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minnbuckeye

Advanced Earth Science Education

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minnbuckeye

For the last 2 years, I have been in charge of replenishing fossils into a "dig" pit at a local nature center/ zoo. Last fall, just before freeze up, I was approached by an individual as I was burying fossils. After explaining what I was doing and showing her the variety of fossils being planted in the pit, she informed me that she was a local teacher in charge of the advanced earth science curriculum and appreciated what I was doing. After we talked a bit more, it was obvious that she incorporated fossils heavily into  her learning lessons. She just didn't have many to show the students. I then volunteered to provide her with specimens that coincided with her lectures. I was surprised by the list that she then provided me: 

 

I chatted with the two other life and earth science teachers at my school and they were both very excited about this opportunity as well.  Here is what our wish list looks like, and then you can let us know what is actually possible :-)

1. 10 sets of loose fossils that are common in Minnesota (we could put 1 set at each table for students to look at) and then 1 glued down identified set (could be diorama like or could be organized by time period or both).

2. Index fossils or rocks with index fossils in them that students could have to put in order from oldest to youngest.

3. Organisms that are related but lived in different places at the same time or organisms that were related but lived in different time periods (so they can see the evolving features).

4. Organisms that would help us show how Minnesota's environment was changing over time. (from similar location, but in different layers of rocks).

5. A few larger fossils that help us show students that not all animals and plants were so small back then.

I know this is a big list, and I am not sure what is really possible, but these were some of the ideas that we talked about when we met.  We will appreciate anything you are able to share with us.  We are so so excited that you are offering to help us make this unit more engaging for our students.

Here are some of our science standards so you can see where our ideas are coming from:

1. Explain how the fossil record documents the appearance, diversification, and extinction of many life forms.

2. Use internal and external anatomical structures to compare and infer relationships between living organisms as well as those in the fossil record.

3. Recognize that variation exists in every population and describe how a variation can help or hinder an organism's ability to survive.

4. Recognize that extinction is a common event and it can occur when the environment changes and a population's ability to adapt is insufficient to allow its survival.

5. Interpret successive layers of sedimentary rocks and their fossils to infer relative ages of rock sequences, past geologic events, changes in environmental conditions, and the appearance and extinction of life forms.

I hope these help you to understand where we are coming from.  All of us are also very interested in coming out to tour the barn.  We will put our heads together and come up with a few dates that might work for the 3 of us and then send them your way.

Thanks so much!
Alissa Naymark

 

Well, I opened my mouth and now I must produce!!!!! #1 and #5 were easy to take care of. #3 is partially done in that I do not have fossils, let alone index fossils for some of the Periods that are younger than Devonian. Any suggestions of inexpensive index fossils? I do have Cambrian, Ordovician, Devonian, and Mississippian covered. 

In addition, I would appreciate thoughts on how to accomplish #3 and #4? I do have some ideas, but am interested in what others think.

 

 In closing, I will post one project I put together tonight. 

 

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 In this scene, bivalves are seen burrowing through the sand. Attached to the rocky substrate are both brachiopods and barnacles. To be learned from this creation is the theory that  brachiopods likely had intense competition for anchoring spots when barnacles came into existence and flourished. Yet the bivalves, in a different sandy niche, continued to prosper. Then comparisons can be made with today's situation of Zebra mussels and the indigenous mollusks that they are destroying. Ironically, they use the mollusks as a place to attach choking the life out of them. Revenge for the brachiopods!!!

 

 

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WhodamanHD

When I think inexensive index fossils, I think rice foraminifera but for younger sediments, I’d look at chespecten jeffersonius (may have spelled that incorrectly) which only lived between 4-5 MYA. I think maybe a Mako tooth, a Hastilis tooth, and a Great white could demonstrate evolution pretty well and pretty cheap, they don’t have to be big specimens. And the Megalodon is a rather large fossil creature, big teeth in poorer condition are cheap and with some investment nicer ones can be bought.

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DPS Ammonite

What an interesting project. I have gone 1 step further: I have sought out teachers to give a set of fossils to after I gave them a paleontology talk.

 

 

If you want to be scientifically accurate, the brachiopods (Paleozoic) in the photo did not live with the much more recent type of barnacles (early Triassic to present) where the shell is directly attached to the substrate.

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minnbuckeye
8 hours ago, DPS Ammonite said:

What an interesting project. I have gone 1 step further: I have sought out teachers to give a set of fossils to after I gave them a paleontology talk.

 

 

If you want to be scientifically accurate, the brachiopods (Paleozoic) in the photo did not live with the much more recent type of barnacles (early Triassic to present) where the shell is directly attached to the substrate.

 

@DPS Ammonite, thanks for your input!  You are absolutely correct in pointing out the mixture of species and  info will be provided to the instructor as to where the fossils originated from. As just a casual collector, I only have limited specimens. But for illustration purposes, this was to represent a "story", not actual past life. I have also been asked to give the paleontology talk, but my limited knowledge would quickly show through when speaking to advanced students. So I will leave the presentations to the instructors!!!! We will have better educated children this way.

 

8 hours ago, WhodamanHD said:

When I think inexensive index fossils, I think rice foraminifera but for younger sediments, I’d look at chespecten jeffersonius (may have spelled that incorrectly) which only lived between 4-5 MYA. I think maybe a Mako tooth, a Hastilis tooth, and a Great white could demonstrate evolution pretty well and pretty cheap, they don’t have to be big specimens. And the Megalodon is a rather large fossil creature, big teeth in poorer condition are cheap and with some investment nicer ones can be bought.

  

@WhodamanHD, I do have foraminifera from a quarry in Brooksville, Florida.  Thanks for the suggestion!

Am I to understand Makos lead to Isurus hastalis which lead to Great Whites?? I have found and have been given Mako teeth.

I also have found and been given Meg teeth. So these are truly index fossils?? If so, I am getting closer!!

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Coco

Hi,

 

10 minutes ago, minnbuckeye said:

Am I to understand Makos lead to Hastilis which lead to Great Whites?? I have found and have been given Mako teeth.

Please ! Don't give species without genus ! It is Isurus hastAlis or another genus if it changed, and be careful with A in hastalis (without capital letter at the beginning of the word) ;)

 

Coco

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minnbuckeye

@Coco, Will correct. Thanks

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Coco

:dinothumb:

 

If I may allow myself, the same fault in the message of front... ;)

 

Coco

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WhodamanHD
2 hours ago, minnbuckeye said:

@WhodamanHD, I do have foraminifera from a quarry in Brooksville, Florida.  Thanks for the suggestion!

Am I to understand Makos lead to Isurus hastalis which lead to Great Whites?? I have found and have been given Mako teeth.

I also have found and been given Meg teeth. So these are truly index fossils?? If so, I am getting closer

Some sort of skinny toothed Mako likely lead to Carcharodon hastalis, which is usually broader on the upper teeth (well in the broad toothed form, it’s kinda confusing), which lead to the GW, so you start with a skinny tooth, then a broad tooth, then a broad tooth which has serrations. Little example of evolution. I meant megs for the big fossil item, but they are usually restricted to later Miocene to early Pleistocene. It’s also has a cool evolutionary path, from Otodus, to a serrated form (like auriculatus and angustidens), and slowly the cusps go away into Megalodon. Angustidens and Otodus are usually inexpensive. 

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minnbuckeye
2 hours ago, WhodamanHD said:

Some sort of skinny toothed Mako likely lead to Carcharodon hastalis, which is usually broader on the upper teeth (well in the broad toothed form, it’s kinda confusing), which lead to the GW, so you start with a skinny tooth,

 

My Makos are fairly broad. So is this something different?? As you can tell, I know very little about shark's teeth.

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WhodamanHD
2 hours ago, minnbuckeye said:

 

My Makos are fairly broad. So is this something different?? As you can tell, I know very little about shark's teeth.

Your “Mako” is probably a Hastalis, they are often called Makos despite being revised into white sharks. Regular Makos are relatively cheap, and GW can go cheap especially from places like South Carolina.

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