Monday, July 31, 2006

Fieldwork Pt I

Alas, an internet connection and a bit of time to explain my inexcusable absence from the blogging world! As some of you may know, my absence has been due to extended fieldwork missions in eastern Canada. My first project was in southern New Brunswick, collecting fossil fishes from the earliest part of the Carboniferous. The goal is to study the fish faunas that existed at that time and to understand how the vertebrate fauna turned over after the end of the Devonian. Of course, there is always the hope that one will find a tetrapod.

The site is relatively accessible and I'm not keen to inspire private collectors to poach the site, so my details will be limited. Most of the material is not really the envy of collectors as it is generally disarticulated, broken open in section, and ridiculously difficult to prepare. The fossils are found in shale beds that crop out in various parts of southern New Brunswick.

An outcrop of Carboniferous shale that is quite typical of the region. Fossil vertebrates appear to come from only a few restricted horizons in the formation.

The site is relatively rich and surprisingly more diversity is found here than we had previously expected from this fauna. Sadly, the tetrapod continues to elude us.


The partially articulated skeleton of an undetermined genus of lobe-finned fish is seen in section on the side of a large boulder.



Hopefully, the data from this work will help us understand both the diversity and paleoecology of vertebrates that lived shortly after the Devonian. This site has equivalent age counterparts all over the Atlantic provinces of Canada, each of which has different kinds of animals living in it. This could provide some information on how animals are distributed across different environments during this time which should be crucial in understanding what these ancient communities were like.
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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Fieldwork

In case you've been visiting and wondering why I haven't posted in so long, I've been in the field collecting fossils -- lots of fossils. I've had a very successful field season working on Early Carboniferous rocks in Atlantic Canada. I've been less successful with the Late Devonian outcrops, sadly, since there are so few of them. Since I've been camped out in what is essentially a cow pasture, I haven't had much time to post anything, but there will obviously be much coming up!
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