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Found 31 results

  1. Permian Bones Galore...

    Hey gang, been a while since I got the chance to post- the Whiteside Museum is rockin and rollin- we've entertained nearly 9000 guests since our opening 18 months ago. Woohoo!! Field work has been non-stop. I am visiting 5 ranches on regular basis now- one ranch has 4 quarries all stratigraphicaly correlated with some of the greatest concentrations of the big-bodied amphibian Eryops- plus an overwhelming amount of disarticulated Edaphosaurus remains in the same bed. One of the photos shows a great Daphy rib lying on the bedding plane of an old swamp. Still prepping the Jody Diadectes skull- going to be one of the most complete on record. Sitting next to it in the massive block is a fantastic proximal caudal- and next to that as of noon, a beautiful Diadectes incisor, no doubt fallen from the skull. Anyhoo, if you haven't been to the museum, please come by and check out the exhibits and our new research lab. Cheers and happy digging, Chris https://www.flickr.com/photos/45026327@N05/albums/72157662658279792
  2. Well... It was another exciting week at the Whiteside Museum! We have been busy, busy, busy! Work on our Eryops jacket "Fred" is underway right smack dab in the middle of the museum for everyone to see. So exciting! There have been close to 100 Eryops teeth that we have pulled from the Eryops site. Each one has to be cleaned, numbered, and added to collections. We have been steady digging on our Dimetrodon Mary! The bone count is stellar! More than a dozen complete fin spines, C3 cervical, left and right hips, radius, fibula, left clavicle, three caudals, sacral rib, more than a dozen complete main torso ribs, left and right maxilla, left mandible, and as of this afternoon our director Chris Flis found Mary's beautiful tibia! Many patient hours are being spent on our Mary... Because the bone is so fragile most of Mary is having to be left in place and will be brought back to the museum in one GIANT jacket. However, there have been a few smaller jackets that we have been able to safely remove and bring back to the lab for prep. The bone is absolutely gorgeous! Some crazy weather rolled in this week at the museum. Nothing like a snow day this past Monday to help us get caught up a bit on prep work and collections! I am looking forward to going back next month. I'm so thrilled to be apart of all the incredible research and work that's going on at the Whiteside Museum! Truly fascinating! Best, Leigh
  3. Hey gang, Its been a while since I posted; museum here in Seymour is going great! 4000 visitors from june to December, so we're pretty pleased. Meanwhile I have been digging like mad every day on five new bone beds. I'm starting to stretch thin on 4 ranches with incredible vertebrate assemblages of both Arroyo formation and the older Clyde formation of the Permian. The Eryops beds have given up two enormous Eryops skulls- I LOVE Eryops. He's the last of the big-bodied amphibians. We won't see frogs for another 40 million years or so. Fred the Eryops has a great skull, complete upper skull and both lower jaws with GREAT teeth and palatal fangs. Charlie is the other Eryops skull, so far we have a MASSIVE lower jaw that pretty much Dwarfs Fred. Scary. snarge your drawers scary... The Eryops beds are pretty fantastic; they extend for nearly 300 yards. It is one massive pond system with wonderful layers of silt. Each layer preserves a chapter in the ponds history. The top is a massive sandstone layer, a remnant of flowing water. Then the water stopped moving and we see very thick silty mud beds, full of preserved fish, sharks teeth, millions of isolated fish scales- and the important thing: Huge eryops and chewed up Edaphosaurs. Finally have proof that the daphys were living near the Eryops. Eryops had no problem munching on the rotting carcasses of Daphys. One of the other ranches is the Clyde formation, older than the Arroyo. There we see another pond system that contains an underlying gravel bar, mostly dime size cobbles of permian carbonate. In the mix is a ton of amphibian remains; mostly the boomerang head Diplocaulus. But were also seeing, SEYMOURIA!!! WOOOOOHOOOOO!!! The elusive link between reptiles and amphibians. Granted I have just a few vertebrae, but thats more than I've seen in a few years. Just above the conglomerate is the bottom of the pond, full of plants. Beautiful plants that settled to the bottom and never moved again. Love that quiet water, preserves things so well. In the mix of the pond we see lots of reptiles and amphibians that have settled to the bottom. Mary is a Dimetrodon that settled- beautiful skeleton. So far we have a left maxilla, left dentary, four complete thoracic ribs, the C3 cervical vertebrae and I think C4 as well. After about a weeks worth of digging it looks like we'll have a pretty nice skeleton. Hope you enjoy the photos, and good hunting to everyone, Chris https://www.flickr.com/photos/45026327@N05/sets/72157650232293462/
  4. Leroy The Edaphosaurus!

    Hey gang, Finally getting around to posting an update on the newest skeleton. Still finding time to dig everyday for at least two hours during the week and full dig days on the weekend. And run the museum. And give tours. And make lunch. And sleep one hour a week. But whose complaining... Daphy Valley is turning out to be a pretty intense area; loaded with bone. We have over a dozen microsites now in the valley with at least 4 Edaphosaurs in mixed articulation and completeness. We have 5 Daphy humeri now, ranging from infant to big adult. The ontogeny studies they will provide is going to be great. Planning on having a least two or three thin sections taken to check on growth cycles. Should be fun to see how they were aging. Leroy is the newest skeleton I found about two weeks ago. Started with a single vert peeping out from the soil. Turned out to be 4 articulated lumbars. After jacketing and getting into the lab, it turns out the verts had rolled, so the neural spines were pointing straight down and were attached in the jacket. TOO COOL. Last few days we have two more sections of articulated verts and ton of neural spine crossbar pieces that are slowly going together. Nifty. Boy these guys were weird. Why the heck do they need to invest in soooo muuuchhh bone??? And the knobby spines were dense!! GEEZZ. Makes 'em so heavy... dunno. Cope said they were fer power sailing. Probably. Unlike many of the previous photos I've attached, these are a bit harder to visualize. The bones have caliche on them making them a bit ugly... but. We can see that the critter was rotting on the surface of the ground, allowing for the soils to do their damage. Luckily the caliche will prep under a needle. Daphy Valley is the first evidence in the Arroyo formation that shows these guys were living communally. Babies, terrible teens, and adults all living together. Eryops is all over the place too; understandably. This correlates with other formation Daphy beds. Both critters living nearby. Daphys near the vegetation on the river bank, and Eryops further in the water system, sticking close to the swampier parts. So far, hundreds of shed Eryops teeth, lots of bones including skull, femurs, ribs by the bucketload, toes (love amphibian toes) and other misc. pieces. Nice skull parts under a jacket now, need to get it out soon. OKEYDOKEY Thats all for now... Best, Chris https://www.flickr.com/photos/45026327@N05/sets/72157647534844609/
  5. Ok, so I've been doing some thinking about the Eryops site I found on my dig this past week with The Whiteside Museum in Seymour, Texas... I know... I'm obsessed... but I just can't help it! I keep thinking, “What is going on here?!?!?!" We have a red sandstone layer on top of the hillsides. Above that we are finding our favorite plant-eating reptile of the Permian the Edaphosaurus, which makes perfect sense because they preferred the banks of stream channels. Below the sandstone we are finding our shark teeth and shark spines. Now below that, have we possibly found a whole layer of Eryops??? Hmmm...... It's possible! We are finding Eryops teeth and bone fragments at about the same level below the sandstone on several of the hillsides. Now we have found a possible Eryops skeleton on a hillside at the same level we are finding the bone fragments and teeth on the other hillsides. So let's think about these primitive Permian amphibians a bit... These guys lived along stream channels. They had bulky bodies, so they were slow moving on land. In the water they had buoyancy to help them out, so they were most likely able to move a little faster there. Their flat skull with eyes and nostrils on top of their heads meant that they probably hunted like our modern crocs do today. They would float just below the surface of the water and wait for fish to swim by so he could snap them up. The Eryops had no chewing motion in their jaw structure so they would swallow prey whole. His palatal teeth helped hold onto his prey while he tossed it around to swallow it. The Eryops was also a p-r-e-t-t-y big guy for his time. He grew to be about 5' long and weighed close to 200 pounds, so that put him near the top of the Permian food chain. Remember... I said NEAR the top of the food chain. The Eryops would have been no match for the flesh eating Dimetrodon. We haven't seen any evidence of this happening at the site though. In fact we've seen almost no Dimetrodon at all, except for one small tooth. So that begs the question... What about in the water? Could the Eryops have been SHARK BAIT!?!?!? Not sure, but it's certainly possible... I've attached a picture of a piece of Eryops rib bone below that looks a bit suspicious. A fossil buddy of mine, TroyB who is a scale, sharklage, and coprolite fanatic thinks the bone could have bite marks on it. If you look closely at the picture there are some streaks that run through the bone that look like this Eryops could have had a run-in with a shark, but the jury is still out. We are not 100% convinced yet. We'll just have to wait and see what other evidence we can turn up. Chris Flis aka. Dinodigger, had a suggestion on what else it could be. I just can't remember what he said. Maybe he'll weigh-in and let us know. Another cool thing you'll notice about this rib bone is there's an Eryops tooth in the matrix around the rib! We have found OODLES of shed Eryops teeth while digging at this site. You'll also notice that this bone is fairly clean, which is exciting. Quite a bit of the bone we have been finding is coated in a bubbly matrix that we will have to carefully take off with the air scribe, which means LOTS more time and work. I've also included some pictures of the site before we found the Eryops skull and then one after we found the skull. We had to jacket the skull and tarp the site due to the coming rains. Yikes! Between the rain and the local Javelina residents it's been a little tricky protecting the site. Apparently the roots I left in the ground from all the cactus I dug up created a bit of a "Hog Heaven". Who would have thought that cactus root is a hog delicacy in the Texas Red Beds?!?! Duh! It's juicy and has no thorns! We learn something everyday folks! Anyway, there is some really interesting stuff going on here! I can't wait to get back and see what else we will find. I'll keep you posted! Best, Leigh
  6. George The Dimetrodon Update

    Hi gang, its 102. What a great temperature to dig in right?? So here is a link to more pics of the George skeleton, a nice Dimetrodon giganhomogenus. He is slowly continuing to relinquish himself from the bluff. Weathering out for the last couple thousand years has done some damage but the pieces are all going together. We have elements from every part of the body now, except a few. Accounted for are elements from the neck, back, pelvis, fin, legs, and ribcage. The most abundant element is the fin spines and vertebrae which is nice. We came across the odontoid this week, which is the vertebra that connects with the skull. So fingers crossed, we'll see George's smiling face soon. Enjoy the pics, back out to bake in the sun soon. Chris https://www.flickr.com/photos/45026327@N05/sets/72157645258158457/
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