UCMP’s summer adventures (cont.)

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Tony Barnosky crawled around in poison oak to find Pleistocene mammal sites in Shasta County, CA. He relocated some particularly productive cave sites that had been excavated nearly 100 years ago and which merit analysis using modern techniques. Later in the summer, he traveled to Florence, Italy to present a paper (coauthored by graduate students Edward Davis and Mark Carrasco) at a Paleobiodiversity Symposium at the 32nd International Geological Congress.
Marc Carrasco diligently entered MIOMAP data all summer, and through his efforts combined with those of Edward Davis, Brian Kraatz, and John Deck of the Berkeley Natural History Museums, the MIOMAP database is now online for beta testing. The MIOMAP project uses a Geographic Information System (GIS) for mapping and analyzing spatial and temporal information about Miocene mammal taxa and localities for the western United States.
Bill Clemens was back in Montana… again. One would think that all the significant fossils had been collected by now, but wind and rain work in our favor. Each year new material appears in the badlands, so Bill headed back to northeastern Montana where he joined Harley and Mary Garbani. Together they continued collecting at an early Paleocene site discovered a couple of years ago. Unlike other fossil localities of similar age, where the fossils are
  preserved in a jumble of lignite and silts, the new site preserves fossils in a relatively clean, sandy matrix, probably formed as a sand bar in a river. Its attraction is the more frequent occurrence of fragments of mammalian skulls and jaws, as well as wrist and ankle bones. These fossils are adding to our knowledge of mammals that lived after the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs.
Edward Davis and Samantha Hopkins visited the American Museum of Natural History in New York during the summer. While Sam looked at a number of specimens of early rodents (aplodontids), Edward measured ~250 ankle bones, or astragali, from Miocene camels and pronghorns. He also hunted around the museum for all of the specimens from the Panaca fauna of Miocene Nevada, as part of his dissertation work.
Astragali examined by Ed Davis at the AMNH in New York
Three of the astragali examined by Edward Davis at the AMNH in New York. (photos by Edward Davis)

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