Sunday, April 16, 2017

Mea culpa and Moabosaurus

I apologize for having been light on the whole "Minnesota" and "invertebrates" part of the blog for this year. Having been doing this for a few years now, the low-hanging fruit is picked, and of course the winter is not the best time to be out and about in the rocks, even if "winter" came with quotation marks instead of snow this year. I'm currently on a short trip to Reston, Virginia, to do some work at the USGS, but I thought I'd at least try to put in something relevant for those topics. Then, of course, there’s a sauropod.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

David Dale Owen and the first geological survey of Minnesota

Although Keating, Featherstonhaugh, and Nicollet made significant contributions to Minnesota geology, the first true geological survey in what is now Minnesota would have to wait until 1847. At this point, the future state was split between Wisconsin Territory and a leftover chunk of Iowa Territory, and with the pending organization of Wisconsin into a state it was actually touch-and-go for a while how the boundaries would fall out. The convergence of St. Croix Valley interests versus the rest of Wisconsin with the old Northwest Territory stipulation that a maximum of five states be made out of the territory, and a dash of underlying slave state versus free state politics, could have led to anything from a super-Wisconsin incorporating much of what is eastern Minnesota to a separate state centered on the St. Croix Valley with Stillwater as the capital (the story can looked at briefly here). Anyway, in 1847 Congress authorized a geological survey in Minnesota and neighboring areas, and appointed David Dale Owen to conduct the work (Hendrickson 1945).

A portrait of Owen, found on p. 206 of Owen (1852).

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The return of "Anatomical terms of location"

Having done a relatively large number of dinosaur-related posts in the past few months, I've found myself running into anatomy and anatomical terms of location (dorsal, lateral, etc.). Given that not everyone knows all about the jargon, parenthetical glosses tend to slow things down, and I had perfectly serviceable glossaries for these subjects on the late Thescelosaurus!, I decided to revisit that information. I've started by putting the anatomical terms of location on their own separate page. Wikipedia has a useful summary as well, but if you aren't a wiki fan, like having the information on hand here, or just like diagrams featuring the excellent Wild Safari Sauropelta, this is for you. Eventually, I plan to put up skeletal anatomy as a page, and probably a geologic time scale as well (or at least a link to one).