Darren Tanke – On the Mend

Earlier this Summer we wrote in this blog about the Canadian/American expedition to re-create the voyage of Barnum Brown and company in 1910.  Barnum Brown, the then newly appointed Curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, along with a dedicated team of researchers and assistants, spent the first of four seasons working along the Red Deer River in Alberta, searching for dinosaur skeletons and bone beds eroding out of the banks.

The scow (flat bottomed boat), used by Darren Tanke and his associates on their fore-shortened 2010 expedition is named Peter C. Kaisen after the technical assistant who accompanied Barnum Brown and logged their trip and discoveries.

Unfortunately, Darren fell ill and could not continue, so the expedition was abandoned for this  year.  In an email sent to Everything Dinosaur team members Darren informed us that he was now on the mend and told us about his plans for the future.

Darren says in his email, commenting on his sudden illness:

“Blood tests revealed low haemoglobin so I was anaemic plus low potassium levels.  After two weeks of vitamins and lots of sleep I am back to normal and will resume light fieldwork soon.”

Reflecting on his voyage on the Red Deer River, Darren thinks he was probably ill before the expedition started.  He thinks the stress of organising all the last minute things that had to be done probably made him unwell.  The scow was floated down to Drumheller after Darren had to leave the expedition, so it did actually float as far (maybe further) as the 1910-1912 scow of the American Museum of Natural History.

Discussing the plans for another attempt next year, he stated:

“We are thinking of a number of modifications to the scow such as adding a thin steel bottom which should allow us to slide over rocks and definitely not allow pointy rocks to burrow into the wooden bottom.”

Darren went onto describe how he and his team could easily spin the stuck scow around 360 degrees (much like a compass needle) but had to do some serious prying and lifting to heave off the scow from any underwater obstacles they encountered.

We wish Darren all the best and hopefully we will be able to report on his plans for the Red Deer River expedition 2011 in a few months time.

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