Sunday, July 28, 2019

Fossil Horses of the National Park Service

Every so often I like to do an overview of a fossil group in National Park Service lands. We've had proboscideans, dinosaurs, sloths, and bison, plus late Cambrian and Late Ordovician summaries, and an update to a published packrat midden roundup. This time around, I present Equidae, the horse family. Horses have a long and distinguished fossil record in the NPS, from the Eocene to end-Pleistocene Equus, the modern horse genus. (Note: if this was a formal setting, I'd stick to "Equidae" and "equids" throughout, but I think we can get away with "horses" here.) Cue the map with giant caption:

Another in the long line of long captions. There is some question about the location or antiquity of the records for 30, 31, and 32, so they are marked with gray question marks. 1. John Day Fossil Beds National Monument; 2. Nez Perce National Historical Park; 3. Hagerman Fossil Beds NM; 4. Yellowstone National Park; 5. Fossil Butte NM; 6. Great Basin NP; 7. Golden Gate National Recreation Area; 8. Death Valley NP; 9. Tule Springs Fossil Beds NM; 10. Mojave National Preserve; 11. Lake Mead NRA; 12. Glen Canyon NRA; 13. Grand Canyon NP; 14. Santa Monica Mountains NRA; 15. Joshua Tree NP; 16. Bering Land Bridge NPRES; 17. Kobuk Valley NP; 18. Wind Cave NP; 19. Badlands NP; 20. Agate Fossil Beds NM; 21. Niobrara National Scenic River; 22. Carlsbad Caverns NP; 23. Guadalupe Mountains NP; 24. Big Bend NP; 25. Waco Mammoth NM; 26. Padre Island National Seashore; 27. Mammoth Cave NP; 28. Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail; 29. Valley Forge NHP; 30. Chesapeake and Ohio Canal NHP; 31. Piscataway Park; 32. George Washington Birthplace NM; 33. Cumberland Island NS; 34. Big Cypress NPRES.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Your Friends The Titanosaurs, part 14: Kaijutitan, Karongasaurus, and Laplatasaurus

This time around there are two easy entries and one tougher entry. Kaijutitan maui was named this year, and Karongasaurus gittelmani seems to have been largely forgotten by researchers. On the other hand, Laplatasaurus araukanicus, one of von Huene's South American titanosaurs, is a (waste)basket case.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Aquilarhinus palimentus

I get to knock another notable fossil park off my list today with a new basal hadrosaur from Big Bend National Park. The NPS doesn't have a park covering the classic Upper Great Plains terrestrial Upper Cretaceous rocks, but it does have Big Bend, one of the best southern North American Upper Cretaceous areas known (to say nothing of its Lower Cretaceous and Cenozoic records). Our visitor today is the arch-snouted trowel-jawed Aquilarhinus palimentus.

But first, a brief note which connects to the history of this blog: "Lori" the Morrison troodontid has been officially described, as Hesperornithoides miessleri (Hartman et al. 2019). There's really no point in my writing anything about it, because the two lead authors (Scott Hartman and Mickey Mortimer) have their own blogs where they are covering it and I certainly couldn't add anything to them, so check them out!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

What I Did While I Was Out, part 2

I was out of the office for work again last week. This time I was a bit farther afield than Wyoming and the Dakotas; on the weekend of June 29–30 I was on Santa Rosa Island, one of the five islands of Channel Islands National Park. Here's a few photos from Santa Rosa:

This is a pretty representative view from the central part of Santa Rosa Island, featuring grassy and brushy vegetation over a lot of up-and-down topography.