New Solite excavation

Paleontologists have an interesting relationship with quarry operators. By their very nature quarry operations destroy fossils and their geological context. And yet, by exposing new layers of rock quarrying operations lead to the discovery of new fossil deposits that might otherwise never have been found. The two most productive vertebrate fossil sites in Virginia, Solite and Carmel Church, were both discovered as a result of quarrying operations. Continue reading

Posted in Newark Supergroup, Solite Quarry | Leave a comment

Triassic footprint donation


Paul Olsen from Columbia University spent the day at VMNH examining some of our Triassic collections. Paul is responsible for much of our understanding of how Newark Supergroup sediments were deposited and how they correlate with each other, so we’re always excited to get his input into our Triassic specimens. Continue reading

Posted in Newark Supergroup | 1 Comment

More belostomatids

2014-07-01aI mentioned in my last post that water bugs from the family Belostomatidae are among the most common insects at the Solite Quarry. Christina was recently photographing a rather nondescript piece of the insect bed that demonstrates this quite well.

Continue reading

Posted in Invertebrate Paleontology, Newark Supergroup, Solite Quarry | 1 Comment

From the Collections Room (Belostomatidae)

2014-06-25aI’m back at the museum after a short vacation, but the lab didn’t shut down in my absence. Christina took lots of photos of Solite insects while I was gone, including a number of belostomatids. Continue reading

Posted in From the Collections Room, Invertebrate Paleontology, Newark Supergroup, Solite Quarry | Leave a comment

Secondary Adaptations conference

2014-06-06aImmediately after the Carmel Church excavation, Christina and I headed to George Mason University in Fairfax to attend the 7th Secondary Adaptations of Tetrapods to Life in the Water meeting (SecAd). The SecAd meetings occur every three years and have taken place all over the world. This was my second meeting, having attended the fourth meeting in 2005 in Akron. Continue reading

Posted in Conferences | Leave a comment

Carmel Church Day 12

On Saturday we wrapped up our May Carmel Church excavation. With lots of bones turning up over the last couple of days and all the difficulties introduced by the boulder field, we spent the day prying blocks of sediment and bone off the boulders. For example, in the photo above the only area not underlain by boulders is the dark patch at top center. All the visible bones (around six ribs in the center of the photo) are sitting on top of a boulder. Continue reading

Posted in Carmel Church Quarry, Chesapeake Group | Leave a comment

Carmel Church Day 11

The strange bone Rowan found yesterday bothered me all night. I was frustrated because there was a large, fresh-looking break (above) and I felt that if I had the rest of the bone I might be able to make a more reliable identification. Unfortunately Rowan found the bone as float, laying out on the surface, so finding the rest was unlikely. Continue reading

Posted in Carmel Church Chondrichthyans, Carmel Church odontocetes, Carmel Church Quarry, Carmel Church reptiles, Chesapeake Group | 1 Comment