Dig Up The Dead: The Ardingly Dinosaur Dig Pt 3.

A very short post this one, just to fill you in on the rest of the story from the Ardingly Dinosaur Dig.

Equipment ready for a hard mornings' work.

Equipment ready for a hard mornings’ work.

So when I left you last I’d been down for one visit to the site, and explored a little bit about the local geology as well as the ethos of the work carried out. Shortly after my visit I received another email from the team at Ardingly saying that Newsround were going to be visiting the site and needed people for interview. For those who are unaware, Newsround is a children’s’ news TV show that endeavours to report news from around the world at a level that is appropriate for young children. They do a fantastic job at reporting difficult stories such as the ongoing unrest in the Middle East with care and consideration, and definitely are associated with a lot of my childhood memories of global events. Now normally this would fall to Susie (with her actually knowing a few things about dinosaurs for one), but due to prior commitments on her side the duty apparently fell to me!

I hopped on a train the night before to briefly visit my parent/scrounge a lift off them to site site the next morning. The day was slightly different to the first dig that I had attended in that it was focused around kids from the school collecting material. The children were split into small groups, given spades and told to collect any rock they had found to bring to one of the experts around the site, who would see if they could spot anything interesting. Before long the site was covered with kids scrambling over the rubble looking for any hint of fossil material!

Smashing rocks, smashing rocks...

Kids looking for fossils whilst Newsround set up in the foreground

Before long a whole host of bits and pieces had been found. In fact, one of the bits of rock collected was found later to contain a large tooth, potentially belonging to a pterosaur! As this was going on, the Newsround team had arrived and were roaming around the site capturing some footage for their report (one of my favourite bits of footage you can see in the video below at (TIME HERE): look at the destructive power of that hammer). As things were drawing to a close, I was approached by the producer and asked if I could answer a few questions for the camera. The experience was a little nerve wracking; although there was no real time limit it was tough being articulate and speaking at the correct level for the audience intended whilst having a camera thrust in my face! Luckily Nel, the presenter, was absolutely lovely and set my mind well at ease. After the interview I had to dash to catch a train back up to London, so wished my goodbyes as Brian was being filmed showing a demonstration of some of the techniques used to remove fossiliferous material from rock.

Now I thought that it was more than likely that the footage that I provided would end up on the cutting room floor, but to my surprise a few weeks later it appeared on National Television! I’ve attached the video below. Two versions went out: the one you see below is a rip from the Newsround website, and a second version went out on TV. In the second version, my name and profession of “Fossil Expert” were put up on screen as well, which provided friends and family with enough comedic material to last the rest of the year.

All in all it was a great experience and one I’d be more than happy to repeat. It’s nice to think that maybe my actions (as limited as they were) influenced some kid somewhere to become just that little bit more interested in science. Who knows!

Students from Ardingly College with the Newsround Team after a hard day's reporting.

Students from Ardingly College with the Newsround Team after a hard day’s reporting.

If you want to keep up to date with the goings on at the site, head over to www.ardingly.com or follow @ArdinglyBiology on twitter. 

Today’s post title comes from this great song.


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