Earlham College

On Sunday morning we arrived in Richmond, IN, to visit Dr. Andy Moore, Assistant Professor of Geology at Earlham College and VMNH Research Associate. Earlham has the Joseph Moore Museum, which includes several skeletons, including the cast skeleton of the ground sloth Megalonyx jeffersonii shown above on the left. This is the same species as VMNH’s life-size model sloth, “Clawd” (shown on the right), which is on exhibit above the Harvest Foundation Great Hall.One of the other skeletons on exhibit at Earlham is the giant beaver, Castoroides ohioensis (see my earlier post about giant rodents).

In the afternoon the rain cleared for long enough to head south of town to a roadcut of Ordovician Whitewater Formation.

This is a ridiculously fossiliferous outcrop, with every piece of rock filled with brachiopods, bryozoans, rugose corals, snails, and bivalves. Here are a few of the pieces we picked up:

The top specimen is a huge rugose coral, the lower left is a bryozoan, and the lower right is a brachiopod.

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22 Responses to Earlham College

  1. Grenda says:

    I wish I could have collected there. Great blogging!!!!

  2. Doug says:

    Cool sloths. You should see the one at the Museum in Raleigh.

  3. Grenda says:

    The LA County Museum and the La Brea Tar Pits museum have wonderful sloth specimens.

  4. Doug says:

    I have seen those specimens many times. they are wonderful. But i am talking about the mother of all sloths:
    Giant of the South

  5. Grenda says:

    Thanks for the link Doug! I did some checking. Eremotherium is the largest of the sloths. The forward limbs are massive. Amazing creature. Can’t wait to run over to Richmond to see it “up close and personal”.

  6. Doug says:

    Actually, he’s in Raleigh (North Carolina). There are a couple at the Smithsonian, there’s one at the Cape Fear Museum in North Carolina, one at the Florida Museum of Natural History, and one at the Houston Museum of natural Sciences. But yes, he is impressive in person. One family walked up to it wondering what it was and one girl said “It’s King Kong!”

  7. Grenda says:

    Thanks for the correction Doug — I have a daughter in Raleigh. I live an hour away from SI so I guess I will make another trip to one of my favorite places. Paleo is so cool! I wish I had studied that instead of archaeology. Oh they are both beyond fascinating.

  8. Grenda says:

    Butch,

    Do you have a clearer picture of the brachiopod and bryozoans? The rugose coral is fantastic. Should have been Brett and I collecting that day.

  9. Alton Dooley says:

    I don’t have other pictures yet; that’s just what I could snap quickly, sitting on Andy’s and Shannon’s dining room table. Over the next week or two Tim is going to be cleaning up those specimens in the lab, so they can go into the collections.

  10. Doug says:

    Grenda,
    No problem. Check around my flickr account, I’m always adding cool new stuff.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jobaria/

  11. Grenda says:

    Thanks Doug! You know I think we ought to call this the Grenda and Doug BloG — 🙂

  12. Doug says:

    Don’t forget Alton. We wouldn’t be here without him!

  13. Alton Dooley says:

    By all means, chatter away! The more the better. One of the things that I hoped this blog would accomplish is to serve as a means for people interested in paleontology to communicate with each other.

    I’ve been settling back into work since getting back from the Nebraska trip, which is why I haven’t posted in a few days, but I should have something new up in a day or so.

  14. Doug says:

    I’ll chatter away then! I found this to be a much better blog than the one over at the Museum of the Rockies website.

  15. Alton Dooley says:

    Well, I’m happy that we can be considered in the same league as the Museum of the Rockies!

  16. Doug says:

    Oh yeah. Their blog entries have this feeling of arrogance and almost a sense of dogmatism. Rather than discussion, it’s just a bunch of fanboys saying “oh, I totally agree”. I tried to add a comment their on T. rex speed, to try and add to the discussion, and it wasn’t even posted. I find the atmosphere (both entries and discussion) here much, much more stimulating and inviting.

  17. Grenda says:

    I like your photos Doug! Paleontology is magnifique!!!! I have been learning a lot from the blog and the people who participate. I want to check in and see what is going on (although I can’t always) because Butch takes us into the Paleo/Geological world, allowing us to gain insight by opening windows here and there for us. And we know he cares….. Take that – Museum of the Rockies!!!!

  18. Doug says:

    Thanks Grenda! Yes, many museums have so wonderfully brought paleontology to life. I have yet to visit Museum of the Rockies, but so far i can tell it’s more about showing off it’s great collections and research. As for getting into paleontology, I hope to help prepare a mammoth this summer.

    Lower leg
  19. Grenda says:

    Prepping a mammoth — sounds like a large undertaking!!! I am going to Wyoming this summer to help quarry a dinosaur. Plus over to Carmel Church to help there. I will also go to Red Hill PA for Devonian —- I try to work Devonian-Silurian paleo yearly. Actually the time periods prior to the Mississippian are my favorites. I hope to find an eurypterid one of these days.

  20. Doug says:

    Pleistocene is my favorite time frame. Yeah, i imagine it would be quite the undertaking. Those pictures were mostly foot elements. 70% of “Emma” was found, which probably means lots of big limb bones and back sections. I know they found, like, half her skull. and if you have ever seen a mammoth skull, that would be quite a project!

  21. Alton Dooley says:

    Nice pictures of that mammoth, Doug. The articulated feet are particularly impressive.

    Where is that specimen now?

  22. Doug says:

    The skeleton sat in a warehouse in Moorpark for some time. Then last fall the city council decided to donate her (along with the associated fossils) to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, where i took those photos. The city had at first thought of sending her to the museum in LA (the biggest nature an history museum in the western US). But they didn’t want her to go on some shelve where she would just sit there collecting dust. They wanted her to e some place that she could really be appreciated. the Santa Barbara Museum was the place for that. Although LA is in the midst of an overhaul and building new exhibits, they have much more important things to put out (like the San Pedro Gray Whale).

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