Fossil Friday – printed bison calcaneum

IMG_6056At our annual Science Under the Stars fundraiser last September, or donors provided us with funding to start a #D scanning and printing lab the the Western Science Center. While some of our equipment is still on order, our first printer arrived a few weeks ago and we’ve been printing as much as possible while we train ourselves in its use. During the Valley of the Mastodons Symposium, Bernard Means from the Virtual Curation Lab scanned a number of our specimens. While we wait for our scanner to arrive we’ve been printing some of Bernard’s scans. Continue reading


Fossil Friday – deer humerus

One of the collections at WSC comes from the Harveston neighborhood of Murrieta in Riverside County. While this is a fairly small collection, it’s amazingly diverse, with well over a dozen different species of mammals. A group of us have started going through this collection to document it. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – vacation!

For the past week Brett and I have been in Seattle attending the 2017 meeting of the Geological Society of America, where we were presenting on the “Stepping out of the Past” and “Valley of the Mastodons” exhibits. The meeting ended Wednesday night, and we’re now taking a short vacation to see geological sites in the northwest. But today things took a slight detour. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – printed mastodon molar

Each September, Western Science Center holds an annual fundraiser called Science Under the Stars to raise funds for museum operations. At the end of the evening we often do a final “Special Ask” to raise dedicated funds for a particular project. This year, for the Special Ask we requested funds for a 3D-scanning, photogrammetry, and printing lab. Our donors, led by the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, came through in spectacular fashion. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – vole tooth

IMG_5803This week is National Rodent Awareness Week. Fossil rodents may not get a lot of headlines, but they are often the most common vertebrate fossils in Neogene terrestrial deposits, and have the potential to convey huge amounts of information about age and paleoenvironment. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – cat skull fragments

With many fossils, particularly vertebrates, small fragments can sometimes be very informative and justify close scrutiny. That was the case with a pair of associated bones from Diamond Valley Lake. One of the fragments, shown above, includes the occipital condyles that form the articulation between the skull and the first vertebra. The condyles sit on either side of the foramen magnum, the opening through which the spinal cord passes. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – Bison molar


At Diamond Valley Lake, five genera account for 93% of the preserved large animals: Bison, Equus, Camelops, Mammoth, and Paramylodon. Of these five, the most abundant are Bison. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – mastodon vertebra revisited


After a highly successful Science Under the Stars fundraiser, I’ve tried to get back into the lab to catch up on neglected science work. Administrative duties are still conspiring to keep me chained to the phone and computer, but I have made some progress. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – mammoth tooth

Mammuthus columbi

Tomorrow is the Western Science Center’s annual fundraiser, Science Under the Stars. That has our entire staff, including me, wrapped up in preparations for 500 guests and a massive benefit auction, so Fossil Friday will necessarily be brief. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – mammoth tusk


I missed last Fossil Friday while I was attending the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in Calgary, which included posters on Diamond Valley Lake mastodon tusks and the Valley of the Mastodons Symposium and Exhibit. But I’m now back in Hemet, and ready for some more Fossil Friday posts! Continue reading