UCMP’s summer adventures (cont.)

(page 4 of 5)
 
Harley Garbani, Greg Wilson and Bill Clemens Greg Wilson in the field with Harley Garbani (left) and Bill Clemens (right).
region of northeastern Montana, coordinating their projects with those of Jack Horner and his associates from the Museum of the Rockies (Montana State University). The emphasis in Greg’s research on the evolution of the latest Cretaceous mammalian faunas of the Hell Creek Formation has shifted from the collecting to the analytical stage. Greg and a wonderful group of undergraduate volunteers have been picking through concentrates obtained in past summers, amassing samples of the mammalian and other small vertebrate fossils.
Bill and Harley returned to several localities in the Hell Creek and Tullock that are not particularly productive, but worth checking every couple of years, and “harvesting” fossils that have eroded out naturally. Harley made the “big” find when he discovered part of the ankle of a very large early Paleocene mammal. These mammals are known primarily from their teeth and skull fragments so the challenge is to associate the foot bones with the “head” bones.
  Nan and her husband David, who are now members of the faculty at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York, spent their time digging a trench from the bottom to the top of the Hell Creek Formation and collecting rock samples along the way. These samples will be analyzed for their content of carbon isotopes (Nan is one of the pioneers in development of this technique) and pollen. The results of these analyses will document changes in the climate and flora of northeastern Montana during the last one to two million years of the Cretaceous.

Hunting for Early Cretaceous Dinosaurs
For a three-week period in June and July, Dave Smith once again joined UCMP Research Associate Des Maxwell of the University of the Pacific in hunting for and excavating Early Cretaceous dinosaurs. With a small group of experienced volunteers, they began by examining the sandstones of the Lakota Formation southwest of Hot Springs, South Dakota, where a colleague had reported finding the bones of what appeared to be a theropod and a large sauropod. Dinosaurs from this early in the Cretaceous Period are scarce, so there was the possibility that these finds


Dave Smith SD dig site Dave Smith worked with UCMP Research Assistant Des Maxwell’s crew to find the extent of a bone-bearing layer in the Lakota Formation southwest of Hot Springs, South Dakota. (photo by Dave Smith)

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