The MSU students are back in China, where they explore the culture, look for fossils, and study dinosaur eggs in the laboratory.

Selected college students from across Montana travel to the Zhejiang Province of China on a National Science Fund program from May 17 - June 19, 2012. The students will be exposed to the culture and people of China as a way of broadening their worldview. The cultural exposure is secondary, however, to the research and study of dinosaur eggs at the Zhejiang Natural History Museum. This now marks the third year for this program and the 2012 research team consists of Dr. David Varricchio, Hannah Wilson, Michael Bustamante, Ian Underwood, Paul Germano, Heather Davis, Anita Moore-Nall, Bob Rader, Danny Barta, and Christian Heck

Bob Rader examines the fine qualities of a spheroolithid egg

Bob Rader examines the fine qualities of a spheroolithid egg

As a group we decided to look at the occurrence of incomplete eggs, and try to create a criteria to differentiate between hatching/ predation and normal weathering processes. Previous groups in 2010 and 2011 looked at all openings indiscriminately and ended up with inconclusive results. We decided to create a narrower set of criteria in order to eliminate eggs we thought had a much smaller chance of being hatched or predated.

If successful this study will allow future researchers to compile a better understanding of dinosaur ecology and can possibly help differentiate between egg types. This study could also help solidify orientation data when no stratigraphic information is available, as is very common with dinosaur eggs in China.

Hatching window team

Hatching window team

Heather Davis: I'm a geoscience major and I am just going into my senior year. I have 2 wonderful children and one sweet doggy, all of which give me tones of support and a reason to succeed.I was born and raised in a few small towns/cities in Alaska and I love doing anything outdoors, swimming in the ocean, hiking and rock climbing are some of my favorites. I love heights and I hope to one day learn how to hand glide. I have been a rock hound since I was very young, a trait, I believe my mother passed to me somewhere on the side of a mountain digging crystals. I have always felt at home when I get to "play in the dirt".

Michael Bustamante: Hi, my name is Michael Bustamante. I am from Browning Montana on the Blackfeet Reservation. I've always been fascinated by films and film making and plan to pursue a career in the film industry. I've always had on obsession with dinosaurs as a kid, so it's no surprise that i am really exited to finally be able to live out an old childhood dream, digging for dinosaurs.

Robert Rader: I am a geoscience major with a minor in fine arts at The University of Montana. This past semester I studied the effects of salt tectonics on the fluvial depositional style of the Chinle formation in Moab, UT. In future research I would like to study trace fossils and paleoenvironment. In my free time I enjoy mountain biking.

Previously in this series:

MSU China Paleontology Expedition: Team Progress Update

MSU Dinosaurs: An Egg By Any Other Name…