On Saturday, our last day of excavation for 2014, we reached the cumulative work time of two weeks. During that time we collected ~53 cubic feet of insect bed and several boxes and crates full of various plants and vertebrates including many fish, Tanytrachelos and 1 or 2 Mecistotrachelos specimens. On the 13th day of excavation, Ray succeeded in collecting all of the insect bed that we had exposed; therefore, our efforts this weekend focused on continuing to remove the overburden from the recently exposed material. Participants included the typical VMNH crew (Jim, Kal, Sydney, Ray, and I), three VMNH volunteers, and three students from Appalachian State University.
Below are some of the photogenic plants that we collected:
- small cycad frond offset by two small faults
- plant structure – cone?
- woody fragment with knot? large leaf/frond scar?
- odd plant structure or criss-crossed leaves?
The day produced predominantly plants. One of our volunteers, Jim Mahoney, uncovered the two Tanytrachelos specimens below.
Now onto the curious finds. The first appears to be scales but whether the scales are from a reptile or fish or the scale-like pattern on a lycopod, I do not know yet. The second specimen has a very clam-like pattern. My first thought was that it might be a large conchostracan valve but I have yet to see any conchostracan larger than 1 cm, let alone one that appears to be reaching 2.5 cm in width. Conchostracans are small crustaceans with a bivalved carapace. The valves of the carapace strongly resemble the pattern of clams.
We will pick up excavations again in 2015.