greygirlbeast (greygirlbeast) wrote,
greygirlbeast
greygirlbeast

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Paleontology and I

So, today I renewed my membership to the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. I was nominated to and accepted into SVP twenty-eight years ago, and it's been one of the very few long-term bits of continuity in my life, one of the only constants. That makes it precious.

In 2005, when, with Dr. David Schwimmer, I published a report of the first evidence of velociraptorine theropods from the Gulf Coastal Plain of the US, I thought that was it for me and paleo. Maybe it should be. Lately, I don't know. I miss it terribly. And I have a storage unit filled with Upper Cretaceous specimens that need to be prepared, curated, studied, and eventually placed in a university or museum collection. There's a great fauna from the Bluffport Marl of Sumter County, Alabama, which I collected in April of 2002, including a large sea turtle (?dermochelyid), possibly the latest (most recent) record of a Cretaceous bird from the Gulf Coast, a large terrestrial lizard maxilla (the Bluffport is marine), along with mosasaur, shark, and bony fish remains. I have an ankylosaurian tooth from the older Eutaw Formation of Hale County, Alabama. One of, to my knowledge, only three ankylosaurian specimens from the state. That was collected, I think, in the summer of 1998. There's a juvenile pterosaur femur – the only subadult pterosaur from the eastern US – that I collected from the Mooreville Chalk of Greene County, Alabama in February of 1983 (originally misidentified as an ichthyornithiform bird; this one isn't in my collection, but at McWane Science Center in Birmingham, RMM 3275 [RMM Field No. 171-02-1]). All of these specimens need to be described. Unfinished business.

But that takes time. And money. And space to prepare and examine specimens. And the wherewithal to travel to other collections to make comparisons. Mostly, ultimately, it's a matter of being sure the material, prepared or not, and all it's field data, winds up in a good collection, a university or museum collection. It's not about me getting to describe it – as much as I would like to do so – but about it being properly, permanently conserved.

But it's on my mind lately.

Nostalgic,
Aunt Beast
Tags: fossils, paleo, svp
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