Fossil Friday – Mistaken Identity


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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Fossil Friday – Paralia sulcata


“Max’s Minions” is the informal name for WSC’s junior research volunteer program. The Minions perform a variety of lab duties for us, including 3D scanning, molding and casting, skinning carcasses for our dermestid colony, preparing fossils, and other tasks. Several of them are also working on their own research projects. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – abelone

Last week Cogstone Resource Management ( delivered a collection of Pleistocene deposits from Ventura County to the Western Science Center. This included a number of both vertebrate and invertebrate fossils. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – Mammut pacificus

Fig 1 WSC18743 cranium

The big news this week for Western Science Center was the naming of a new species of mastodon, Mammut pacificus. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – mammoth molar


Today’s Fossil Friday specimen comes from a location we’ve never before featured on this blog, Joshua Tree National Park. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – dinosaur tibia


We have discovered many isolated dinosaur limb bones in the Upper Cretaceous Menefee Formation of New Mexico. Although it’s difficult to infer the full appearance of a dinosaur from a single bone, even isolated bones can tell us a great deal about what kinds of dinosaurs were roaming around 80 million years ago, and can be very surprising!

This bone was collected by my colleagues at the Zuni Dinosaur Institute for Geosciences and volunteers with the Southwest Paleontological Society in 2015. We have been thinking that it was possibly two dinosaur limb bones next to each other. However, Western Science Center volunteer Joe Reavis opened up the plaster jacket this week, and it turns out that it contains a single massive shin bone, a tibia. The bone is still partially encased in mudstone, but we’ll keep working on it to determine what sort of dinosaur walked around on this immensely thick bone.

Post by Curator Dr. Andrew McDonald.

Fossil Friday – dinosaur limb bone


In the Western Science Center lab, we’re making steady progress through several field seasons’ worth of fossils from the Menefee Formation in New Mexico. We’re working on fossils of dinosaurs, crocodiles, turtles, and plants, all dating to around 80 million years ago.

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Fossil Friday – ceratopsian vertebra


On January 25, I showed you a horned dinosaur vertebra that was still partially encased in its plaster field jacket. Continue reading

Fossil Friday -crocodile skull

WSC 16509

For Fossil Friday today, I want to give you an update on one of the fossils we collected in New Mexico last year. On December 14, 2018, I posted the smashed up skull of a small crocodile from the Menefee Formation, around 79 million years old.

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Fossil Friday – more on Mystic the whale


Last summer we took delivery of Mystic, a Pliocene baleen whale from Santa Cruz County. It will take us years to fully prepare Mystic, but we have started working on it, and we’ve made some interesting progress. Continue reading