would believe that a featureless skull like this could possibly be authentic. In particular, the large ‘holes’ where the eyes (front) and the masseters (back) protruded would never be so smooth and flat. As a sidelight, look at that photo again. The surface of the snout from the tip of the nose back to about the orbits is pitted and rough, but from that point to the stern, it is paper smooth. Odd, isn’t it, when you actually focus on this difference. The skull looked like someone had used a plane from the front of the orbits to the back of the skull to give it a flat, uniform surface. That fact didn’t sit well with them, but they weren’t the degree’ed paleontologists so they deferred to their superiors.

The second reason for this profound change in opinion was a huge chunk of bone that Dr. (name withheld) had buried down inside the skull. Arnie and dad knew that as they opened the skull to install an armature that they would encounter bone fragments. Of course. This was a skull, for cryin’ in the rain barrel, so there darn well BETTER be some bones down there. They didn’t worry too much about the various fragments that they excavated and explored - until

4Later, in 1964, dad and I visitedDr. Xin the Quarry. He gave me his old beaten up copy of Goodwin’s GREEK GRAMMAR - it’s in my collection somewhere, a gem.

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