UCMP’s summer adventures (cont.)

(page 4 of 7)

This summer members of the UCMP made their annual migration to Hell Creek, Montana. Greg Wilson led a veteran group that included four field assistants (Marisa Ames, Natasha Beranek, Anji Ballerini, and Mike de Sosa), his brother Jeff (a sauropod paleontologist), and his father Phil. The team camped down at the Hell Creek Marina along with Mark Goodwin, Bill Clemens, and Jack Horner’s crews from the Museum of the Rockies. Although the season was short, they accomplished a lot. They returned to trusted localities looking for mammal teeth and other microvertebrate fossils that had been newly exposed by the spring rains. A large portion of their work included gaining a better understanding of the geological context of these sites. While previous UCMP crews have concentrated on the upper part of the Hell Creek Formation, Greg has been assembling a collection of mammals from the lower section, which

Lunching at a microsite
Pausing for lunch at one of the microsites are, from left, Jeff Wilson, Natasha Beranek, Anji Ballerini, Marisa Ames, Mike de Sosa, and Greg Wilson. (photo by Phil Wilson)


corresponds to the last part of the Cretaceous period. By combining the paleontological and geological data from the lower and upper parts of the Hell Creek Formation and the overlying Tullock Formation, Greg will be able to get an idea about what mammals were doing before and after the extinction of dinosaurs.
Meanwhile, Mark and Jack also prospected in the lower portion of the Hell Creek Formation and conducted aerial reconnaissance by helicopter to identify new areas to study next summer as the joint field project continues westward in the Missouri breaks, along the north side of the Missouri River. They also traveled northwest to Rudyard and prospected in the Judith River

pachycephalosaur dome
A new pachycephalosaur dome found this summer in the Judith River Formation, northcentral Montana, will aid in the investigation into the growth and behavior of these peculiar dinosaurs. (photo by Mark Goodwin)

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