Fig.1 (152Kbytes) Fig.2 (25Kbytes) Fig.3 (46Kbytes) External view of specimen, with "narrow end" (right -- Fig.1), lateral view (left -- Fig.2), and "wide end" (Fig.3). Note the saw marks on the ends. These were present on the specimen when it was received. The specimen was also already coated with clear laquer, which was partially removed with acetone. The specimen is about 12cm long, and 4cm ("narrow end") to 5cm ("wide end") in diameter. Figs.1-4 are NOT at the same scale.
Fig.4 -- lateral view (39Kbytes) showing outer surface, with specimen flipped over from orientation in Fig.2. Note small black lichens on the surface to the right of centre.
Interpretation: The exterior of this specimen has a rough, irregular texture at several millimetre to centimetre scale (Fig.2 and 4). No indications of tubular, haversian canal-like structure were observed on the exterior. In cross section, the specimen has two distinct zones of material -- an outer zone of well-cemented material, and an inner, soft core of clayey, unconsolidated material. This has been partially excavated out of one end (the "wide end", in Fig.3). Both zones have a similar light yellow-green colour, although the inner part of the outer zone is slightly greyer, and the "wide end" is slightly red-brown, and there are some variations to grey, orange, or dark brown colours. In cross section, the central zone is variable in shape (see below), but ranges from 1 to 2cm in diameter.
The images were photographed using a reflected light microscope.
Fig. 5B -- cross section A, same side as "wide end" -- annotated version of Fig.5A (76Kbytes)
Interpretation: As can be seen in this image, the central core of the specimen is not always circular in cross section. Based upon 5 cross section surfaces (the two sides of EC96-001A, EC96-001B, and one side of EC96-001C), it appears to vary from rounded to more lenticular and irregular shapes depending upon position along the length of the specimen, and these variations correspond to bulges on the exterior of the specimen. Several features are visible on this surface, keyed by number to illustration 5B:
Fig. 7 -- cross section A, same side as "wide end" enlargement of upper left of Fig.5 (160Kbytes). High magnification.
Fig. 8 -- cross section A, same side as "wide end" enlargement of lower left of Fig.5 (208Kbytes). Same magnification at Fig.7. High magnification.
Fig. 9 -- cross section A, same side as "wide end" enlargement of upper right of Fig.5 (224Kbytes). High magnification.
Interpretation: At this level of magnification, individual quartz grains (grey, resistant) are visible, as is the plucking (depressions) of the softer clays and limonite. Fig.8 shows the diffuse boundary between the greater cementation in the inner versus outer parts of the outer, cemented zone. The diffuse zone of iron oxide mineral (goethite?) around the pyrite grains is also visible.
Fig. 10 -- cross section A, same side as "narrow end" (152Kbytes). This is almost the same level as the original "narrow end" of the specimen (i.e. Fig.1), but it has been ground down a few millimetres and polished. Note the original saw marks on the right. White square marks the location of Fig.11. Low magnification.
Interpretation: Much the same as Fig.5, but note the more circular shape of the cross section, and the absence of visible pyrite grains (although the dark blotch near the boundary of the inner unconsolidated zone and outer cemented zone on the right side may be related to a grain further into the specimen).
Fig. 11 -- cross section A, same side as "narrow end", enlarged (160Kbytes). High magnification.
Interpretation: This close-up of the inner unconsolidated zone shows the lumpy texture of the clays and limonite, and occasional isolated grey or clear/colourless quartz grains (e.g., just below the centre of the image). There are no indications of tubular haversian canal structures.
Fig.12 -- dinosaur bone cross section (left) and EC96-001A (right -- part of Fig.5) (120Kbytes). Same scale. Scale in millimetres in left image. Low magnification.
Fig.13 -- dinosaur bone cross section (left) and EC96-001A (right -- part of Fig.8) (248Kbytes). Same scale. Scale in millimetres. Moderate magnification.
Interpretation: There is little to interpret from this comparison. The structure is completely different. There is no indication in any of the cross sections or the exterior surface of specimen EC96-001 of bone microstructure in the form of tubular haversian canals. The internal structure is inconsistent with fossil bone. The varying, sometimes irregular shape of the inner zone is also inconsistent with its interpretation either as marrow or bone itself.
The specimen consists of a tubular structure of variably-cemented fine-grained sandstone. The inner zone is completely unconsolidated, while the outer zone is cemented by silica (quartz) and possibly other minerals. The specimen appears to have been intensively chemically weathered, as indicated by the alteration of pyrite crystals and the presence of limonite. It is likely the current state does not reflect the original mineralogy, but judging by the proportion of quartz to non-quartz grains, this was a fairly impure, probably lithic sandstone.
There are several possibilities to explain the tubular shape:
Although thin section and SEM examination could resolve the petrology of this specimen further, it seems pointless given the obvious inconsistency between its structure and bone in magnified polished surfaces observed in reflected light.