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RBC I Nathan McDermott, along with his mother, father and sister, visited Dinosaur National Monument and Brigham Young University as a Make-A-Wish family.
They were hosted by Dinosaur National Monument paleontologist Dan Chure and Brooks Britt, professor of geology at Brigham Young University (BYU) Nathan is a seven-year-old cancer survivor.
His Make-A-Wish was not to do “touristy” things with fossils but to spend time with paleontologists doing field and lab work.
“Nathan came at the right time, when Dinosaur National Monument and BYU were collecting large blocks of fossil bearing rock from a new and important dinosaur quarry.” said Dan Chure. “He was able to work with staff and students in the field and lab and get the total paleontological experience. He is a natural when it comes to working with fossils.”
Nathan spent Tuesday, May 24 at BYU where he worked in the lab preparing fossils in their collection from the Cedar Mountain Formation, meeting staff and touring facilities, exhibits and collections.
Nathan and his family then traveled to Dinosaur National Monument. They spent Thursday and Friday morning with BYU at the Saints and Sinners Quarry just outside the Monument boundary, where he did field preparation of bones using pen-sized air powered chisels, helped operate the crane and lift large blocks into the trucks and hiked the area looking at other fossils found nearby, including dinosaur tracks.
On Friday Nathan and his family went on a tour with Dan on the Fossil Discovery Trail. They were treated to a peek at the Quarry Exhibit Hall construction and the quarry face. Nathan’s favorite dinosaur is the small meat-eater Compsognathus and a local business donated a cast of one of the two known Compsognathus skeletons (one from Bavaria, the other from France) for Nathan to take home.