|Solar flares over our pulley. From Back in Dep 1|
|Volunteers Christina Lutz and Tara Thara. From Back in Dep 1|
Those are the smiles of happy fossil finders. Why? Because they're actually finding fossils again! Between mostly planty deposit 7A, and really hard and sterile parts of deposit 1, we're been spending entirely too much time digging up dirt rather than fossils. Dirt = not fun. Fossils = awesome. It's very simple.
I've posted many, many pictures of this bone bed before (it's where we found our North American Lion skull and assorted long bones). And it's once again producing some really great feline finds:
|Sabertoothed cat skull! From Back in Dep 1|
The big dusty skull-looking thing on the bottom is a... big, dusty sabertoothed cat skull, with a complete sabertoothed cat pelvis immediately above it. And look a little above the skull and to the right:
|Smilodon saber in situ. From Back in Dep 1|
It's a complete sabertoothed cat saber!
|Smilodon saber in one piece! From Back in Dep 1|
|Volunteer Steven Wintergerst holding a Smilodon kitten saber|
From Back in Dep 1
This may bring our (estimated) minimum number of sabertoothed cats in this deposit to around 7: 3-4 juveniles, 1 sub-adult (teenager) and at least 2 adults (I will have to double check these number with the lab). It's actually possible to match sabers to skulls, by taking casts of the alveolus (tooth socket) and comparing the cast to the tooth! This is something we might want to do in the distant future; because this deposit is so small we may be better able to discern which bones belong to which individual cat -- especially for these 4 "kittens" we've found. Yes, they're all young, but they're not of the exact same age (which makes me think this isn't a singular litter that got stuck). So by determining the age of each young sabertoothed cat bone we find, we can figure out whose limbs are whose, and then perhaps extrapolate from that how much the asphalt has moved/disturbed the skeletons since they first got stuck 10-40 thousand years ago.
|Turtle shell! From Back in Dep 1|
|New excavator Carrie Howard! From Back in Dep 1|
She works here now! She likes rocks and photography and is generally great.
|Greg A. hunts for lunch by Pit 10 From Back in Dep 1|