Fossil Friday – camel lumbar vertebra

While we only have one well-preserved skull of the extinct camel Camelops hesternus from Diamond Valley Lake, we have a large number of post-cranial remains. Continue reading

Fossils of my youth

Inspired by the #GatewayFossil hashtag on Twitter, I’m reposting this piece that I originally published at “Updates from the Paleontology Lab” on June 9, 2009.

My first exposure to fossils in the field (as opposed to in a museum) occurred when I was around 5 years old. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – mastodon molar

For the last few weeks, volunteer Joe Reavis has been diligently reconstructing a box of tooth fragments that came to the museum several years ago via a mitigation project in Murrieta, California. It quickly became apparent that the fragments were mastodon, and it seems they all come from a single tooth. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – oreodont skull

We’re in the process of taking in a number of specimens collected by the late Harley Garbani, which are being donated to the museum by his wife Mary. The first item to come to us was a nicely preserved and prepared skull of an oreodont, the first in the WSC collection. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – sloth thoracic vertebra

Earlier this week, sloth expert Greg McDonald spent several days at the Western Science Center looking at ground sloth material in our collection. I spent that time peering over his shoulder and asking lots of questions. This made the work go more slowly, but it also greatly improved my understanding of ground sloths. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – sloth dermal bones

Next Tuesday evening, Greg McDonald is going to give a lecture at Western Science Center on fossil sloths, so for this week’s Fossil Friday we have sloth bones! Continue reading

Fossil Friday – mastodon skull fragment

After the turmoil of end-of-year administrative duties, I’m now starting to turn my attention back to the Mastodons of Unusual Size Project.The subject of these week’s Fossil Friday is a skull fragment that is being added to our dataset. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – Megalonyx tooth

megalonyx-jeffersoniiOn January 17, Western Science Center is kicking off a new monthly lecture series. Our first speaker will be H. Greg McDonald from the Bureau of Land Management, who is going to be talking about ground sloths, animals which make up a substantial part of the Diamond Valley Lake fauna. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – bat jaw

Earlier this week we had our staff holiday party at the Western Science Center, where we watched The Nightmare Before Christmas. That inspired this week’s Fossil Friday topic. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – horse skull

Among the large animals recovered during the Diamond Valley Lake excavation, fully 1/5  of the specimens came from horses; only bison bones were more common among the large animals. There are two species of horse represented at DVL. The smaller species, Equus conversidens, is exceptionally rare in the deposit, and nearly all the recovered specimens belong to the larger Equus occidentalis. Reflecting this, there are a number of E. occidentalis skulls in the WSC collections. Continue reading