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Story of a softshell turtle (Apalone sp.) from start to finish
digit posted a topic in Fossil PreparationHere is a photo heavy and (for me) text light posting showing the sequence of Tammy and I finding a partial softshell turtle (Apalone sp.) carapace in the field at Montbrook (which was jacketed and removed on the last day of the spring digging season). I pulled the jacked and prepped the carapace over the course of a few months. The jacket was made in the field on 5-May-2021 and I retrieved the jacket (#573) from the storage area on 10-Jun-2021 and completed the prep today 23-Sep-2021. Lots of excavation into the jacket and cleaning and re-attaching parts. The pectoral girdle (scapula and coro
Better late than never
digit posted a topic in Fossil Hunting TripsTammy and I have been volunteering at the Montbrook dig site in north-central Florida every Wednesday and Saturday for a while. We're part of a small group of local volunteer diggers who've been able to dig the site during the pandemic. We have a maximum of 6 people at the site with 4 volunteers (aka retired people who'd rather not golf or watch daytime TV) and 2 from the museum. Over the last couple of weeks we've worked to take out several gomphothere bones that have turned up in the grid squares that we've been working. Two Saturdays ago we started the jacket on the remaining part of a gomp
You gotta put in the time...
digit posted a topic in Fossil Hunting TripsFor the last several weeks Tammy and I have been volunteer digging every Wednesday and Saturday at the Montbrook site a little south of Gainesville (FL) with the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH). The weather called for continuous light drizzle all day yesterday (Saturday) so we bumped the dig day to today (Sunday) instead. Normally, Sunday and Monday are the non-digging days at the site but the other days are occupied by small groups of volunteers and site managers. This morning was clear and cool with a steady breeze from the north. This meant several layers while packing
Chilly morning at Montbrook
digit posted a topic in Fossil Hunting TripsThe spring 2021 digging session opened last week at the Montbrook site in north central Florida. It is a short drive from Gainesville where Tammy and I relocated last summer. One of the reasons for choosing Gainesville as our new home is so that we can volunteer more with the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH). It is really great to be able to do a day of volunteer digging at the Miocene Montbrook site without a 5 hour trip up from South Florida and hotel reservations. Previously, we'd book a 3-4 day span of volunteer digging to make the trip worth the effort. Being able to dig for a si
Lucky the Turtle
digit posted a topic in General Fossil DiscussionJust came back from an afternoon at the FLMNH vertebrate paleontology warehouse sorting through bone bags from the Montbrook site. Richard Hulbert, Collection Manager, was there as well working on cataloging specimens from the trays of catalogable specimens that I'd separated from the scrappy bones last month. He came over to show me a set of 3 neural bones from the carapace of the Trachemys slider turtle that is ubiquitous at the site. I remember seeing these 3 bones (neurals 3 through 5) that run along the midline of the turtle's upper shell (carapace) when I determined they were associated
Something's fishy at the FLMNH
digit posted a topic in General Fossil DiscussionAnybody who has read my recent posts already knows that Tammy and I moved from South Florida to Gainesville so that we could volunteer more with the paleontology department of the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH). Moving out of hurricane prone South Florida and downsizing to a more manageable size house with less yardwork were additional considerations. I've been picking through micro-matrix from the Montbrook site where we often volunteer to dig in the field. It's a late Miocene site which looks to have been a river system much like the modern day Peace River. The site p
2 4 Fish 8 (Ate)
digit posted a topic in General Fossil DiscussionStill fossil hunting indoors during the summer (and the pandemic) amusing myself (and helping the FLMNH) by picking through micro-matrix from the Montbrook dig site in Florida. I've made some other posts featuring the interesting micros I've been finding to try to share a bit of the world of micro-fossils with a wider audience (Florida has more than megalodon teeth). I was picking through a sample of Montbrook micro-matrix. It was collected back in 2018 and was subsequently washed, dried, and sat in a zip-top bag for years awaiting someone to spend about a dozen hours picking thro
digit posted a topic in General Fossil DiscussionNo, not named for the famous dive/snorkel spot in Grand Cayman where tourists can interact (usually quite safely) with swarms of Southern Stingrays but instead referring to the abundance of Dasyatis sp. teeth from the Montbrook fossil site in north-central Florida. While this site is a treasure trove of fossil material providing huge numbers of specimens of turtles as well as other creatures like alligators, gomphotheres, tapirs, peccaries, llamas, and ever an early saber-toothed cat, many taxa on the faunal list are only known from micro-fossils. In addition to valuable and scarce fossil rema
Gopher? Go figure!
digit posted a topic in Fossil Hunting TripsSince moving from South Florida up to Gainesville I've finally been about to help the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH) with some volunteer effort by picking through washed and dried matrix that was collected back in 2018 from the Montbrook site just a little way south of Gainesville. Tammy and I have spent several days over the last couple of years volunteering to dig our assigned 1 m x 1 m squares at the site bagging up the smaller fossils and excavating pedestals for larger specimens to be jacketed. Most of the sandy/silty matrix does not have very interesting micro-fossils but ther
Montbrook volunteer dig March 2019
digit posted a topic in Fossil Hunting TripsFor several years now we've been fortunate enough to be able to take part in volunteer digs with the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH), University of Florida (Gainesville). The site was discovered at the end of 2015 and we've been participating during the dig seasons (the drier cooler part of the year) since 2016. The site is on private property but the landowner is very enlightened and understands the importance of this site which gives a rare glimpse into the Hemphillian North American Land Mammal Age (NALMA) period dating around 5.0-5.5 mya. The owner has been very supportive of let
Volunteer Dig at Montbrook
digit posted a topic in General Fossil DiscussionI've written trip reports before about volunteering with the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH) at their various dig sites in Florida. The currently (very) active site is called Montbrook for a small town that used to be in the area (but is no more). Here are a few links from FLMNH which provide some contextual information about the site: https://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/museum-voices/montbrook/ https://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/florida-vertebrate-fossils/sites/mont/ https://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/museum-voices/montbrook/2016/09/07/why-montbrook/ The site has yielded an im