Category Archives: Uncategorized

Fossil Friday – Joshua Tree mammal bone

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The Diamond Valley collection housed at WSC is an extremely rich record of Ice Age life in southern California, but it is far from the only Pleistocene site represented in the museum’s collections.

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Fossil Friday – ceratopsid jacket

Back in May, I shared the partial sacrum of a ceratopsid, a horned plant-eating dinosaur, from the Upper Cretaceous Menefee Formation of New Mexico.

The Western Science Center, Zuni Dinosaur Institute for Geosciences, and Southwest Paleontological Society excavated four large plaster jackets from this site, containing vertebrae, ribs, and a hip bone of this partial skeleton.

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Earlier this week, WSC volunteer Joe Reavis began preparing another of these jackets, which contains the rest of the sacrum, the series of fused vertebrae nestled between the right and left hip bones of the ceratopsid. In the image, just to the left of the Max scale bar, you can see a sequence of four fused vertebrae. Ceratopsids have around 10 sacral vertebrae, so these four coupled with the five from the other jacket that I posted about in May mean that we probably have almost the entire sacrum. Opening each new jacket reveals more about this relative of Triceratops that lived 79 million years ago.

Fossil Friday – Foerestephyllum

IMG_5395Corals are such an iconic part of the modern ocean, it’s easy to overlook the fact that they didn’t become widespread until the Ordovician Period, 4 billion years after the Earth formed and some 30 million years after the Cambrian Explosion. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – ceratopsid ilium

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On May 17, I posted a photo of the ilium of a ceratopsid dinosaur that we collected in the Upper Cretaceous Menefee Formation of New Mexico. At the time, only the medial surface of the bone was visible; however, WSC volunteer Joe Reavis has been working hard and has now prepped the lateral surface as well. On May 17, I identified the bone as a left ilium, but now that I can see the whole thing, I can say that it’s actually a right ilium.

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Fossil Friday – Back from Field Work

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The first part of the Western Science Center’s summer field season with Zuni Dinosaur Institute for the Geosciences and the Southwest Paleontological Society is now over, and that means lots of new fossils have been brought to the museum!

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Fossil Friday – Miocene horses

Hello! I’m Brittney Stoneburg, the Marketing and Events Specialist for the Western Science Center. While my job mostly entails communications and outreach at the museum, I’ve spent the last year dipping my toes into research!

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A Scaphohippus dentary

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Fossil Friday – ceratopsid illium

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Last week for Fossil Friday, I posted the sacrum of a ceratopsid, a large horned dinosaur related to Triceratops. The sacrum is a series of fused vertebrae to which the hip bones attach. Today, I want to show you one of those hip bones from the same ceratopsid individual.

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Fossil Friday – ceratopsian sacrum

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Horned dinosaurs were one of the most successful groups of dinosaurs in the Late Cretaceous of western North America. Known as ceratopsids, these rhino- to elephant-sized beasts brandished horns, spikes, and frills on their massive skulls.

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Fossil Friday – fern

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Over the last year or so, I’ve posted many bones from large herbivorous dinosaurs that lived in New Mexico around 79 million years ago, such as duck-billed hadrosaurs, horned ceratopsids, and the armored Invictarx.

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Fossil Friday – Mistaken Identity

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On March 8 Fossil Friday, I posted an 80-million-year-old dinosaur bone from New Mexico, which I identified as a tibia (shin bone). At the time, it was only partially prepped, and since then, WSC volunteer Joe Reavis has been working tirelessly to remove the remaining mudstone.

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