Fossil Prep Lab 2021 - Passport in Time

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Fossil Specimen Preparation 2021

Nebraska National Forest, South Dakota, 2021
By Barbara Beasley, FS Paleontologist
Hello, and what a great season! We had 26 volunteers work one, two, even three week-long sessions this summer. We took on preparing and making clam shells (permanent housing) for specimens from Toadstool Geologic Park, Thunder Basin National Grassland, Buffalo Gap National Grassland, Dakota Prairies, and Custer-Gallatin National Forest - I lost count how many specimens we completed! Fossils included Archeotherium (“Big Pig”), Stylemys (tortoises; the only specimens returning to Chadron State), brontothere, oreodonts, dinosaurs, fish, mosasaurs, sharks, fossilized trees from the Pierre Shale, dinosaurs (mainly Triceratops and Edmontosaur), and some micro-vertebrate material from anthills. By project’s end, volunteers’ hours totaled 1,362, and this marks my 44th PIT project!  

Mark Ellis had planned to participate in all sessions, however, he had to leave at the end of the first session due to the death of his mother-in-law; we wish him and his family well, and they will be in our thoughts! We had several visitors to the “dino lab” this year: Rachel Benton (retired Badlands National Park paleontologist), Dale Hanson, (retired BLM paleontologist), Jim Martin (my former advisor – yep; still checking up on me!), and Ed Welsch, from Badlands National Park. Ed brought in two rare specimens from the Bloom Basin near the missile site on the Buffalo Gap NG: a large, preserved and petrified bird track (found by Amy Atwater, former collections manager at Museum of the Rockies), and a pond turtle. Both were accessioned into the Museum of Geology’s collections. Y’all put in some fantastic work, and we got a lot done this season – can’t wait for next!

Thanks for coming out!

Barb Beasley
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