16 October 2008

Note from the Lone Male Excavator:

I have often been asked what it is like to work as the lone man among four women. I usually reply in one of two ways. On a good day I say, "It is awesome to work with four talented, intelligent, beautiful, tough women." On a day when I am forced to watch The View and/or Oprah during break times I say, "There are good days and bad days." In essence each of my responses is true, but overall, I work with four people that know, as I do, that we have one of the coolest jobs on Earth. Though our tight-knit group is a socially intense and complex small band of hominins, it is this author's opinion that intragroup cooperation is facilitated quite readily by the composition of individuals and the male to female ratio.

Now, I'm sure you've heard enough on that matter for this post, and even if you have not, too bad, because I have something far more interesting to discuss:
We have partially uncovered the skull of a North American "Lion" (Panthera atrox). I'm sure that pictures will be posted of this find as we make more progress in removing the bones still above it and, finaly the skull itself. From what we have seen so far it is at least fairly well preserved. As was noted in an earlier post, we have also found a P. atrox pelvis. The skull was found in the same grid only a few inches below. We are curious as to how many of the many ribs and vertebrae and other bones found in this grid might also be attributable to P. atrox. Many of the bones in this grid have been of Smilodon [including a complete saber (upper canine)] and it is not always easy to determine an identification of the more general bones until they have been cleaned in the lab.

Well (2!), until next time...


andie said...

you were watching "The View" yesterday BY YOURSELF and entirely of you own volition, and you know it. RYAN.

J Cane said...

I have a question which has been niggling at the back of my mind with regard to paleontology for years.

You're digging up quite literally tons of absolutely priceless fossils. They're a record of a past which can never be recreated and is now preserved solely in these items.

On an even larger scale, paleontologists around the world are doing the same thing.

Do you ever worry about the short-term nature of our society when it comes to archiving, storing and cataloging these things? Imagine if the ancient native Americans had excavated the tar pits. There'd be nothing left for us!

Do you think that society is now stable enough to support these catalogues and collections in the ultra-long term?

I'm strongly in favour of all this research - anything which advances our collective understanding of the world - but I can't quite give myself a satisfactory answer to this question.