2017 FIELD NOTES

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Saturday, July 8.
          Today I led the TTU Clark Scholars students to my field area, MOTT VPL 3869. I was going to let them excavate the vertebrae we found in February. While part of the students were digging on the vertebrae, another student found some bone nearby. She called me to come check it out. I went over and she had part of a phytosaur ilium sticking out of the ground. She was excited but still wanted to know how I could tell what it was. It was a large ilium compared to all the other phytosaur ilia found at 3869.
          The group left the two of them to dig up the phytosaur bones while I gave  another student the GPS and co-ordinates to lead the group to Site V. At Site V, we found lots of archosauromorph bone fragments and a couple of teeth. Nothing of any consequence 

String of articulated phytosaur vertebrae from the Triassic Dockum Gp.
Phytosaur vertebrae


Thursday, July 6.
          May 17 I had one email with a fossil to identify and two people brought rocks and fossils into the Museum for identification. The fossils were Cretaceous invertebrates and the rocks were just rocks.
           Week before last I had a couple bring in part of a bison jaw.
           Today, Thursday, July 6, I had a man bring in some rocks for identification. He told our guard that one was a skull when they called me to come look at them. He had some that he believed Native Americans had drawn on. All he had was rocks. He was very sure I was wrong. He showed me photos of others in his collection (he had hundreds, all rocks). He insisted one the NAs had drawn a dinosaur on the rock. It was just a feature on the rock. He insisted I was wrong. I explained to him that the features he was seeing were like when you see clouds in the sky that are shaped like things. He still wasn't thoroughly convinced I was right. 

Saturday, May 6.
          This is the second week in a row that "Field Notes" were not "Field Notes". Today was Dino Day at the Museum of Texas Tech University. It was a busy day! We had 1996 visitors today at Dino Day. We had some material on display that was quite different from what we usually showed. We did still exhibit the skull casts of "Metoposaurus" bakeri and Postosuchus kirpatricki. To the right is a cast of an allosaurus claw that Wilhelm Knstler used to create the handle for my walking cane he made for me for Dino Day. The shaft of the cane was a gemsbok horn.

Allosaurus claw cast as walking cane handle
Allosaurus claw made into a handle for my walking cane.


Wednesday, April 26.
          Bryan Small came in from Colorado so we could work on our paper describing our new material of the taxon, Libognathus sheddi. We spent Monday and Tuesday examining the Libognathus material. It was the first time that Bryan had seen much of the material. Besides the previous material I had primarily described for the manuscript, we had also added four more Libognathus elements to our collection last September.
          Today I spent the day editing our manuscript that catalogs all of the type specimens at Texas Tech University and photographing a fossil fish. After photographing a series of art prints tomorrow, I will finish editing the type manuscript and send it back to my co-author James Cokendolpher.

Bryan Small and Bill Mueller examining Libognathus elements for their manuscript
Bryan Small and Bill Mueller examining Libognathus elements


Sunday, April 9.
          Weather (rain) has prevented us from going to the field for the past six weeks or so. In the Prep Lab, Samantha Popejoy has been preparing a very nice Permian skull from a fissure fill from Oklahoma. I have just been trying to finish up some manuscripts.
          Today was a warm, sunny day that was a bit breezy (it is West  Texas). Today I carried Lars Lindquist, Peter Lewis, and Les Biffle to MOTT VPL 0690. One of our objectives was to recover a phytosaur mandible I found last October. We jacketed it but had to leave it as the plaster hadn't dried by the time we had to leave.
           The locality had received about 8" of rain since we were there in October. We didn't leave the museum until 8am and arrived at the locality about 8:45. It had already warmed up. It was a nice day in the field until a front blew through and we had high winds for the rest of the afternoon.
            The image top right shows some small Triassic teeth we collected from the Tecovas Formation. In the top center of that image is a 35mm long Shuvosaurus caudal vertebra. The lower right is just one of the many coprolites found at the locality.
         One of our primary goals was to extract a phytosaur jaw we jacketed last October. Unfortunately, when we reached the sight we found our jacket was ruined.  Not only was the jacket ruined, but the mandible was no longer there. Lars found some cigarette butts where someone had been there. After we picked up some teeth at that site we returned to Lubbock.

A collection of Triassic teeth from the Tecovas Formation.
Triassic Teeth

A Triassic coprolite.
Coprolite


Saturday, February 4.
          I met a group of graduate students in a Paleosol class from SMU and lead them to MOTT VPL 3869. First we went to the eastern margin of the main lacustrine depression where they were able to observe the steeply dipping sandstones and large fossil trees. I lead them to a zone of inertinite. After examining the zone, we started moving over to another zone of inertinite and vitrite. On the way one of the students found a series of at least four articulated phytosaur vertebrae and some other associated bones. We did not excavate the bones, but left them to be recovered later. 
          After examining the vitrite zone, we went to Site I to examine the carbonate pebble conglomerate. Neil also found a paleosol and had the students clear it to examine it. After lunch we went to examine the stream channel and then left the locality.

Series of phytosaur vertebrae.
Phytosaur verts


Tuesday, January 31.
          We didn't do any field work over the winter months due to my illness; however, now I am feeling fine and ready to get to work in the field. I am gearing up to finish some of my manuscripts also.

Metoposaur Koskinonodon atlas vertebra

Field work


Sunday, January 1.
            I almost didn't survive December as "Death Week" tried to do me in this year, but I am still alive and kicking. I will definitely be more heartless than I was in the past.
           Life is just a Jimmy Buffet song. Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes. Trip Around the Sun. Margaritaville. Bamma Breeze. Boat Drinks.
            I plan on doing a lot more fieldwork this year. Looking forward to a productive year.

Drawing of Libognathus skull for manuscript

Libognathus



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ALL TEXT AND IMAGES 2017 BILL MUELLER