Sunday, November 4, 2007

This Week in Seymour

The team's all here - Dr. Bakker, David Temple, Chris Flis, Kim Beck and Neal Immega - and anxious to get out to the site tomorrow morning. Here's what they have planned for the week:

We'll excavate "Amy" - a site actually in the steep pathway to the main site the team's been working on. Previously, they've found articulated Dimetrodon spines extending horizontally into the wall. This site is the highest geologic layer in which we've found fossils. The plan is to start cutting that bank back to see how extensive the deposit is.

Johhny Castillo digs a trench around a plaster jacket that protects fossils for transport, before it's removed from the site.

We'll also look for a producing layer in "K2" - where the team found 7 Seymouria vertebrae as well as several other species over the summer. The fossils are are coming out of a small layer, so we're not sure if there is more to be found, or this was just an isolated pocket. There has been a lot of rain in the area, which increases the likelihood of finding more - if there is more to be found. Dr. Bakker believes we will - we just haven't located the layer yet. This week, they'll start cutting a trench to see where soil layers are and figure out where the bones are coming from.

The team will also work on removing two jackets that are protecting most of an associated Dimetrodon skeleton - including spines that would have supported this species' fin as well as a bunch of vertebrae. They'll also continue to excavate the mound and explore what's underneath.

Chris Flis and Johnny Castillo excavate a Dimetrodon spine; later, the team will find an associated Dimetrodon skeleton underneath, which was jacketed, and will be removed this week. Hopefully, more will again be found underneath.

We'll also cut into hill where a complete Dimetrodon pelvis was found on the surface last summer, trench it a little bit to figure out if there's more of the individual underneath the surface, and also to examine what kind of environment this individual died in - whether it was a swamp, streambed, overflowing river or something else.

Also, they will work on a completely new site, where Kim Beck found a trackway of trilobite footprints. They'll use latex rubber to make a mold of the tracks and document the geologic layer they are in. The sediment partially resembles the main site, but also the Permian Red Beds 20 miles north around Munday, TX.

Arthropod tracks from Kim Beck's new site.

The team will also visit Kim Beck's science classes at Seymour High School, talk about what they are finding at the site, as well as fossil formations, local geology, and what fossil materials students can find locally.

The team will also, of course, do some prospecting to see what else we can find - and we hope you'll check in this week to follow the fossils with us.

For more information on some of the questions we're trying to answer and the species we've uncovered at this site, check out the links at right. We'll be back tomorrow night with all the finds and analysis from the first day in the field - and answers to any questions you post. Let us know what you think - and what you want to know.

Until tomorrow...