Guest blog by Aryanna “Baby-Hands” James
Unfortunately, it is about that time that I say goodbye as my internship comes to an end. However, I love it here so much that it is not an indefinite goodbye as I will surely be back to visit my newfound second home! Together Lucy and I met the goal of 8,910 insects to be photographed and cataloged, which is a lot if you ask me! Many of these triassic insects resemble their modern counterparts, which creates in me a new appreciation for insects living today.
Personally, I have grown during the course of my internship. I love insects, and through this project, I have looked at them in a new light. I have learned to view them in a paleontological context in all their two-dimensional glory. From a “big-picture” standpoint, it is becoming increasingly clear the importance of collaboration between various fields as we work to piece together the past and build a more comprehensive understanding of the present. It is not only important for us to build upon our passions or singular areas of interest but to dwell in other areas as well.
I feel privileged to have been able to work with the awesome people here at VMNH and to have had a hand in working with such exceptional insect fossils that provide a window to life on earth 225 million years ago. The fossilized insect wings were particularly fascinating to me. The fact that these fragile structures preserved for millions of years with such detail and beauty is astonishing. Additionally, wing venation is useful in the identification of many insects.
Though I have spent months working with these Triassic insects, I believe that their story has just begun. I hope that our work here on the Fossil Insect Collaboration Digitization project will further enable the exploration of their implications. If you would like to see the images we have helped make available to the public, click here.