2006 FIELD NOTES

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December 24, 2006, Sunday.
            Wild and crazy week. Record high temperatures earlier in the week. Freezing rain Wednesday night and snow was predicted for the weekend but it missed.
            It is a crazy time but since I survived Death Week (Dec. 13-20), I have another trip around the sun to look forward to. 
            I finished up some commissioned photos for Christmas presents and Künstler has been finished some commissioned jewelry. I got my Christmas shopping done early (what a shock!).
            Künstler and I have planned to get together over the holidays and get quite a bit of artwork done. He is also "supposed" to finish several drawings I need for manuscripts. I will believe that when I see them. I am trying to revise and finish four Paleo manuscripts for publication over the holidays, along with a presentation on my dissertation. I spent all day today (Dec. 23) working on the presentation, manuscripts, and preparing fossils.
            I took another photo as Santa Clause, but it just isn't the same since my beard got shaved.....so here is the old "Santa" image for Christmas.
            Too many friends to wish happiness to individually, but Happy Hanukkah to Gretchen and my other Jewish friends (even though it has passed), Merry Christmas to everyone....friends and family; and to the rest....what-ever floats your boat!
Santa Bill

November 12, 2006, Sunday.
            It was a very busy week. My homework for GIS was due, I had to go to a program on copyrights, had photographs to make, and then all my regular work. Saturday I had the luxury of being able to go on  the Local Color Studio Tour. I was a very nice afternoon and I got to see a lot of artists I hadn't seen in a while (some since last year's tour) like: Sharron, Ruben, Kathy, Carol, Laura, Aimee, Paula, Jana, and many, many others. I also got to visit with LOTS of artists I see regularly. I also got to visit with a lot of friends who were also enjoying the tour as I was.
            My daughter, Meaghan, has come in for the weekend. It is the first time she has been home since starting the "Cordon Bleu" Culinary Program. We had a very nice dinner last evening (even though I cooked!). 
            Early this morning Gretchen Gürtler and I left to go collect specimens and matrix for screening for micro-fossils. We went to the locality in the Tecovas Formation where I found my first "Cromhall" vertebra. I have also collected from this locality: a Sphenodontid humerus, a Protoavis femur, Pteromimus vertebrae, coelacanth bones, Colognathus jaws, and a variety of other material. Today was a bit disappointing, as far as collecting went. We had a leisurely start to the morning and didn't get to the field until about 9:30. You would not believe where I drove my SAAB, because I don't! Gretchen collected a very large coelacanth quadrate and I collected a vertebra from one of Atanassov's taxa. Other than that, it was mostly bone scrap, metoposaurid elements, and phytosaur teeth. 
Photograph by Bill Mueller of Gretchen Gurtler with a large coelacanth quadrate she just collected from the Tecovas Formation in Crosby County, Texas
Gretchen Gürtler with a
coelacanth quadrate.

Very large coprolite in theTriassic Tecovas Formation.
Large coprolite (6+")


November 5, 2006, Sunday.
            A rancher brought in some very, very interesting material last week. I have been busy this week sorting through some matrix from some of the material, looking for micro-fossils. 
            Saturday was spent with Jeff Martz and Dr. Lehman examining outcrops of the Santa Rosa and Trujillo Formations in Crosby and Garza Counties. To the right is a view of the Brazos River from one of the outcrops. Because of this trip, I didn't photograph a nude on the caprock with the full moon on Saturday. (It was a bit cool, too.)
            It is going to be another busy week.
A photo of the North Fork of the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos, River, by Bill Mueller.
North Fork of the Double Mountain 
Fork of the Brazos River.

October 22, 2006, Sunday.
            I got quite a bit of work done in the collections yesterday. Gretchen came in for a while to study for her mid-term lab test on Thursday. 
            Today, it was a late start on a cold morning but we finally got moving. Fortunately, it wasn't as cold as had been forecast. We were anxious to see what had been washed out with the massive rains last week. Unfortunately, as we would find several times today, the main thing that got washed out was ..... roads.
            The collecting today was very sparse for as much rain as had fallen. I did find another (poorly preserved) jaw of the strange, little, undescribed, archosaur that we find at the locality. We returned fairly early since we covered the area fairly quickly because there wasn't much exposed. 
            On the way back we made a side trip into a ranch to continue the southern extension of the Trujillo Sandstone (see October 8).  Very interesting. It was a very nice day in the field.
            The leisurely afternoon cat-napping together after I cooked steaks and red yams wasn't bad either. Tomorrow is another day though.
Photograph of Gretchen Gurtler collecting Triassic vertebrate fossils by Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas.
Gretchen Gürtler collecting 
Malerisaurus femur.

Poorly preserved archosaur dentary collected by Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas
A tiny archosaur dentary I found.


October 16, 2006, Monday.
            I just thought week before last was busy ..... last week was really BUSY. Both Monday and Tuesday, my pedometer showed I walked double digit miles working!  Between work, my research, classes, and trying to maintain a bit of a social life, it was a tough week.
&            The weekend was a much more leisurely pace, with me working on manuscripts and Gretchen Gürtler hanging out asking questions and studying for her Vert Paleo mid-terms on Monday. 
            It was a cool, rainy weekend so working on manuscripts was good and I got a lot done. I need Künstler to finish drawings for one manuscript and it is complete. I do have to go field check one area's geology before I finish another manuscript. With all the rain this weekend, we will need to go check all of our localities to see what has eroded out. The thunder was still rolling outside Sunday night. It looks like my research area received about five inches of rain over the weekend. 
Trilophosaurus jaw fragment with teeth found by Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas.
Another Trilophosaurus jaw fragment found on the last trip, September 24.

October 8, 2006, Sunday.
            Dawn was beautiful today. The silver moon was full in the western sky. With all of the humidity forming a heavy haze, the sun formed a fiery, red ball in the eastern sky at dawn. It was nice and cool as I headed for Crosby County. I traced the Trujillo sandstone south from the Cedar / Negro Mountain area  to central Garza County. Very interesting.
            This afternoon was one of leisure. Gentle rains fell from time to time bringing the distinct feel of fall to the air. The rains let up enough for me to grill us a couple of steaks for dinner. It was a nice evening Gretchen Gürtler and I got to spend together.
View of full moon at dawn by Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas.
View of a red, glowing sun at sunrise by Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas

October 2, 2006, Monday.
            Last week was BUSY. I am still sorting through the material collected on Wednesday. 
            Saturday I went to Post with Jeff to show him where I found the dicynodont scapula. First I showed him where the "petrified forest" was located. The petrified forest is an area of Triassic stumps still upright. At the dicynodont site, Jeff found a large phytosaur vert. I then showed him were I had found the huge metoposaur skull. Jeff went to measure a section and I started prospecting. Almost immediately I found the anterior portion of what appears to be  a Paleorhinus skull (see right). I excavated and recovered it. While recovering the skull, there must have been a total of 100-150 Monarch butterflies that came by in groups of 2-5. It wasn't one of the mass migrations I have seen before; however, it was a lot of butterflies.
            I recovered a couple more bones, then just before we left I found some Shuvosaurus bones and an ungula. Then Jeff found an area that had an abundance of charcoal and carbonized material.
Anterior portion of a Parasuchus skull found by Bill Mueller

September 24, 2006, Sunday.
            The morning sky was gray, gloomy, and spitting rain on occasion as Gretchen Gürtler and I rose early to go to my research area. It had rained there a couple of times since we were there two weeks ago.
            Yesterday was Dino Day at the Museum of TTU and they had a nice crowd. Vert Paleo students, Museum Science students, volunteers, and staff helped with various aspects of the event. 
            Today was supposed a cooler day than Saturday and it was. It was an absolutely beautiful day in the field. We had a fairly successful trip. One of the first specimens I found was a Trilophosaurus dentary belonging to one of the new species I am in the process of describing. At Site V, Gretchen found Trilophosaurus jaw belonging to the same species. She also found a very nicecervical vertebra of one of Atanassov's taxa. We found a lot of isolated phalanges, ungulae, vertebrae, and limb bone ends from a variety of taxa. Gretchen found a phytosaur ischium. I also found what appears to be a coelophysoid tooth. 
            It was a beautiful day but we were tired, so we headed home shortly after lunch, enjoying the very tasty steak left over from our dinner last night.
            This afternoon I enjoyed visiting with fellow photographer, Glenn Johnson, for a long, long time.
Gretchen Gurtler and Bill Mueller collecting a Trilophosaurus jaw.

September 13, 2006, Wednesday.
            The feel of autumn in the air is growing stronger. Early, early Tuesday morning I prepared Gretchen's metoposaur atlas vertebrae (didn't need much). The tiny femora she found are really way kewl! They appear to belong to Malerisaurus; however, the entire length of each femur would only be on the order of 25 mm. They would have to be close to hatchlings. 

September 10, 2006, Sunday.
            It has been a beautiful but very busy week. 
            Sunday we were supposed to go with Jeff to a couple of localities and show him where I had collected a dicynodont scapula but I never heard back from him, so we headed for my research area. As we headed south, it was nice, cool, and amazingly green for this time of year. It looked more like spring than spring did; although, the air had the feeling of autumn. We got off to an unhurried, later start than normal since we thought we might still hear from Jeff.
            My research area had received about four inches of rain since Gretchen's and my last visit in July. I would like to have found more material; however, we can't complain. At the Site I, I collected a tiny astragalus, two Trilophosaurus coracoids, and a complete Trilophosaurus humerus. Gretchen collected a beautifully preserved proximal end of a Trilophosaurus humerus. We also found assorted vertebrae, limb bones, scutes, etc. While we were there a roadrunner came past me and I alerted Gretchen. It came face to face with her, approaching to within a few feet (much closer than seen in the photo at right). From Site I we went by a couple of other localities, examining various fragmentary bones. Then at Site VI, while I was photographing a "lungfish burrow", Gretchen found a very large, well preserved metoposaur atlas vertebra with the neural arch intact . Nice specimen.
            Then we went to several other localities collecting various bones including several tiny, and I do mean TINY Malerisaurus femora, ungulae, a "Pteromimus" vertebra, Trilophosaurus vertebra, metoposaur bones, and etc. We collected a lot of good material. Gretchen's metoposaur atlas vert was the best of the day, although some of the tiny Malerisaurus femora she found were a close second (if not the prize). 
            Gretchen probably thought of the trip more as a lab test for the Vert Paleo course she is taking from Dr. Chatterjee. What is this? what does this look like? Why do you think it is that? why? why? Overall, she did well (as I expected).
            I am pleased to say I think I survived the day without any new bangs, bumps, or scrapes to my shins. I need to get hold of Künstler so we can coordinate our schedules and try to get some things accomplished this week. 
            Thanks for all the emails and visitors to the website from Texas and all over the world: Visitors this week were from Nepal, Peru, Samoa, Germany, England, Spain, etc., etc., and my regulars from New Zealand, Australia, and Germany. Guten tag and good-ay.   Later, y'all.
Bill Mueller photograph of Gretchen Gurtler on a paleontology dig with a roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) that almost ran over her.
Gretchen Gürtler and the roadrunner.

Bill Mueller photograph of Gretchen Gurtler collecting an atlas vertebra of a metoposaur.
Gretchen Gürtler collecting a metoposaur atlas vertebra at Site VI.

Bill Mueller photograph of Gretchen Gurtler collecting a metoposaur atlas vertebra.
Gretchen Gürtler collecting a metoposaur atlas vertebra at Site VI.

Bill Mueller examining a tiny metatarsal Gretchen Gurtler collected.
Gretchen Gürtler showing Bill Mueller a
tiny metatarsal she collected at Site V.
 
 


September 4, 2006, Monday.
            The week saw a break in the heat, along with some showers. I spent most of the past weekend indoors working on manuscripts and notes. Trying to get things situated for classes. The semester should go fairly well with me taking one class; however, I was "conned" into presenting four more lectures in other classes this fall. That makes a total of six lectures to teach this fall. One will be simple because this is the third year I have presented the lecture (I didn't get to present the lecture on antique photography/paper last year because I was officially taking the class). One of the others is on the Vert Paleo collections (maybe I can struggle through this one) and then all the others are on digital imagery, etc. (I don't know about this one, digital photography....might be beyond my knowledge base!).
            The Caprock Photographers and guests hung their exhibit at the Lubbock Garden and Arts Center Thursday evening. Friday evening we had theFirst Friday Art Trail, and had a very nice gathering for the exhibit. It was nice to see a number of friends visit the exhibit.
            No significant paleo discoveries this week. How disappointing. However, the steady rains should uncover some new material for us. Now the problem when it dries out will be to get into the field and check all of our localities.
An image of the pinhole photographs by Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas, in the Caprock Photographers at the Lubbock Garden and Arts Center.
Bill Mueller's photos at the CP exhibit.

August 22, 2006, Tuesday.
            Showers and thunderstorms have cooled the past week. Several of our vertebrate paleontology collecting localities received good rains, prompting  our plans to go collect as soon as it dries out a bit. They are predicting rain for the weekend. It hampers our collecting but the ranchers desperately need the rain, so we will welcome the rain. Maybe it will erode out some more fossils also.
            I did get a lot of prep work and collection work done this past weekend. I needed to get more writing done than I did, but maybe this week. I am almost finished preparing the sphenosuchian maxilla and dentary, the Otischalkia humerus, and the Otischalkia pubis. 
            I visited with an ex-professor of mine from Sul Ross this past week. Dr. David Mattison is alive, well, and maybe teaching a class at Sul Ross. He was always a good guy (for a hard rocker) and unfortunately, I should have done better in his classes if I had applied myself, but I still did OK! 
            Aarrrgghh. Classes start next week and I have to take one. Which way do I go?
            Hey to all my German, Aussie, and Kiwi friends who regularly check out the Field Notes. 

July 23, 2006, Sunday
            It was been a bit warm last week, over 100 again. A cold front blew in Friday night so it is only running about 94. 
            Today the reprise of Gypsies in the Palace begins. I am looking forward to the 6am swims. 
            Doug and I left early for the field and examined what appears to be a Tecovasuchus? specimen. Quite a bit appears to be there. 
            It was a good day for wildlife. Turkey, hogs, coyotes, roadrunners, whitetail deer, audad sheep (including some big rams), and lots more.
            To the right is Doug taking a GPS reading at a Site.
Doug Cunningham taking GPS reading on an archeological site.

July 17, 2006, Monday.
            It has been a very busy week again!!! I felt like I was going ten different directions at once, all the time. 
            The Museum's annual Gala was Friday evening. I did get to see a few friends. I took a snapshot of a lightning storm as I left (see right).
            Spent most of the weekend sorting, cataloguing, and preparing fossils. Sunday, I helped Künstler prepare a couple of molds so he can make castings later this week and then went over to Carlos Jordan's to visit with his family that is visiting. 
A photograph of a thunderstorm over Jones Stadium, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, by Bill Mueller.
Lighning over TTU's Jones Stadium.

July 9, 2006, Sunday.
            It has been a very busy few weeks. It was nice having a long weekend for the 4th. Spent a lot of time preparing heterocoelous vertebrae, unusual new archosaur jaws, a Promopalaeaster solitarius (Ordovician starfish), a Permian Petalodus alleghaniensis tooth, Prorichthofenia uddeni (Permian brachiopods), and a sphenosuchian jaw Doug and I found. I have been sorting some of the backlog of material previously collected while looking for a Colognathus obscurus specimen I collected several years ago. I found some very interesting specimens in unsorted material from 1996. I have started searching for the most appropriate institution to donate my echinoderm (recent and fossil) collection to. It contains a number of unusual taxa. 
            My daughter came for dinner last Sunday. It is going to be a less frequent event as she is graduating from Texas Tech in August and is then moving to start the Le Cordon Bleu culinary program.
            Gretchen and I went to the First Friday Art Trail and then we went to the field early this morning. 
            This morning Gretchen Gürtler and I rose early to get an early start before it got hot. It was an excellent day. We collected several Malerisaurus femora and humeri. I found an Otischalkia humerus and Kendra found scapula about a foot from the humerus that is very interesting but needs further preparation for identification. We found a Shuvosaurus ungula, another posterior portion of a Trilophosaurus jacobsi skull. It was a good day to say the least.
Gretchen Gurtler and Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas, collecting an Otischalkia humerus from the Triassic Dockum Group in Garza County.

May 28, 2006, Sunday.
            The only clouds in the sky framed the sun with an orange glow at dawn.  Doug and I left early for the field this morning to avoid the heat. It was perfectly still with no wind when we arrived. As we hiked into the locality, the dryness was evident in the poor condition of the prickly pear cactus.
            We were a bit disappointed that more material hadn't weathered out. We hadn't been to the locality since October 23 and they had received some rain since we were there. Despite there not being a great deal of material exposed, we had a good day. We found what appears to be another sphenosuchian jaw, another "Cromhall", heterocoelous vertebra, and another drepanosaurid posterior cervical/anterior dorsal. We also collected a few partial femora, humeri, and various other elements. I also collected what appears to be THE strangest vertebra I have ever collected. At this time (it needs more preparation), I would identify it as one of what I call the "'Künstler' vertebrae". The other three I have collected do not have the neural arch. This specimen appears to have the neural arch. The odontoid process is large, with a "notochordal" depression, and at least the anterior hypapophysis (more prep needed) as in the other "Künstler" vertebrae (the others have a two triangular hypapophyses, one behind the other).
            While I was still working on 3898, Doug went to survey some for Anthro. He found a very nice "lance"? point (at right). 
Bill Mueller collecting a Triassic sphenosuchian jaw, heterocoelous vertebrae, and pygostyles from the Dockum Group, Garza County, Texas.
Me collecting a sphenosuchian jaw.

The lance-point Doug found.
Lance-point that Doug found


May 22, 2006, Monday.
            It was a good week. I went to the Petrified Forest National Park to participate in the symposium, A Century of Research at Petrified Forest National Park. I spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday examining the paleontology collections of the PF. On Thursday, I gave my talk on the newly published Trilophosaurus dornorum as part of the symposium. Friday was spent in the field. I returned to Lubbock on Saturday going through 80 mph winds and blowing sand from outflow boundaries from thunderstorms.
"Dinos" along the road at Holbrook, AZ, while Bill Mueller, Lubbock, Texas, was there describing Trilophosaurus dornorum.
"Dinosaurs" along the highway near Holbrook, AZ.

May 14, 2006, Sunday.
            It was a cool morning and a break in the clouds made the sunrise beautiful; even if the clouds had obliterated the full moon rising last evening. Gretchen Gürtler and I rose early and left before dawn for my research area. It had received a lot of rain since I was there April 23rd. We were a bit disappointed that more material hadn't weathered out. Gretchen did find her first Trilophosaurus"obliquus" jaw today (in her hand at right). She also collected a Malerisaurus humerus and some various other material. I got a nice Trilophosaurus humerus, parts of a juvenile Koskinonodon, and a variety of other material. Nothing earth shattering though. We returned to Lubbock fairly early in the afternoon. 
Gretchen Gurtler with her first Trilophosaurus jaw of a new species by Bill Mueller of Lubbock, Texas..

May 10, 2006, Wednesday.
            I picked up my artwork from the Underwood Center for the Arts today. You can check out my pinhole photograph at Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day image
            I finished preparing one of the new trilophosaurids this morning. This past weekend I was also diagramming the beautiful, uncrushed Trilophosaurus jacobsi posterior braincase I found. The preparation of the other T. jacobsi skull I found is also continuing. I am not sure how complete it is going to be. I also "prepped on" drepanosaurid, anuran?, dicynodont material; and a variety of heterocoelous "Cromhall"  vertebrae, opisthocoelous reptilian vertebrae, procoelous vertebrae for various manuscripts that are in the works. To the right is one of the extant reptiles (a rattlesnake) from my research area. They are abundant this year.
Close-up photoby Bill Mueller of Lubbock, Texas, of a Western Diamonback rattlesnake's (Crotalus atrox) eye.
 
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

April 23, 2006, Sunday.
            The dawn came slowly this morning along the caprock as the remaining storm clouds were colored salmon by the rising sun. Storms earlier in the week and then again last night. It had been a month since I was at my research locality. It was beautiful with all the wildlife active in the cooler morning. I found a dicynodont (#8) bone on my way to the dicynodont #5 site (XXXV).  At the site XXXV, I found more of the dicynodont's squamosal. A good way to start the day for sure. At the next site (I), I collected a Trilophosaurus humerus, femur, and some vertebrae. The next few sites yielded an assortment of minor elements from various taxa. I collected the partial phytosaur skull from Site V. Site IV turned up a number of interesting elements including a scute that strongly resembles Proganochelys although it is slightly different! At Site XI, I found what appears to be a partial skull that I will refrain making a call on what it is until I can get it partially prepared; however, it is not one of the usual suspects. Site XXIV had a lot of material weathered out with the most complete specimen being the mandible of a metoposaur. Site XXXI produced a rauisuchid tooth.  All in all a very productive day.
            After returning to Lubbock, I went to the Lubbock Arts Festival where I got to visit with a number of artist friends, some of which I haven't seen since the last Festival. I did visit with a couple of young ladies who want to model for some of my photography.  All in all, a very productive day and a fantastic way to start the week.
            So, for dinner we celebrated with beautiful rib-eye steaks grilled over mesquite, baked potatoes, and more. 
Texture from a Triassic metoposaur interclavicle from the Dockum Group, Texas.

March 19, 2006, Sunday.
            It was a beautiful, cool, misty morning in West Texas. Then it began to rain. Amanda and I went to my research area this morning. It was lightly raining before, during, and after we were there. We didn't find much except a few small fragmentary vertebrae. Amanda did find a small ungula. Finally, late this afternoon, the sun finally began to come through the clouds (see right). We got soaked but it was an enjoyable trip.
A photograph by Bill Mueller of Lubbock, Texas, of the sun through stormclouds.

February 5, 2006, Sunday.
            It was a beautiful sunrise on the caprock. The wind was light. We went down to excavate another phytosaur skull Doug had found. To the right you see Doug excavating the anterior portion of the skull.  We went to examine a series of articulated Typothorax scutes and possibly part of the skull that Doug had found. After jacketing and removing the skull, we went over to check on the huge phytosaur skull at the Patricia Quarry.  It was still well covered. We looked around and found a variety of specimens including a very interesting proximal humerus.
            Yesterday, I was preparing a variety of material, including a very interesting premaxilla from my research area. I can't tell you what it is but it isn't any of the usual suspects.  I was also preparing a very interesting procoelous vertebra with "paired" neural spines, a very nice Drepanosaurid caudal vertebra with the chevron intact, and the very interesting jaw I came up with last weekend. 
Photoby Bill Mueller of Lubbock, Texas, of Doug with a Triassic phytosaur skull from the Dockum Group.

January 2, 2006, Monday.
            It was a tough start to the New Year for a lot of people. South-southeast of my hometown of Eastland, Texas, the wildfires have done a lot of damage. People I know have lost their homes. Also, from what I understand, all of the structures and houses in the nearby community of Cottonwood were burned today in a separate fire. Then there were/are fires in Oklahoma City (and five or six others up there), the fire near Plains, Hobbs (New Mexico), Cross Plains, and a number of others.  The past twelve months has been something else with the hurricanes, tsunami, tornados, floods, and now, wildfires. 
 

January 1, 2006, Sunday.
One more candle and a trip around the sun.
Well, I successfully kept my New Year's resolution for last year. I am probably surprised more than anyone. Now for this year........I will just try to repeat last year's.
Spent New Year's Eve with good friends, good food, and good wine. Today, Künstler and I spent some time working with our art: framing photos, making molds, making some ceramic castings, and working on a couple of sculptures. Then I spent most of the afternoon working on my dicynodont paper and listening to the sandstorm blow. 
Changes in latitude, Changes in attitude .................... nothing remains the same.

view of the sun througha dust storm.

View of the sun through blowing dust
and sand just after noon today.


December 31, 2005, 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. 
            I made it through December. 
   .................................................................................................
There’s one thing I’ve learned from all this living ... it wouldn’t change a thing if I let go. 

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ALL TEXT AND IMAGES © 2006 BILL MUELLER