Solite Excavation: Day 21 and 22


Our last two trips to Solite have been filled with plants, fish, and the occasional Tanytrachelos. Our crew for the last two trips were VMNH staff and accompanying weather that can’t decide if it wanted to be freezing cold or pleasantly warm. Over these two days, we were successful in collecting ~9 cubic feet of insect bed as well as several photogenic plant specimens. Many of these plants were collected by Kal who seems to have a knack for finding the large and weird plants of Solite.

Below is one of the larger fish that Jim found on Day 22:


The following pictures are a sampling of the several plants that Kal collected on Day 22. Sometimes during excavations, an excavator will find a sweet spot that is highly productive. Kal found it for the plants.

Below is a possible plant root ball:

3-28-15Plant root ball? part 2

The following three specimens have been interpreted as cones:

Collector: Kal I.; 4-4-15 Collector: Kal I.; 4-4-15 4-4-15; Collector: Kal I.

In addition, Kal also found this….the morphology kind of resembles that of a ginkgo (I don’t think that’s what it actually is though). Ideas anyone?

Collector: Kal I.; 4-4-15 Collector: Kal I.; 4-4-15

And lastly: a pretty mishmash of plant parts and, what we came to learn later, is one of several associated fronds of a cycad. As Kal continued to excavate the cycad, he found enough to fill an entire box. It will be quite an interesting puzzle to piece together again, potentially in the coming months.

Collector: Kal I.; 4-4-15 the "top" of the giant

Overview pictures of the pit serve as a great reminder of how much material we have been able to salvage thus far and how much more we need to collect. Within the red rectangle is all that remains to be excavated (for the material we can easily access). Unfortunately, our days at Solite are dwindling. Regardless, we have been so lucky and grateful to receive the time we’ve been given and have found several fantastic fossils along the way. Here’s hoping that we will be able to get a few more days of excavating in so we can collect the rest of the exposed fossiliferous layers.

The pit4-4-15 recInsectBed


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