2013 FIELD NOTES

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October 12, 2013, Saturday.
            I took several students and a writer for TTU to VPL 0690 today. John Davis, the writer, found the first specimen, a 70+ mm phytosaur tooth. We didn't find a great deal of material; however, we found the usual phytosaur and parasuchid teeth and coprolites. I found an interesting aetosaur osteoderm. The best find of the day was when John-Henry found a phytosaur premaxilla.
Phytosaur premaxilla
Phytosaur premaxilla

 August 1, 2013, Thursday.
            I took my summer volunteers to the field today to VPL 0690. We didn't find anything outstanding, but they did find metoposaur, phytosaur, and paracrocodylomorph teeth. Also found lots of coprolites. Lauren found a couple of very nice aetosaur paramedian osteoderms. 
Large paracrocodylomorph tooth
Paracrocodylomorph

 July 1, 2013, Monday.
            I made a quick trip to my research area. Found what appears to be part of an aetosaur skull. Also found some Paleorhinus osteoderms. Unfortunately, I also found evidence that someone has been checking out my research area, unbeknownst to me or the landowner. There were rock cairns at several of the fossil sites. Not good. 
MOTT VPL 3869
Sandstone body

May 16, 2013, Thursday.
            I have just returned from several days in Tucumcari, New Mexico, with Gretchen Grtler. On Monday I gave a talk on the Mesozoic biostratigraphy of the Tucumcari area. Then the next few days, I helped with the first vertebrate paleontology field class of the summer at the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum. They had me focusing on teaching preparation techniques in the lab. 
Museum Director, Gretchen Gurtler, leading students on a tour of the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum and talking to them about the Triassic reptile Postosuchus.
Gretchen with Postosuchus
 
May 12, 2013, Sunday.
            I rose early to go do a bit of field checking for my dissertation. I have checked this stuff a hundred times but just wanted to make SURE (again). I did not expect to find many fossils since, to my knowledge, it had not rained significantly since I was there last. (All of the above is actually just a metaphor for wanting to get outdoors and hike around searching for fossils.) 
            After being on the weather roller coaster all week, it was a beautiful day to be in the field. I "checked" what I "needed" to in the field and enjoyed the day outdoors. I did find one proximal "Malerisaurus" femur. 

     Prickly pear cactus were beginning to bloom.
Bloooming prickly-pear cactus photo by Bill Mueller, photographer - paleontologist
Cactus blossom

May 4, 2013, Saturday.
            It was "Dino Day" at the museum. I brought some fossils from home and some from out of the basement of the museum for people to see. We had over 700 visitors for Dino Day.
 
April 25, 2013, Thursday.
          It was a long day yesterday returning from Drumheller, Alberta, Canada. I had been there for a week to attend the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology's Fossil Preparation and Collections Symposium at the Royal Tyrrell Museum. The museum is absolutely fantastic. It was an excellent conference and the staff and hosts treated us great. I was able to meet a number of people who I had only known via emails, fb postings, and list-serves. I think I had only met six of the more than 112 attendees previously, so I got to meet a lot of very nice people. The talks and workshops were interesting. I think it snowed a little bit all but one day I was there.
            The last day was a field trip to the Dinosaur Provincial Park over near Patricia, Alberta. The bus ride gave us a chance to visit and observe some of the wildlife: deer, antelope, mallards, pintails, scaup, shovellers, coots, geese, magpies, robins, hawks, etc. I didn't see any snow but it did mist on us a little bit once.
            I believe I may have seen more dinosaur bone in the field than I have ever seen in one day before. Dinosaur bone fragments were all over the place. As a group we found a variety of elements: turtle shell, croc teeth, ribs, ceratopsian horn core, hadrosaur vertebrae, hadrosaur ungual, hadrosaur tibias, theropod teeth, and ornithomimid vertebrae. One woman also found a small dart point.
            Our last stop was to a field of glacial erratics. In the image on the lower right you can see one of the large glacial erratics, with several hoodoos in the mid-ground and badlands in the background. After the field trip, we went to the Patricia Hotel where we experienced an interesting restaurant concept. You paid your money and they gave you your meat (chicken, beef, or bison), then you had to go cook it on a grill yourself. If it isn't cooked correctly, you have no one to blame but yourself!

Entrance to the exhibits at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller, Alberta, Canada ....Albertasaurus
Royal Tyrrell Museum

Horseshoe Canyon, Drumheller, Alberta, Canada, badlands, coal seams
Horseshoe Canyon

Theropod dinosaur, Ornithomimus, Ornithomimid, Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta, Canada, fossil vertebra, caudal
Ornithomimus vertebra

Hadrosaur ungual, Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta, Canada, fossil toe, duck-billed dinosaur
Hadrosaur ungual

Hadrosaur tibia, red lichen, Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta, Canada, badlands
Hadrosaur tibia, lichen

Dart Point, arrow head, Native American, indigenous peoples, flint
Dart Point

Dinosaur Provincial Park, landscape, badlands, erratic, hoodoos, storm, Alberta Canada
Erratic, hoodoos


April 8, 2013, Monday.
            I was saddened to hear that Wann Langston passed away yesterday. I made my first vertebrate paleo dig (other than picking up shark teeth) with him, the late Bob Rainey, and Art Busby excavating some titanotheres in Big Bend National Park. I was an undergrad at the time. Later he urged me to come to UT to work on my PhD. He has had a major influence on many people in the paleo world including myself. We discussed not only our current research but also the work he did while he was here at Texas Tech. He will be sorely missed by all. To the right is Wann Langston (left rear) and Art Busby carrying out material from our titanothere dig in the 1977.
Wann Langston and Art Busbey carrying titanothere material out of Big Bend National Park.
Wann Langston and Art Busby
 
April 5, 2013, Friday.
            I just returned from attending the Langston Symposium in honor of Wann Langston at the Geological Society of America meeting in Austin. It was nice to see a lot of friends. My first vertebrate dig was with Wann Langston a log time ago. At the symposium I was sitting behind Art Busbey who was the fourth participant in that dig in Big Bend National Park (along with the late Bob Rainey).
            On the way home I made a detour to go over to my research area to check out the roads after the last rains. The roads were very rough and rutted. I only visited one relatively easily reached site: XLII. There I found a few broken phytosaur teeth, some appendicular osteoderms, and what appears to be metoposaur palatine. I need to prepare the "palatine" for certain identification.
Metoposaur palatine (?) bone needing preparation
Metoposaur palatine
 
March 1, 2013, Friday.
            Last September I found what I thought was a small, very hollow limb bone, possibly a dinosauromorph. Upon prepartion in the lab I discovered it was a very, very long cervical vertebra! To the lower right is the extremely long, hollow vertebra. It appears to be a cervical vertebra The probe at the bottom is approximately 3 mm across.
Very long Triassic vertebra
Very elongated vertebra
 
January 27, 2013, Sunday.
            It was a nice day in the field in my research area. It hadn't rained much since I was there last fall. We started out at Site XLII. We collected a couple procoelous vertebrae and a few other isolated elements. To the right is an 8 mm long procoelous vertebra I found and a view of one of the 12" stakes I mark my sites with. This shows how much erosion has taken place as at one time it was driven almost completely into the ground!
            Since it hadn't rained much, we were not finding much either. We decided to leave the field early to be able to spend more time together at home.
small procoelous Triassic vertebra

site stake

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ALL TEXT AND IMAGES 2013 BILL MUELLER