2018 FIELD NOTES

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Sunday, May 6.
          Bill and Meaghan Mueller went to the Lubbock Gem and Mineral Show.  They arrived just as it opened. It was smaller than the last time either of them had attended. Bill bought Meaghan a small gemstone, but his favorite display was the fluorescent rocks, similar to his display at home.
Fluorescent mineral display

Fluorescent mineral display


Saturday, May 5.
          Bill and Megan Ostrenga were working at the TTU Museum's "Dino Day". There were approximately 1500 visitors for the event. It was a very busy day for Megan and Bill in the Dino hall. Bill only saw two people Bill  had met previously (other than our security and our Director). Some of the kids were very excited about their "finds" in the dig boxes.
Megan talking about fossils at Dino Day

Megan  at Dino Day


Monday, April 30.
          Bill and Megan Ostrenga headed south to MOTT VPL 3629.  It was much warmer than their previous visit. It was quite breezy though. The second reptile they encountered was a very fat western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus ). They arrived at the locality and headed into the basin. The first thing they encountered were some of the unusual clams that occur at this locality. They also found some of the same large clams they collected later at MOTT VPL 3632.
          Bill started finding some phytosaur teeth and bone fragments. Then Megan found about 15 Azendosaurid vertebrae and collected them. Then sitting in the same spot Megan found a good sized phytosaur vertebra up-slope from  the little vertebra. She also spotted another bone and called to Bill for identification. It turned out to be a Poposaurus ilium. While Megan was collecting her finds, Bill found a metatarsal and a proximal Malerisaurus femur.
          They found various bone fragments, then Bill found three very large phytosaur osteoderms. They worked their way back to the truck and proceeded to 
MOTT VPL 3632 where they found a little bone scrap and collected some large, fragmentary clams before returning to Lubbock.
Megan Ostrenga with an aetosaur lateral osteoderm she discovered.

Megan 
with a Poposaurus ilium

Sunday, April 8.
          LYNN MARGULIS. Thursday, April 12, at 6:30 pm. in Room 169 of the Human Sciences building at Texas Tech University there will be a showing of a documentary film, Symbiotic Earth, about her and her work. Her research on symbiosis and Gaia were internationally well known. In 2012 Texas Tech University hosted a symposium in her honor. Lynn Margulis was an award winning scientist in her own right; however, she was also married to Carl Sagan.

Lynn Margulis and Bill Mueller in the field at Bill's research area

Lynn Margulis and me in the field at my research area. in 2005


Saturday, April 7.
          It was a cold day to start, being below freezing. Megan Ostrenga, Peter Lewis, and I left late (8 am) to allow it to warm up a bit before we arrived at MOTT VPL 3629. It had been two years since we visited the localities. This is our most distant regular locality being over 100 miles from the Museum. The weather forecast was a bit off. The temperature was still in the 20s when we arrived and the wind-chill was in the middle teens. We lasted a while, finding coprolites, metoposaur fragments, phytosaur fragments, and a poorly preserved phytosaur vertebrae. Then I pulled the plug on the trip and we headed home. It is supposed to be in the mid-80s tomorrow and today I have a roaring fire in the fireplace!

A 


Saturday, March 31.
          Again we were not in the field today. Today Megan Ostrenga and I were working Science Made Simple at the Museum of Texas Tech. Today we were showing how and why museums make and use casts of fossils. We also displayed a few actual fossils. We used our "Metoposaurus" bakeri as the primary example with the actual skull, the mold, and the cast displayed. We had some very good interaction with many of the visitors and hopefully we explained that the mounts in the exhibits were not "fakes", they were copies of the actual specimens.
           Next Saturday we are back in the field.

A young boy being told he is holding fossil poop (a coprolite).

A  young boy being told he is holding fossil poop (a coprolite).


Wednesday, March 21.
          We were not in the field today, but working in the collections. A student from Mesalands Dinosaur Museum, Daniel Holquin, was examining our Shuvosaurus material and comparing it to their's. Axel Hungerbühler and I were working out the details on some of our phytosaur material.  We are finally getting around to finishing the description of "Grey Guy", a basal phytosaur from low in the Tecovas Formation of the Dockum Group. We are also going to work on describing some of our phytosaur mandibles, including the long (111.6  cm), very gracile phytosaur mandible Gretchen Gürtler found (Dec. 31,2008).  Gretchen's mandible has  about 6 cm of the tip of the dentary missing.

           Now I have to refresh my memory on all of my notes on phytosaurs.

Axel Hungerbuhler and Daniel Holguin comparing Shuvosaurid tibiaeAxel Hungerbühler and Daniel Holquin examining Shuvosaurus tibiae.  


Sunday, March 4.
          Saturday was a beautiful spring day to have been in the field; however, Megan  had a prior commitment. So we headed for MOTT VPL 3869 (Triassic: Dockum Group: Tecovas Formation) this morning. We haven't visited the site since last July when I led the TTU Clark Scholars to the site.

          The morning was very nice , with a slight breeze blowing. Along with collecting, I was filming some of Megan's activites for use by the Student Association. She had been videoed by another student in the Paleo collections and prep lab on Friday. Today's videos were to augment that.

          At Site I we found mostly Trilophosaurus vertebrae. We worked our way over to Site VI and collected a phytosaur vertebra. Then Megan found a mostly complete metoposaur interclavicle. I shot some video of extracting it and then went to Site II to check on the partial skeleton I had buried for future excavation. It was in good shape. I then visited several other sites collecting more 
Trilophosaurus material and some Malerisaurus elements.

          When Megan finished removing the interclavicle, we went to Site V where we collected a sub-adult phytosaur femur. We then checked out a number of other sites but found only bone fragments and a few metoposaur vertebrae. On the way back to Lubbock, I showed Megan where several other localities were. She had been working on material in our collection from these localities and I wanted to give her a visual context of the localities.

Megan Ostrenga collecting a metoposaur interclavicle she found.
Megan collecting her metoposaur interclavicle


Megan Ostrenga collecting her metoposaur interclavicle

Megan collecting her metoposaur interclavicle

Malerisaurus proximal femur
Malerisaurus proximal femur

Megan Ostrenga collecting a sub-adult phytosaur femur
Megan collecting a sub-adult phytosaur femur

Saturday, January 27.
          It was a cold and blustery day as Megan Ostrenga, Mykel Wade, and I made a leisurely start to the field to collect. It was the first time for either of the young women to endure going to the field with me and had to endure my incessant questions of "what is this" as I hand them bone elements.

          Mykel is starting a practicum working on the Stagonolepididae specimens in our collection. This trip gave her an opportunity to see where some of the material was collected and possibly find some herself.

           Right after we arrived I shot a photo of the two of them with part of a mammoth jaw. They were pretty excited about that. We continued with our prospecting and they collected a few teeth, coprolites, and osteoderms. We didn't find anything major today. We did find several elements of un-named taxa, but nothing major.

           It was a beautiful afternoon in the field. We stopped by and visited with the landowners and an ajoining rancher on our way back to Lubbock. It was nice to be back doing fieldwork again. Here is to many more trips to the field this year (toast).

Megan and Mykel with part of a mammoth jaw.
Megan and Mykel with mammoth jaw fragment


The obligatory tooth and coprolite photo.
The obligatory tooth and coprolite photo

Osteoderm
An osteoderm Megan found.

Monday, January 1.
          Life is just a Jimmy Buffett song. Every day is a revolution .......... one more candle and a trip around the sun. Changes in latitude, changes in attitude, nothing remains the same.
          I am grateful for that as t
he past 15 monsths have very trying, but now with me back to 100%, I expect 2018 to be a fantastic year. As soon as we get some decent weather after January 7, I want to be in the field collecting.

Quetzalcoatlus mount in MOTTU main gallery.
Quetzalcoatlus mount




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ALL TEXT AND IMAGES © 2018 BILL MUELLER