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One week fossil collecting trip out west, my sixth time in the past six years. Flew into Denver. Rented a car and headed down to Castle Rock where I spent the night at a motel. Next day drove up to Florissant Fossil Quarry. It was Wednesday and they're normally closed during the week in September, but I made special arrangements for a few hours visit. Compared to my two previous visits there, didn't do as well. The other times, I was there for the whole day, this time was just for three hours, and they had had a considerable amount of rain recently and so the shale was more crumbly and more difficult to split. Here are some of my finds. Plants:

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The leaves are Cedrelospermum and Fagopsis. The one on the right I haven't been able to identify yet. I also found this fossil insect:

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The next day I headed north up to Lusk, Wyoming. It rained most of the day and I arrived in late afternoon. With the help of jpc, I arranged to visit a parcel of BLM land north of Lusk and the adjacent ranch land with permission. The biggest challenge was squirming under a barb wire fence and not getting poked by the numerous cactuses that were parked next to most of the fossil bearing concretions I was attempting to split. This area exposed the Upper Cretaceous Pierre Shale. In less than an hour I found these two Scaphites ammonites:

 

 

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The one above was over three and a half inches in diameter and very inflated. This is a sample of other Scaphites ammonites I found over the course of the day:

 

 

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By far the most common fossils were Inoceramus bivalves. All fossil bearing concretions were packed with them. These are some examples of ones I kept. I also have a number that I found here last year: 

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The next morning I met jpc and Fossilis Willis and his father Bill at a cafe in Lusk. From there we headed to a private ranch that exposes the White River Brule Formation- Oligocene. I was there last year, but hunting in the White River is a thrilling prospect no matter how many times one goes. Some shots of the scenery:  

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Edited by Jeffrey P
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It was a tough day physically and mentally. The temperature sored into the 80s and with all of that white rock it was much hotter in the ravines where the fossils were. Finds were often sparse. I tramped over quite a bit of territory in the morning, through many ravines and their tributaries, up and down slopes and all I found was a single scrap of a pelvis. I did see a few weathered tortoises, but I brought back a lot of tortoise shell last year, so I didn't care to pick up anymore. Meanwhile, Fosillis Willis found a complete tortoise shell as well as oreodont and camel skulls. 

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The afternoon proved quite a bit more productive as I explored a neighboring ravine system no one had visited yet. Among my finds were a partial oreodont jaw and a camel jaw. The camel jaw was a new find for my collection:

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Here are some miscellaneous mammal bones plus a piece of tortoise shell that I did think was worth collecting and a couple tortoise bones:

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Edited by Jeffrey P
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Jpc found the leg bone #4 on the bottom of pic #1. I watched him excavate it and he gifted it to me. The next day we visited a ranch that exposed the Upper Cretaceous Lance Formation. Here are some landscape shots: 

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This was a terrestrial formation and the most common fossils were dinosaur bone fragments. This was my first time ever collecting in a formation dominated by dinosaur material. Here is a triceratops tooth I found plus a partial Tyrannosaurus rex tooth that jpc gifted me:

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My collection of dinosaur material expanded more than fivefold. All of my finds however pale next to Fossillis Willis who killed it in the crocodile realm- two complete teeth, a vertebra, and a good-sized portion of skull. Anyway, as you can see, I have plenty of good reasons to return next year. Thanks. I hope you enjoyed the ride. Best wishes. Happy trails!

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Wow! Wonderful finds and report Jeffrey! Thanks for taking us along.
 

I’ve never hunted any site that wasn’t dominated by invertebrates. Your White River and dinosaur material have me. :envy:

The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.  -Neil deGrasse Tyson

 

Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't. -Bill Nye (The Science Guy)

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Great report and finds, Jeff!

Thanks for bringing us along.  :)

    Tim    VETERAN SHALE SPLITTER

   MOTM.png.61350469b02f439fd4d5d77c2c69da85.png      PaleoPartner.png.30c01982e09b0cc0b7d9d6a7a21f56c6.png.a600039856933851eeea617ca3f2d15f.png     Postmaster1.jpg.900efa599049929531fa81981f028e24.jpg    VFOTM.png.f1b09c78bf88298b009b0da14ef44cf0.png  VFOTM APRIL - 2015  

__________________________________________________
"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."
John Muir ~ ~ ~ ~   ><))))( *>  About Me      

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Thanks for putting the report together. It looks like you did well. I am quite partial to those ammonites. Nice finds!

Follow me on Instagram (@fossil_mike) to check out my personal collection of fossils collected and acquired over more than 15 years of fossil hunting!

 

 

 

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I would like to issue a special thank you to Fossillis Willis and his father for their company and  congratulations on their spectacular finds. I would also wish to issue a big thank you to jpc who planned, organized, and arranged this expedition. His long term positive relationships with local landowners made access to these special places possible. His knowledge, help, and company were also very appreciated. He is, in my opinion, a very cool guy! Have a good one.

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Sounds like a great trip and a heck of a lot of fun in your treasure hunting.  Looks like you guys hit the jackpot in spots.  Will sent me some photos already and I loved the bugs and the feather you guy found.  Nice report

 

RB

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It is always fun to see someone else's version of the same story.  Jeff neglected to mention that I was sniffling and blowing my nose and just plain feeling crappy the whole three days I was with them.  I tested the morning of our third day and turns out I had covid.  A crew of four from the Tate Museum spent two days at Como Bluff and 3/4 came down with it.    And fortunately, none of these guys got it.  I hope fossilwillis will add to this.  The photo may not do it justice but Jeff's trike tooth is a very nice specimen. and he did find a nice pocket of ammonites.  

 

yes, caterpillar, the car/truck keeps rolling.      

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