Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Old Morrison Formation sauropod quarry postcards

Ok, so I'm starting up the blog again. I will post some Wealden and New Mexico field stories in the near future, but will start with a quick post about some interesting vintage postcards.

I recently purchased two vintage Real Photo Postcards (RPPCs) of dinosaur quarries:

The postcard caption reads "Fosil Quary - Jensen - In the Uintah Basin"

With more gracious spelling, this postcard reads "Fossil Quarry Vernal, Utah"
The postcards were part of a small collection of RPPCs mounted on brown card, all depicting various scenes from north east Utah in the early 20th century; including Native Americans on horseback, the big Mormon temple at Manti, Utah, and a "Rangely gasser on fire" (which looks like a slightly-out-of-control gas flare to me).

RPPCs were produced by the 3A folding pocket camera introduced by Kodak in 1902. Despite its small-sounding name, the 3A produced large 3.25 x 5.5 inch negatives that could be printed directly on to postcard stock. As such, many RPPCs are unique images taken by amateur photographers, rather than mass produced.

RPPCs were popular from 1903 through to the 1930's. Around this time, major excavations of dinosaur fossils were being undertaken in the Morrison Formation of Utah and Colorado. I hadn't seen either of these dinosaur quarry photos before, so I was intrigued at the possibility that they might be unique images.

Alas, with a little searching I found another example of the second photo for sale online, so it is not unique. Given the writing in the photographs, it was probably too much to hope that they would be one-of-a-kind. Still, I would be interested to know which dinosaur specimens are featured in the photos. They are clearly large sauropods, probably Camarasaurus, Diplodocus, or Apatosaurus. Does anyone have any ideas or leads as to which specimens might be in the photos?

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