|Dumpy doesn't know if the sign is for the road or her|
We went out last week on our first collection trip in the Niobrara Chalk of western Kansas last week, and had some great success. We went out with a class from the University of Tennessee Martin, and the students were a great help in covering outcrops that we hadn't looked at for a few years. The first recoverable item was found before the students had even arrived: a partial large Saurodon leanus skull, RMDRC 11-020. It was collected on a small knob really close to the surface with a plant on top. Roots did a number on it, but it is restorable as a plaque mount.
|How many people does it take to jacket a mosasaur?|
|Standard TPI field pose|
The next day we shifted over a section to the east and hit some outcrops that I had never scouted. The student that found the mosasaur managed to find a decent nearly complete Cimolichthys nepaholica, RMDRC 11-004, and not 30 yards away, an extremely large (9 foot long) Ichthyodectes ctenodon, RMDRC 11-018. Both animals were recovered. The Cimolichthys will be used in our 3D restoration project (which is ongoing) and the Ichthyodectes will be used to enhance our current 3D cast.
|Perimitering the Cimolichthys before jacketing|
The best part about it was that I was able to collect a few specimens for my pet research projects, including some Spinaptychus jaws, RMDRC 11-005-007 and a partial Martinichthys brevis skull, RMDRC 11-003. These rare little fish only appear to occur between MU 4 and MU 6 in the chalk, and material is pretty scarce, including skulls. Hooray for more data points!