Carboniferous Fossil Plants Kits Available!

Paleobot casts for blog

We in the paleontology department have been very fortunate to have Dr. DB Poli, a VMNH research associate and professor at Roanoke College, working at the museum during her sabbatical. Dr. Poli has been aiding me in the collections room to organize, check IDs, and catalogue a large portion of our paleobotany collection. Dr. Poli is also a member of the Dragon Research Collaborative. Team Dragon, as they call themselves, is:

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Posted in Boxley-Beckley, Paleobotany, Science, education, and philosophy | 1 Comment

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. Continue reading

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Get Out From Under The Rock!

…is a common phrase I either think or mutter out loud to fossils during various excavations. But today, that phrase has a different meeting. In January, I spent two days at the University of Florida participating in the iDigBio Workshop for Data Standards, Data Sharing, and Demystifying the Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT). The key idea of this workshop was getting your data (natural history specimen data) out from under the proverbial rock. The proverbial rock includes those  databases/spreadsheets that are currently not shared with a data aggregator such as iDigBio, VertNet, or GBIF. Iptbanner2_740x_2 Continue reading

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Solite Excavation: Day 20

Coelocanth whole

We had a very small crew today: Ray, Joe, and I from VMNH and science journalist Peter Brannen. Shortly after arriving to the quarry, Joe found a very nice coelacanth. The rest of the day was dry in regards to finding fossils (with the exception of the Tany. shown below). Continue reading

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Carmel Church Quarry 2015 Day 6

CCQ 3 verts float

Today was a half day but during this short period of time, the crew was successful in finding some photogenic fossils that I can share here. Above are the whale vertebra of different qualities of preservation and from different sections of the vertebral column. From left to right, an axis vertebra (cervical) that is slightly abraded, a thoracic vertebra more heavily abraded, and another vertebra that is abraded to that point that I cannot ID which section it is from. Continue reading

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Carmel Church Quarry 2015 Day 5

2 ribs ccq boulderfield

As we continued to focus on the boulder field, the crew unearthed more boulder boundaries and a potential end to the boulders…well, at least an end to the boulders that are in our current pit. During this time, Grant from VT found the two associated ribs shown above and VT student Tara found the thoracic vertebra below. Continue reading

Posted in Carmel Church mysticetes, Carmel Church Quarry, Chesapeake Group, Vertebrate Paleontology | Leave a comment

Carmel Church Quarry 2015 Day 4


Due to poor weather conditions, lingering snow, and ice, I lost three days of excavation time. Fortunately, my next crew of volunteers arrived safely and had excellent weather conditions to work in on their first day. This new crew consists of undergraduate students from the College of William and Mary, Virginia Tech, and Lynchburg College. Continue reading

Posted in Carmel Church Chondrichthyans, Carmel Church Geology, Carmel Church Quarry, Vertebrate Paleontology | Leave a comment