2003-2005 FIELD NOTE HIGHLIGHTS

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2005 Field Note High Lights.

December 31, 2005, Saturday.
     Life is just a Jimmy Buffett song .... This year gone by ain’t been a piece of cake.  .....just another candle and a trip around the sun. 
   .................................................................................................
There’s one thing I’ve learned from all this living ... it wouldn’t change a thing if I let go.
 

October 24, 2005, Sunday.
       As the dawn broke, the dim light showed a sky full of what looked like "snow clouds" but it was supposed to be too warm for snow. Doug and I were on our way to Post to check out a locality we hadn't been to since May.  It had been a beautiful week in West Texas, just way too short. Now a cold front was blowing in. The winds were strong and cool.
       We had a good day.  We found some interesting vertebrae, femora, and humeri.  Doug found an interesting procoelous vertebra and a femur. I found another drepanosaurid tail spine and five heterocoelous "Cromhall" vertebrae. We went by and checked on the phytosaur skull Doug found earlier in the year (see June 5). It is huge. Then we went to Doug's camp and enjoyed a nice fire to warm up. Rain began to fall as we arrived home.  A few minutes ago, sleet was falling. 
       Summer is over. 
View of campfire by Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas.

September 21, 2005, Wednesday.
       I had the pleasure of going with a vertebrate paleo group from Bonn, Germany, to my research area. Even though there had been ample rain since my last visit, there was very little interesting material exposed.  We found the typical phytosaur, metoposaur, trilophosaur, and protorosaur material. I did find a jaw fragment of one of the new Trilophosaurus species I am describing from the locality. One of the German students, Anna, did find a  partial phytosaur skull. It is in poor condition, but I need to excavate it to see if there is enough preserved to be diagnostic.
A photo by Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas. of a phytosaur skull Anna found in the Triassic Dockum Group, Garza County, Texas.

August 17, 2005, Wednesday.
       It was a very nice week except for the driving. I did stop by my research area to see what all the rains had washed out. I found parts of two metoposaur skulls, some Trilophosaurus vertebrae, large phytosaur scutes, a piece of the dicynodont squamosal #3, procoelous vertebrae, phalanges, ungulae, and lots of extant lizards (including the Cophosaurus texanus (Greater Earless Lizard) to right. On the trip I also added a number of new birds to my 2005 list (I don't think I have added a new bird to my "Life List" since the gyrfalcon). 
One of the extant lizards, Cophosaurus texanus (Greater Earless Lizard), Garza County, Texas by Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas.

 

July 31, 2005, Sunday.
       Dawn found me on cliffs overlooking the Rio Grande. There weren't any clouds and it was slightly hazy so it was nothing special photographically; however, it was a beautiful sight to me. I watched a small herd of javalina down below. A small flock of turkeys were roosting in the trees below me. A couple of white-tailed deer moved through the cane below. There was a huge variety of birds observed below.
       When I returned to camp, the traps had not had been very successful; however, the netting of bats went well. It was decided to cut the stay here short so I headed down in the canyons to get my photography done.  By the time I crawled up the edge of the canyon (carrying 3 cameras, lenses, tripod, and accessories) it was getting back up into the upper 90's.  We broke camp and split up with three of us returning to Lubbock.
A view near the mouth of a side canyon of the Rio Grande by Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas, on a hot, August day.

 

July 30, 2005, Saturday.
       We got a fairly leisurely start this morning and headed south towards the Rio Grande. It had been too long since I had seen the Chihuahuan desert and I was looking forward to it. The countryside was green from Lubbock to the Rio Grande which is unusual for the beginning of August in this part of Texas. The smell of the sage in the Chihuahuan desert brought back lots of memories. When we arrived at our destination seven of the biologists began setting their traps for the night. Two of the biologists and I went down into the canyons. They to scout for localities for netting bats and me to check out the photographic possibilities. It was pretty warm. To the right is an image of the Rio Grande, near sunset, showing the vast borders of river cane.
A photograph of the Rio Grande River, black vultures, and river cane near Langtry, Texas, by Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas.

 
 

June 5, 2005, Sunday.
       It was a beautiful, sometimes stormy weekend.  Saturday Doug and I went down to make sure his new phytosaur skull (to right) hadn't been disturbed by the recent rains. It was in good shape and the roads weren't as wet a we had expected, so we scouted around some then went south. We had a very successful day. Doug found a very interesting tibia about 25 cm long. I collected three "Cromhall" heterocoelous vertebrae, three procoelous vertebrae, a drepanosaurid ilium, one of the "fused" ungulae, a ginglymoid ungula, and a partial drepanosaurid scapulacoracoid.
       It was a beautiful day today, spent working on manuscripts, prepping specimens, sorting specimens, and watching it hail (26mm largest). My research area is getting hammered with storms right now.
Photo of a large Pseudopalatine phytosaur quadrate in situ in the Triassic Dockum Group, Garza County, Texas, by Bill Mueller.

 

May 30, 2005, Monday.
       It has been a strange weekend. My Saab broke so my plans to go to Austin were postponed. So Saturday, I  went with Jeff to show him several vertebrate paleo localities. We had a bit of car trouble on the ranch and then the "Monkeywrench" sandstone caused its own problems. So, it was short.
      Today was a beautiful day in West Texas today. I went down to check on what the rains had uncovered at my research locality. After 15 minutes I had already had a successful day. At Site 34 I found some missing parts to my second dicynodont squamosal and then nearby, the distal half of a dicynodont radius! Too cool. At various sites I found abundant phalanges of various small reptiles, an unusual distal femur (13mm wide), a couple of jaw sections with teeth, including one from a Trilophosaurus, a variety of small verts, and a complete 3" long humerus. Then at Site 12, I found the proximal pubis of a Paleorhinus. Then at Site 24, I found part of a Buettneria bakeri skull including the orbit margin and lacrimal. Too many things to list all of them.
       The evening was as beautiful as the day with a steak, baked potato, grilled mushrooms, and a nice wine to cap off a wonderful day.
A photograph of bugs on a prickly pear cactus blossom by Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas.

 

May 8, 2005, Sunday.
       It was a beautiful day to be in the field. There had been quite a bit of rain since I was at my locality last.  We had a good day although we didn't find a lot of material.  First thing I found part of a dicynodont squamosal. To the right is Gretchen Gürtler collecting the skull roof  (frontals, etc.) of a Malerisaurus. We both found a right metoposaur ilium each. Other than that, we just found the typical stuff; ungulae, Trilophosaurus vertebrae, small limb bone ends, and other vertebrae.  It was a nice day in the field and we found a couple of neat specimens.  Now, back to typing  on manuscripts.
A photograph of Gretchen Gurtler collecting small skull roof from the Triassic Dockum Group in Garza County, Texas, by Bill Mueller.

 

April 26, 2005, Tuesday.
       Spring thunderstorms are scattered around the plains again today.  Instead of drawing, this evening I spent developing film and submitting my image to the Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day Gallery.  You can see my image (thumbnail at right) in the Gallery.  It is of the Longhorn sculptures in front of the Ranching Heritage Center at Texas Tech University. 
A pinhole photograph by Bill Mueller of the TTU RHC Longhorn sculptures in the rain.

 
 

April 3, 2005, Sunday.
       Gretchen Gürtler and I had to go ahead and take out the metoposaur skull today without Frances and Angela, with all of the upcoming activities it would have been at least another month before we could get it out.  Gretchen found a nice drepanosaurid tail spine.  All I found was a few interesting tiny vertebrae. 
       After recovering the skull, we went up on the caprock for the rest of the afternoon.  It was nice to  relax  and enjoy a beautiful evening together before starting to work this week.
Gretchen Gurtler showing Bill Mueller the bones a jacket containing a complete metoposaur skull from the Triassic Dockum Group, Garza County, Texas.

 

March 11, 2005, Friday.
      I just returned from a week in Austin. I got to visit with a old, dear friend whom I hadn't seen in too long. I am going to make sure it is not nearly as long until the next time I see her.
       It was actually not a social trip but a working trip. It was very productive. I got a lot of research done in the collections of the University of Texas at Austin. I saw a  number of friends and acquaintances and it was nice to visit with them. It was very enjoyable to have lunch with Dr. Langston and spend part of the afternoon discussing a variety of subjects.
       On my way home I detoured over to my research area. I was somewhat disappointed in how little material had been uncovered by all of the rains during the past month. I did find a very nice, tiny astragalus and another one of my "Site IV strange archosaur " dentaries.
       Künstler's preparations for the alien migration are seen to the right. 
Wilhelm Kunstler 's alien migration preparations of his tin foil hat with a sculptural aspect added.

 

February 22, 2005, Tuesday.
       All of us are anxious to get Frances' metoposaur skull out of the ground but storms hit the locality again. Now they are forecasting possible snow this coming weekend.
       The Howe House Soup and Champagne dinner last weekend was very enjoyable. It was nice to see a number of people that I hadn't visited with since the HHS&C last year.
       Lab work proved productive this week and weekend. I sorted out another "Cromhall" heterocoelous vertebra, two drepanosaurid posterior most cervical vertebrae, and an interesting procoelous vertebra (not one of Atanassov's taxa). I also sorted out what may be an anuran ilium from the same collection of material that had the anuran tibia/fibula. I just got an email that the paratypes of Trilophosaurus jacobsi should be arriving before long. 
       A West Texas howdy to all my website visitors from Australia, New Zealand, and Germany. I appreciate all of the emails.
Francis with metoposaur skull.

 

February 3, 2005, Thursday.
      It was another beautiful day in West Texas!  Lab work this week turned part of our "drepanosaurid tail spines" in an unusual ungula/phalange complex with a ginglymoid interphalangeal joint.  Pretty cool. 
       The Museum of Texas Tech Paleontology Division's website is now up and running on the internet.  You can reach it with this link MoTTU Paleo Division.  Please forward the link to anyone you think might be interested. 
       Our localities received between 6 - 8 inches of snow Tuesday, so we will not be going to the field this weekend.  It will give us a chance to get some prep work and writing done.  Maybe some photography and sculpting, too. 
Changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes, nothing remains the same.
Bill Mueller collecting a fossil from the Triassic Dockum Group in his research area, Garza County, Texas.

 
 

January 30, 2005, Saturday.
       Today was another beautiful day in West Texas that started out with a beautiful sunrise!  Yesterday, after we took down the Caprock Photographer's exhibit at the Lubbock Arts Alliance, I went to an opening for a friend of mine, Kim Brown's photography exhibit.  It is in the Art Building at South Plains College and will be up through February. 
       Today, Doug Cunningham and I went down to excavate, jacket, and remove a phytosaur skull Doug found (December 30, 2004).  We got busy with the material at another site and never made it to the skull.  We found a nice Trilophosaurus cervical vert, heterocoelous verts, procoelous verts, (and a couple of strange verts), radii, femora, humeri, aetosaur scutes, 3 "drepanosaurid tail spines",  and numerous specimens of our "typical"  taxa.
Bill Mueller collecting heterocoelous vertebrae, drepanosauridae elements, and pygostyles from the Triassic Dockum Group, Garza County, Texas.

 
 

January 25, 2005, Tuesday.
       It was a beautiful day in West Texas!  After a phone call this afternoon, I had to go down on the drilling rig this evening to do some geology.  It was a nice feeling again to have the adrenaline pumping with anticipation of whether we are going to make a well or not.  Oil checks or no oil checks ............... kind of gets your blood pumping. 
       I got to spend part of the evening visiting with my friend, Pat Bolden, a geologist from Midland.  It was a beautiful moonrise over the drilling rig. 
A photograph by geologist Bill Mueller of a full moon rising over a drilling rig on an Ellenburger prospect in Garza County, Texas.

 

January 23, 2005, Sunday.
      It was a nice but cold day in West Texas.  We went back to recover the Buettneria skull that Frances had found November 28. It had rained and snowed a number of times since Gretchen Gürtler and I were at my research locality.  I had three young ladies with me today for a field crew.  I was disappointed at how little material was exposed by the rains.  We found some verts, limb bones, scutes, ilia, and teeth.  Gretchen found what appears to be an Apachesaurus clavicle but it needs additional preparation to confirm its identity.  We got the skull excavated and jacketed.  We encountered a bit of delay when Frances hit a phytosaur quadrate while trenching around the metoposaur skull.  It appears there may be more than just the quadrate there (I doubt there is a skull there, it would be nose down!). 
       Gretchen and I drove by and the drilling rig is drilling along. 
       The skull Doug found January 8th is definitely a beautiful Sphenosuchian! 
A photograph by Bill Mueller of Gretchen Gurtler and field crew excavating metoposaur skull in the Triassic Dockum Group, Garza County, Texas.

Trenching around the metoposaur skull.

 

January 17, 2005, Monday.
       This past week saw sunshine, a gray overcast sky occasionally spitting bits of snow or sleet, a freezing wind, gail force wind and sand,  but it was a great week. 
       We recovered the jacket with the Crocodylomorph (Sphenosuchian) material which includes an almost complete skull!  The skull material recovered January 8 turned out to be a very nice surprise with a very nice jaw (theropod?). This past week we also collected a total of 11 "Cromhall" vertebrae, a dicynodont radius, drepanosaurid tail spines, a possible drepanosaurid ilium, over a half dozen ginglymoid ungulae, several procoelous vertebrae, a very unusual notochordal vertebrae (not a fish), an Apachesaurus clavicle, and numerous other interesting specimens.  To the right is part of a selection of fossil shark and ray teeth I am donating to the Museum of Texas Tech from part of my large collection.
       Our photography show opening at the Lubbock Arts Alliance went well.  My website is approaching its 40,000th visitor.  I am enjoying the emails and feedback.
       The oil well is drilling along and is doing fine. 
      So far this trip around the sun has been good!
Texas fossil sharks teeth from Bill Mueller's collection to be donated to the MoTTU, Leptostyrax, Squalicorax, Petalodus, Galeocerdo, Lamna.

 

January 13, 2005, Wednesday.
      Well, it wasn't a beautiful day in West Texas (in more ways than one).  Yesterday Doug had pedestalled the "Crocodylomorph".  There isn't as much there as we had hoped, but we have yet to determine if the skull is present or not.  Today we jacketed the specimen and removed it.  While we were waiting on the plaster to dry we went to Site 4.  There had been a light rain since we were there on Saturday.  We collected NINE "Cromhall" vertebrae plus numerous other specimens.  At the next locality to the north I collected another "drepanosaurid tail spine", a very unusual phalanx, and a very interesting bone that I am in the process of prepping for identification.
       After we removed the block, we went over the ridge to the southeast and scouted another area.  Doug found a green phalanx and we found a number of green phytosaur teeth.  We found quite a bit of fragmented phytosaur material and Doug found part of a phytosaur lower jaw.  We didn't excavate it at this time to determine how much was there.  On our way back to examine the jaw after I collected the radius Doug found what appears to be the clavicle from an Apachesaurus
       Finally, to make everyone who has been writing happy, to the right is a photo of me without my beard, collecting "Cromhall" verts.
Green phytosaur tooth by Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas.

Bill Mueller collecting tiny Triassic "Cromhall" vertebrae, Garza County, Texas.


 

January 8, 2005, Saturday.
      Our new trip around the sun is starting off well as it was another beautiful day in West Texas. We did have to hike in some three kilometers to our locality.  Doug Cunningham and I went down to one of Doug's localities to recover a partial skull that had been left.  On the way in we stopped at the phytosaur skull Doug found in December.  Just below it I found a femur with an extremely inturned head.  Nearby Doug found the distal end of a large Chatterjeea femur.  We found quite a bit of material that wasn't exposed Dec. 30th.  There was evidence of some rain (it was still wet!). 
       I found a partial phytosaur skull, a drepanosaurid tail spine, and a variety of other "micro" fossils on my way to Site 4.  At Site 4, along with many tiny limbs and vertebrae, I found two more "Cromhall" vertebrae and two juvenile Drepanosaurus tail spines.  Doug recovered the partial skull and continued excavating at Site 1-A.  Shortly after he found what appears to be a partially articulated manus or pez near the vertebrae he found in December.  Shortly after that he uncovered a lower jaw (~ 20 cm exposed).  I went over to assist and uncovered what appears to be another partially articulated manus or pez (unugla ~ 2 cm).  (These were just below where Doug recovered two femora.)  As we excavated more, we could imagine the specimen kind of being in the typical reptilian "death pose".  We excavated it partially and then buried it for  recovery later this week.  We can't tell you exactly what it is yet; however, it is not an aetosaur, phytosaur, or Postosuchus.  It appears more along the line of a Crocodylomorph.
Photograph by Bill Mueller of Doug Cunningham excavating Sphenosuchian skeleton (new genus) from the Dockum Group, Garza County, Texas.

Tiny distal limb bone approximately 4mm wide by Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas.


 
 
 

January 1-2, 2005, Saturday,  Sunday.
      One more candle and a trip around the sun.  Well, we are now on our way on another trip around the sun.  My New Year's Resolution for 2005 is to complete (one way or another) at least half of the projects (43) I have in progress before I begin another one.  We will see how long that lasts, but I truly am sincere.
       Met with Doug Cunningham and Herr Doktor Axel Hungerbühler go through some of our recently collected material. It was re-affirming that many of the specimens were unlike anything Axel had ever seen before also.  Then Axel raided my patio for invertebrate paleo specimens for Mesalands Community College.  From Paleozoic ammonoids and prorichthofenids to Mesozoic cephalopods and Cenozoic scutellids.  I will be sending him nice specimens of dozens more species when I have time to get them unpacked.

Just enjoy this ride ... on my trip around the sun.

 

2004 Field Note High Lights.


December 31, 2004, Friday.
        Well, like I always say .... life is just a Jimmy Buffett song .... This year gone by ain’t been a piece of cake.  .....just another candle and a trip around the sun.

       Yesterday was a beautiful West Texas day.  Doug and I spent it in the field.  We had a good day.  Hiking in to the locality, Doug found a complete phytosaurs skull.  That was a good start.  We located two new sites on the way to the locality.  At Doug's locality, he only found a few of the interesting femurs, before finding a very interesting, larger femur and a "Cromhall" vertebra.  Just below the skull, Doug found an articulated string of vertebrae.  Then to the west near the other fragmentary skull, Doug found a Chatterjeea ungula.  At Site 4, I found one of Mom chil's ornithodiran vertebra, several other strange vertebrae, and another "Cromhall" vertebra.  I collected an unusual ungual which resembles the  ungula  from digit #2 of Drepanosaurus.  It is from the same site where I have collected drepanosaurid vertebrae.  At the Headquarters locality I collected another tail spine from a Drepanosaurid.  We had a good day and we found a lot of fossils including phalanges, various limb bones, scapula-coracoids, ilia, and other assorted specimens.
      There’s one thing I’ve learned from all this living ... it wouldn’t change a thing if I let go. 
       HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE.

Tiny Triassic bones found by Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas.

November 27, 2004, Saturday.
       Today started out with a beautiful full moon setting.  I needed to go to the field and check my research area with the recent rains.  It was still muddy from the last rains a week ago.  There was a lot of material uncovered.  We started out collecting ungual phalanxes, tiny sacral verts, and assorted other specimens.  While I was collecting some material at Site XIV, Frances was searching some flats by Site VI.  When she called for me, I went over to see the posterior third of a metoposaur skull exposed.  It appears to have the shape of a Buettneria bakeri; however, it is some 20% larger than the largest B. bakeri skull known.  I would be just as happy with a good B. perfecta skull from the Cooper Canyon Formation.  After I outlined the shape of the skull for Frances, she proceeded to excavate the skull.  The skull is incomplete, lying with the ventral side up.  We covered it with plastic for later retrieval when we have plaster, etc. to properly jacket the specimen.  While Frances was digging, I went to Site IV and recovered part of a Trilophosaurus jacobsi skull with teeth.   At Site VIIL, she found newly uncovered phytosaur skull fragments.  I have to get Herr Doktor to confirm they are Pseudopalatine as they appear.  We made it back after a very productive day. 
Francis excavating a Koskinonodon (Buettneria) bakeri skull.

October 17, 2004, Sunday.
       The last few days in West Texas have been beautiful, a bit breezy but beautiful.  The week has passed quickly.  Too much to do, too little time.  Another new manuscript to work on that I hadn't anticipated.  At least it will be very short.  Another photo exhibit to prepare for.  I am helping with a couple of posters for SVP (which I am going to be unable to attend).   One poster on Postosuchus and one one "Buettneria" bakeri.
       Gretchen Gürtler and I left early and it was a beautiful sunrise this morning with awesome colors as you can see to the right.  It has been six weeks since we were able to go to the field and it was still muddy enough we had to park at an alternate site.  The amount of erosion since our last visit was unbelievable.  Gretchen immediately found some metoposaur bones.  At Doug's juvenile phytosaur site she found part of the maxilla.  She later found a huge phytosaur dorsal scute nearby.  At Site XVII, I found some dicynodont fragments and a Procolophonid jaw (the teeth are exposed).  At Site XVIII, Gretchen found a Rauisuchid tooth and then at Site XXIV she found a lot of   newly uncovered Metoposaur material:  a partial skull, clavicles, jaws, etc. that were already pretty well disintegrated.  At Site IV, the erosion pretty well wiped everything out.  At Site X, there was almost nothing there.  At Site V, I collected an assortment of material including one of Momchil's procoelous vertebrae and a tiny ilium (15 mm).  At Site I, I found a Chatterjeea astragalus and Gretchen found a Malerisaurus scapula.
Colorful sunrise in Garza County, Texas, by Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas.

Gretchen Gurtler excavating part of a metoposaur clavicle from the Triassic Dockum Group, Garza County, Texas, by Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas.

 


October 3, 2004, Sunday.
       After a pretty sleepless night, we drug ourselves into the field.  It wasn't fair, Gretchen Gürtler got to sleep on the way.  We hadn't gone far this morning when the night sky started a lightning display.  Just about five miles before we reached the locality, it began to rain.  We stayed and watched the storms roll in as the dawn broke. As of right now, radar indicates the area is getting pummeled by the third thunderstorm of the day. Since our day excavating was a bust, I am posting an image of an ammonite in the pile in the corner. 
Placenticeras ammonite with hollow chambers collected by Bill Mueller from the Big Bend Region of West Texas.

September 19, 2004, Sunday.
      The past wrecked the present, leaving only the future.  I will take the present and make the future bright.
       I am so glad it has been a very busy week; lots of photography, working on manuscripts, and prepping fossils).  Today Gretchen Gürtler and I spent part of the day prepping fossils.  Gretchen was preparing a Buettneria bakeri clavicle while I was preparing the "Cromhall" heterocoelous vertebrae and a half dozen jaws from my locality. 
Gretchen Gurtler preparing a Koskinonodon (Buettneria) bakeri clavicle from the Triassic Dockum Group of Texas by Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas.

September 5, 2004, Sunday.
       It was mid-morning when we arrived at my research locality to survey the effects of the rains this week.  To begin with things looked normal for a bit of rain.  We went to Site V first.  There Gretchen checked on the phytosaur pelvis she had found earlier and covered.  It was intact.  I found another interesting procoelous vertebra. 
       At Site IV, Gretchen found a Malerisaurus femur and ileum, part of a tibia, fifth metatarsal, and a couple of phalanxes.  Just below where she found those, I found two ungulae.  Just east of there, I found another basiocciputal/ basisphenoid complex, a Malerisaurus femur, and assorted other bones. 
       From there we checked out other sites. At Site XV I found another Trilophosaurus maxilla. The most surprising was the dicynodont squamosal locality, Site XXXVI.  It was gone.  The small mound where it was found was completely washed away.  It appeared in some areas that as much as six inches of soil was eroded away.  It was amazing how much erosion had taken place in that small area. 
Bill Mueller photograph of Gretchen Gurtler excavating a prolacertid, Malerisaurus, femur from the Triassic Dockum Group, Garza County, Texas.

 


August 1, 2004, Sunday.
       Gretchen Gürtler and I slept later than intended but we still got to see the moon setting while we were in route.  According to the weather radar, etc., the locality was supposed to have received about 10 inches of rain last week. From the erosion and the standing water, it did.  For as much erosion as we observed, there was very little fossil material exposed.  I went to Site IV while Gretchen went to Site XXV.  I picked of a couple of specimens and then went to get Gretchen to help me (and to show her the extraordinary axis vertebra I found).  The axis vertebra is a very unique, heterocoelous specimen with an anterior and posterior hypapophysis.  We collected numerous phalanxes, ungulae, limb bones, ankle bones, and vertebrae.  Just before we left that site I found a very interesting right mandible.  At the next few sites we collected vertebrae of Atanassov's taxa, a Trilophosaurus jacobsi jaw section, Trilophosaurus humeri, Malerisaurus humeri, numerous assorted vertebrae, phalanxes, ungulae, and other bones.
One of the many unguals collected from the Triassic Dockum Group by Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas.

June 26, 2004, Saturday.
       Well, it finally happened.  A Changing World  or "the Dino Hall" at the Museum of Texas Tech finally opened.  Although I had little to do with it (other than taking photos) it was a relief to see it open.  There was a nice crowd at the reception (which also was the opening of the excellent art exhibit, Through American Eyes.  It was nice to see a number of friends whom I haven't seen in a while.  To the right is my girlfriend Gretchen Gürtler and me at the opening beside the case which holds four specimens donated from my collection (rudistids and ammonites). 
Gretchen Gurtler and Bill Mueller beside case containing fossil ammonites and rudistids from west Texas that he donated.


June 20, 2004, Sunday.
       Low flowing clouds came across the landscape like banks of fog.  Although it was Father's Day, we went out for a short morning dig to recover the Metoposaur skull Gretchen Gürtler found on June 10.  It turns out there was more to the skull than originally thought.  It was still incomplete but besides the pterygoid and parasphenoid, the squamosal and tabular were present.  Gretchen also found part of an interclavicle over in an area where we hadn't ever found anything previously.  I collected a number of tarsals and vertebrae from Site IV.
A Bill Mueller photograph of Gretchen Gurtler excavating a metoposaur skull she found in the Triassic Dockum Group, Garza County, west Texas.

June 10, 2004, Thursday.
       It was another hot day in West Texas.  With the gracious permission of the landowner, we spent the morning searching for a classic locality.  We found what may have been the scar from the excavation and this appears to be confirmed from the landowner remembering when she was a child it was a place that appeared like someone one had dug into the hillside long before. 
       We stopped by my research area on the way home.  I wanted to check on the Site IV and the theropod site.  Matthew checked on various areas while Gretchen went to check on the dicynodont site.  On her way to the site, Gretchen found several nice sub-adult phytosaur vertebrae together and the palatal portion of a metoposaur skull exposed.  Although it doesn't appear that the dorsal portion of the skull was present, due to the time and heat we did not excavate the skull.  We covered it for later recovery.
A Bill Mueller photograph of Gretchen Gurtler excavating a metoposaur skull she found in the Triassic Dockum Group, Garza County, west Texas.

May 16, 2004, Sunday.
       We rose early to leave for my research area. It was truly a fantastic day in the field.  Doug Cunningham worked at Site IV on Malerisaurus bones (May 8) while Gretchen Gürtler excavated at Site V. By lunch Doug had uncovered the femur/sacral complex, a series of articulated vertebrae, a scapulacoracoid and humerus, more vertebrae, and a partial skull. Gretchen uncovered quite a bit of Trilophosaurus material, a juvenile phytosaur astragalus, and snakes.  She even found her first rattlesnake.  I found three more sphenodontid jaws, including one that appears to be new.  Just before we left, Doug and I went to take a GPS reading on a phytosaur jaw section he had found earlier in the day.  We scouted around a bit for some more and I lucked into a dicynodont squamosal.  The squamosal was about twice as large as the one on the partial skull I had found previously at this locality.  Doug soon found the proximal end of a dicynodont radius nearby.  We were quite happy after a really fantastic day in the field.
Doug Cunningham excavating Malerisaurus fossils from the Triassic Dockum Group, Garza County, Texas.
A Bill Mueller photograph of Gretchen Gurtler excavating a group of associated dermal scutes from the Triassic Dockum Group, west Texas.

May 9, 2004, Sunday.
       It has been a long, long, enjoyable week as I am house sitting while Carlos and Liz Jordan are gone. A bit reminiscent of another Jimmy Buffettsong, Gypsies in the Palace:  A full moon on the caprock on Tuesday, enjoying the pool and good company the rest of the week, paleo field trip on Saturday, enjoying the pool and good company on Sunday and Monday, ... "the order of the sleepless knights". 
Gretchen Gurtler and Bill Mueller inspired by Jimmy Buffett's Gypsies in the Palace. while house-sitting.

May 8, 2004, Saturday.
       It was a perfect day for working in the field.  Doug and I left early, arriving on location while it was still overcast and cool.  We started out by checking various sites in my research area.  Doug found the first significant specimen, a caudal paramedian plate from what appears to be the genus Stagonolepis.  This was the first diagnostic aetosaur specimen from my locality.  We continued to scout the area and collect various items of float:  vertebrae, ungulae, phalanxes, limb bones, etc.  Doug had mentioned that it was unusual to actually see rattlesnakes in the field, so today we saw three!  Doug spent most of his time at Site IV.  When we arrived there and began looking it over, I found another small jaw fragment of a Sphenodontid? with four teeth.  He excavated a complex of limb bones and then moved over to where I had found some Malerisaurus bones.  He quickly uncovered a Malerisaurus femur, a series of articulated sacral vertebrae, what may be part of the pelvis and other limb bones.  The articulated series of vertebrae continued on into the bank.  We were not prepared to take them out so we carefully covered and protected the specimens to be collected on the next trip. 
Cervical paramedian plate from an aetosaur, Paratypothorax, from the Triassic Dockum Group, west Texas.

A Bill Mueller photograph of a prickly pear cactus in bloom, Garza County, Texas.




April 18, 2004, Sunday.
       "Yesterday's over my shoulder, I can't look backwards too long."  As I've said, life is like a Jimmy Buffett song ... and it was a beautiful day in West Texas even though it was cloudy, cool, and the wind was blowing.  I made good progress on a number of research projects this weekend and remembered a very important fifth anniversary. 
       In the field today, we had mixed blessings. We excavated on the two phytosaur skulls.  The juvenile's skull is fragmentary at best.  The skull on top of the juvenile skull is large with the premaxilla appearing to be close to 12 cm wide.  While on a break, we went to locality BDM 451 to recover a paramedian scute that appeared  to belong to a new species of aetosaur that was recovered nearby.  After collecting it, my field partner, Gretchen Gürtler, wanted to look around some more, leading to the discovery of three more paramedian plates and a small lateral scute.  At this time, it appears they may belong to a different, possibly new, taxon.  It is really too early to tell until the scutes are properly prepared.
Bill Mueller photograph of Gretchen Gurtler excavating aetosaur scutes from a new species in the Triassic Dockum Group, west Texas.

March 9, 2004, Tuesday.
       Some people claim there's a woman to blame, but I know, it's my own damn fault.  Yep, life is just a Jimmy Buffett song. The way things are going, maybe I should write Mr. Buffett a song or two!  I missed the full moon Saturday.  I saw it rise just after an evening storm and rainbow as I was moving a load of fossils.  I HAVE to get rid of more of my rocks and fossils!  I have donated a couple of tons of them and have another ton to go. Tonight I only shot digital images of the young lady.  Anyway, back to the fossils.  At the right you can see some of the stuff at my house including several ammonites (Permian, Jurassic, Cretaceous) including one with hollow chambers; a hadrosaur jaw, phytosaur maxilla, Cretaceous turtle, Prorichthofenia teguliferoides, Permian silicified ferns.  The Museum of Texas Tech has received some of my collection already, including a new genus and species of aetosaur, a juvenile Typothorax, ammonites (including topotypes) and a rudistid colony for their "Dino Hall", and assorted other specimens.  My invert stuff is primarily going elsewhere.  At one time I had over 4,000 species cataloged in my collection.  It is dwindling fast. 
View of some fossils on display at Bill Mueller's home.

February 11, 2004, Wednesday..
      Just returned from a very productive trip to Arizona.  Spent a day in the Petrified Forest National Park checking out a couple of Trilophosaurid localities with PFN Park paleontologist Bill Parker.  I then went to the Museum of Northern Arizona where Collections Manager Janet Gillette courteously allowed me to examine the holotype of Trilophosaurus jacobsi.  A very interesting, very informative trip.  Too much to do in too short a time.
A Bill Mueller photograph of the Petrified Forest National Park on a visit doing research on Trilophosaurus dornorum.

February 1, 2004, Sunday..
       It was a cold morning that was supposed to get windy.  Gretchen and I went to my research area first to collect a Buettneria bakeri clavicle.  We collected the clavicle and then scouted the other sites.  We exposed a nice phytosaur femur where we had been collecting some skull material.  After lunch we went went to excavate the phytosaur skull I found on January 24.  1 shows the lower jaw.  2 shows the maxilla in occlusion with the jaw.  While we were excavating the skull, Gretchen Gürtler uncovered what appears to be the posterior portion of a juvenile phytosaur skull (3) underneath the large skull I had found.
View of adult phytosaur skull discovered by Bill Mueller and juvenile phytosaur occiputal condile discovered by Gretchen Gurtler in the Triassic Dockum Group, west Texas.

January 24, 2004, Saturday..
       Dawn came as a slow lightening of a gloomy, overcast morning.  Hopefully, the rain would hold off until we finished our field work.  Again, I was going to see if I could relocate the juvenile aetosaur at locality BDM 452.  After five years, hopefully other specimens will have eroded out at the locality.  First we stopped at BDM 451 and took a GPS reading from the locality where I excavated an aetosaur in the late 1980's and today I found another paramedian scute nearby that appears to be from the same taxon. 
       Unfortunately, I was unable to relocate the juvenile aetosaur, so far.  I did find a lateral scute appearing to belong to the same taxon as above.  I also found a phytosaur skull and jaws.  I found the skull just before we were to leave.  I exposed both the left and right mandible (it is ventral side up) and what appears to be the premaxilla with teeth.  We will have excavate more to determine later how much of the skull is there.  The sky cleared slightly to create a beautiful sunset for the trip home.
View of phytosaur teeth, maxilla, and mandible in the Triassic Dockum Group, west Texas, found by Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas..

January 1, 2004, Thursday.
       Dawn found me up and working this morning. I had made my New Year's resolution to procrastinate less and focus on completing the projects I have going.  You will find I have scheduled fewer exhibits this year as I do not know how much time my research is going to take. 
       After my morning shower I saw something that I thought symbolized the end of the year.  It was an interesting image of a dead peace lily and I thought it would be appropriate to make it my first photograph for 2004. 
       Now I have to go help Künstler work on a sculpture he is wanting to cast next week.  May you all have a happy and prosperous new year.
Image of dead peace lily by Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas.


2003 Field Note High Lights


November 30, 2003, Sunday.
       Too much driving for the holidays!  The weather was nice, ate too much good food.  Enjoyed visiting with lots of nice, interesting people.  Did get to do some birding and wildlife photography at Brazos Bend down near the coast. Photographed a few alligators (right), Gallinula chloropus (Common Gallinule), Eudocimus albus (White Ibis), Anhinga anhinga (Anhinga), Coragyps atratus (Black Vulture), and many more.  Saw some interesting tree frogs also, blue & black, I hadn't seen before!
Bill Mueller photograph of a small alligator on a log at Brazos Bend State Park, Texas.

November 22, 2003, Saturday.
      It was another beautiful sunrise in West Texas this morning.  The colors were splendid and gave hope for a splendid day of prospecting in the Tecovas Formation.  We had a good day.  What appears to be a lepidosaur jaw, what may be a pterosaur bone, an aetosaur basiocciputal, a phytosaur basisphenoid, a huge phytosaur femur, and a variety of other material.  Late in the day the wind began blow hard.  It kicked up a lot of dust which made for a beautiful sunset.  To the right is the phytosaur femur next to my size 13.
Large Leptosuchus ? phytosaur femur discovered by Bill Mueller in the Tecovas Formation, Dockum Group, Crosby County, Texas.

October 26, 2003, Sunday.
       An earlier highlight for the week was when Matthew prepped out the metoposaur skull I had discovered on June 28, and it was as I had suspected, a Buettneria bakeri skull.  I had planned a photo shoot in the canyons along the caprock for Sunday, but a cold front came in.  It was a bit cool Sunday, so the day was spent collecting and excavating in my research area.  We pedestalled a metoposaur interclavicle and collected a Trilophosaurus dentary and procolophonid lower jaw I found.  Gretchen Gürtler found a sphenodontid jaw segment and a phytosaur radius.
Bill Mueller photograph of Gretchen Gurtler excavating a metoposaurid interclavicle from the Dockum Group, west Texas.

August 23, 2003, Saturday.
      The morning was beautiful.  It was cool even without a breeze.  I was planning to go out to see if I could find any images that might any last minute images that might "round out" my portfolio for the exhibit Quintessentially Texas which opens next Friday.  There had been thundershowers in the area the previous evening so I went to check out my research area.  I found a metoposaurus skull with the orbit and part of the skull exposed.  At this time, it also appears to be Metoposaurus bakeri.  I uncovered enough to see that more is there than was exposed and it needs to be jacketed.  I collected a few other individual specimens at various sites and found two new sites.
       Then I headed north for the ranch where I frequently photograph.  The only subject I had in mind for that ranch was a black widow spider.  They were common in one of the canyons.  I got lucky and found an excellent specimen who was having lunch.
Bill Mueller photograph of a black widow spider with a scorpion in its web, Garza County, Texas.

May 8, 2003, Thursday.
       I left fairly early to drive the 160 miles to Abilene to deliver my photographs to The Grace Museum for the Digs exhibit.  The wind was blowing about 45 mph but I arrived at 10:00, just as there was an anthrax scare in the building next door.  The streets were blocked off and the hazmat and fire department were everywhere.  Everyone at the Grace was extremely courteous.  They gave me a tour of the Dinosaurs of Texas exhibit which is opening in June. 
       I stopped by my paleo research area on the way back.  There had been a light rain since I was there last.  I first went to Site XXIII and there were some more fragments of the dicynodont weathering out.  I collected those and went by other sites.  Site VIII had two large phytosaur scutes exposed.  I covered those.  I worked removing overburden at Sites IV and V-a.  The wind was still high and as hot as it was it felt like it was being generated by a blow drier.  After collecting a few bones which had been exposed I returned home.
Black and white infrared photo of Bill Mueller collecting a dicynodont tusk from the Triassic Dockum Group, west Texas.

(2006 Field Notes)     (2007 Field Notes)     (2008 Field Notes)     (2009 Field Notes)     (2010 Field Notes)
(2011 Field Notes)     (2012 Field Notes)     (2013 Field Notes)     (2014 Field Notes)     (2015 Field Notes)

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ALL TEXT AND IMAGES © 2005 BILL MUELLER