14 October 2008

this week in urban paleontology

Busy, busy excavators we have been!

The photo above shows the 50+ fossils we've measured out over the last two weeks. Extremely note-worthy finds include:
- a metacarpal (hand bone) of a Capromeryx (an extinct and fairly rare species of dwarf pronghorn)
- numerous saber-toothed cat and dire wolf ribs
- at least 6 sub-adult thoracic vertebrae (vertebrae from the rib cage) of a saber-toothed cat. We think they're all from the same individual animal! They were all found in the same 50cm X 50cm x 25cm area of the fossil deposit, and all appear to be about the same age. This is the sort of semi-articulation or association that we've been so excited about finding, because we very rarely (if ever) find it in Pit 91.
- part of a dire wolf skull
- at least four coyote jaw pieces
- a sloth sternal rib (a rib from the front of the ribcage, rather than the back. If you can't find one in your own torso, don't worry -- humans do not have sternal ribs. If you do find one in your own ribcage, please let us know! We'd be extremely interested in studying you...)
- the astragalus (an ankle bone, AKA the talus in humans), scapula, and pelvis (pictured below) of an American Lion

the measured pelvis, in it's natural environment: a metal bucket and a plastic bag. more on this tomorrow

What does this mean? Well, we've found not just one, but TWO of Rancho La Brea's rarer species (the American Lion and the Dwarf Pronghorn) in our first month of digging, not to mention another unique instance of fossil association! This first deposit is already adding to our knowledge base, and these discoveries bode well for the rest our excavation.

And remember this?

(l to r: sloth left scapula, sloth right scapula, ryan)

it now looks like this:

(l to r: dustpan, sloth left scapula, yet another tibia, sloth rib, sloth right scapula, michelle)


1 comment:

Spencer said...

Capromeryx? Lion? ...and you didn't tell me all of this??