Search and Rescue Report

October 29 - 31
Central Oregon
Andrew Bland

This was one of the best trips of the year, full of great discoveries and fine company. Jerry, Bill, Steven, and I departed early Friday morning and headed to Suplee, OR to collect ammonites. We met up with Rick and Peg at the campground and headed out to get in a few hours of collecting before nightfall. About all I found where fragments but Peg came up with a very nice, nearly complete, 5" ammonite as she was walking to the truck to leave.

We spent most of Friday night hanging out in Rick and Peg's Trailer. Our typical camp consists of a few cots thrown out and sometimes a tent if the weather is threatening, so to spend the evening in their trailer was very luxurious for us. Later that evening Mike and Jim found our camp and after a few more hours of conversation we crashed for the night.

It was a cool 32 degrees and snowing lightly Saturday morning. After a few cups of coffee we headed back down to get in a few hours of collecting before meeting up with one of our Advisors. He was joining us on this trip to investigate part of a marine crocodile Mike Kelly found earlier in the year.

Please don't expect much from this report in the identification of the ammonites we found. I have many publications and reference material for these Jurassic ammonites but even then they are so hard for me to identify. My descriptions of the ammonites from hear on out will be generally limited to "nice", "cool", "great", "outstanding", and "amazing".

At the site we all pretty much went our own way. I headed to a hillside that's produced some "nice" ammonites in the past. It took about an hour before on got onto an area that produced a few partials but then my eye caught something that looked like bone. I followed the bone fragments I was finding up hill a few feet to the area they where weathering out of. I started to dig and found more bone material. It was hard for me to stop digging, as I wanted to uncover more. Since it was about time to meet up with our Advisor I took one of the larger pieces to show him. We left Steven behind and he ended up finding a 12" ammonite. Ammonites of that size are rarely found complete so it was a pretty exciting discovery.

We hooked up with our Advisor and Mike Kelly and walked to the croc site. A few more bones where collected then we head over to my find. We stabilized the exposed bone I uncovered while digging with Vinac then started removing some of the over burden. Our advisor elaborated on what we found and explained that it was a croc and based on the teeth size was about twice the size of any he's found here in the past. The ranch owner showed up and was also excited by the find. We spent the next 5 hours digging and uncovered the not only what appears to be the complete skull but also vertebrae and rib material.

I spent a restless evening in 25 degree weather thinking about the croc and what it will end up looking like after I get it prepared. Sunday morning I was eager to get back to excavating it and after 3 more hours of work we had all but the skull removed. The skull will need plaster jacketed so it might not be until the spring before we can get back to recover it.


  • Andrew Bland
  • Steven Bland
  • Mike Kelly
  • Rick and Peg Johnson
  • Jerry Rawdon (Along with his dogs, Victor, Steve and Frank)
  • Mike Santino
  • Jim Scheirbeck
  • Bill Sullivan
  • Trip Pictures

    Marine Crocodile
    Marine Crocodile
    Marine Crocodile
    What the croc may have looked like