The Lee Creek Mine in North Carolina has been a prime paleontological locality for almost 40 years. An ambitious project to comprehensively study the geology and paleontology of the quarry, led by Clayton Ray at the Smithsonian Institution, began in the early 1970s with the original intention of publishing a three volume set. The Smithsonian published Volume I in 1983, with Volume II following in 1987. These two volumes covered geology and invertebrate fossils. Volume III, the vertebrate fossils (except mammals), took considerably longer, and was not published until 2001. Moreover, in the intervening years the amount of vertebrate material increased to the point that it was decided to add a fourth volume to cover the mammals. Reorganizations at the Smithsonian in 2005 led to the transfer of publication responsibilities for Volume IV to the Virginia Museum of Natural History. And now, at long last, the final volume in the Lee Creek series is available.
I have personally been eagerly anticipating LCIV, since I work on mammals and especially whales, which are common at Lee Creek Mine. The nine papers in the volume include one on land mammals, two on seals and walruses (yes, walruses used to live off the coast of North Carolina), and three on whales and dolphins, including many new species descriptions. There is also a synthesis paper by VMNH’s Lauck Ward, reviewing the stratigraphy of the mine, and listing every fossil species (vertebrate and invertebrate) that has ever been reported from Lee Creek (there are hundreds of them!)
Many of you have pre-ordered copies of Lee Creek IV, and your copies should be in the mail soon. If you haven’t already ordered a copy and want one, you can place an order by emailing Brad Harris at VMNH. Volume IV costs $75 plus shipping charges.