Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fossil workshop yesterday

We had a great time collecting Cretaceous fossils in West central Alabama yesterday. About 20 of us went to a site on private land where the University of West Alabama is excavating vertebrate skeletons and other interesting fossils. Participants saw a sea turtle and two different kinds of large fish that were being protected and carefully removed from the matrix. They also got to pick through some fine gravel that contained fossil sharks teeth. This had been scooped up from a stream and brought to the workshop as lagniappe. All kinds of things were found in the Cretaceous chalk yesterday, but the pièce de résistance was an ophiuroid (a brittle star). This is an extremely rare find and will go into the Black Belt Museum.

We will do this again next fall. We are aiming to educate K-12 teachers, but if the workshop doesn't fill up we are open to anyone else. Most years, people who are not formal full-time teachers are able to go along and that was the case this year.

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