SeAVP Day 2, Museum Hopping, and National Fossil Day!

Panorama Smith Cty Lime Pit

Day 2 of SeAVP: Field trip day!

Kat Turk, former VMNH intern, and I attended the field trip to Smith County Lime Pit, Sylvarena, MS. This quarry containing 4 Oligocene formations: Marianna, Byram, Glendon, and Bucatunna. The majority of the fossils we found are from the Glendon Formation.

Kat Turk early Oligocene; Smith Cty Lime Pit

Above: Left) Kat with her findings, Right) Molds of clams and the internal view of a scallop (the clam shells tend to dissolve and leach out). Below: First) Very large forams! …mixed in with some shell hash, Second) Partial sand dollar.

Early Oligocene from Smith Cty Lime Pit early Oligocene echinoderm

After SeAVP ended, I started the long drive back up to Virginia. I decided to make a few pit stops along the way. On day one of my return drive to VA, I stopped at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to meet with Dana Ehret, Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology. Amongst the plethora of mosasaurs, I got to see several other interesting fossils including the few below.

First) Green River Formation bird (parrot?)- Primobucco olsoni, Second) Lepidodendron? from Union Chapel Mine (see SeAVP Day 1 for details), Third) Cretaceous-age shark prismatic cartilage!

fossilized parrot?  Collected from Union Chapel Mine - Carboniferous


Stop 2 as at McWane Science Center in Birmingham, Alabama. While there, I was able to check out the exhibits, learn all sorts of tips and tricks for managing a collection on a tight budget from the Director of Collections, Jun Ebersole, and make comparisons between baby and adult mosasaur premaxillae (the baby was so tiny!).

Nodosaur Mosasaur ontogeny

On the final day of my trip and the third stop of my museum hop, I found myself at the Tellus Science Museum with their Curator, Sarah Timm. As a fellow geology nerd, I took in the beauty of their mineral collection, stared into the ferocious face of a Xiphactinus, and soaked in the glory of an elasmosaur. 

Rutile on Hematite Xiphactinus (1) Elasmosaurus

Conferences are a great opportunity to visit nearby or along-the-way museums. You never know what kind of knowledge you can pick up during these visits or what connections you’ll make. I also hope you will enjoy these photos as my tribute to National Fossil Day!

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