Category Archives: Uncategorized

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 – Bison humerus

This rather stout bone is one of our best-preserved bison humeri. This is the left humerus, shown above in anterior view. 

The distal end, at the elbow joint, is on the left, while the proximal end (shoulder joint) is on the right. Bison have a large knob of bone called the lateral tuberosity which is broken off of this specimen; it should be at located at the lower right. The darker lines and patches are sediment that has not yet been removed.  Continue reading

Fossil Friday – Annularia

 I’ve spent the last week trying to catch up on administrative work while pouring over all the data we gathered during our “Mastodons of Unusual Size” road trip. But after several weeks of almost all mastodons it gives me the chance to feature a different organism for Fossil Friday.  Continue reading

Fossil Friday – mastodon thoracic vertebra

As I’m in the middle of our Mastodons of Unusual Size data-collecting trip, my Fossil Friday post will have to be a short one. But, in keeping with our road trip topic, it will of course feature a mastodon! Continue reading

Fossil Friday – giant tortoise shell fragment

FullSizeRender 22When visitors get “behind the scene” tours of fossil repositories, they are often surprised at the spectacularly unimpressive appearance of some of the fossils. A lot of preserved fossil specimens may not be especially attractive to look at, but they can still provide important scientific information about particular anatomical features, the amount of variation present, or the presence of a particular organism in an ecosystem. Continue reading

First day

Today was my first official day as director of the Western Science Center. As with most new jobs, the first day was somewhat hectic, and mostly filled with paperwork. Continue reading

Headed west

2014-09-03aFor those of you that haven’t been following me online (and hoping those who have will bear with me), I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Alton Dooley, and I’m a “museum person”, a catch-all phrase for folks who have immersed themselves in various aspects of museum operations. I’m a paleontologist and geologist by training, but I’ve been working with and for museums for my entire adult life. Tomorrow, I begin driving west from Virginia to California to begin my new job as Executive Director of the Western Science Center. Continue reading