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Center of Excellence in Paleontology

College of Arts & Sciences

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Recent Finds April 2017 & Dig Season 2017

Pictures of Recent Fossil Finds and Animals

Last month's Recent Finds and Progress in the Fossil preparation lab:

A plaster jacket, a large piece of fossil material still in the soil and housed in plaster, was opened up and pieces of mastodon scapula and shoulder blade were excavated and reassembled. Snapping turtle shoulder (ocromion, coracoid) and shell were also reassembled and stored in collections. A partial Pot-Bellied Rhino (Teleoceras) leg bone was reassembled and sent to collections. Also, some new squirrel material was found under the microscope while picking through the micro material.

Starting Tuesday, May 16 we will begin the outside excavation process to bring new material in the lab for 2017. We hope to see you soon, as we always welcome the interest and encouragement.

October Finds

Lab WorkstationsOctober brings us to the end of the dig season, so we're now closing up the dig pit and moving into the lab until spring when we'll open the dig pits back up. We have ended the dig season with a few interesting finds, including the complete neck of our mastodon, as well as a couple partial tapir skeletons. In the lab we're revealed rare partial shrew cranial and jaw, as well as the jaw of a shrew-mole and some material from a skunk. We've also began working on the left radius and ulna of the mastodon while progressing to complete the jaw assembly of the mastodon, which may be on display sometime within the next month. It's been an amazing dig season, but the finds will not stop here. Many of our most important discoveries happen inside, working through the winter in the lab. 

Halloween in the Miocene  

Through October 30th, join us for Halloween in the Miocene! Skeletons aren’t just Halloween decorations; they actually decorate the exhibit halls of Gray Fossil Site and Museum! Join us for glow-in-the-dark Miocene Mud, paint a fossil mold with glow-in-the-dark paint, and try out the mystery touch box if you dare. 

September Finds

In the labOver 533 fossils were found, surveyed, and removed from the dig site in the month of September. Among those we found the front left and front right mastodon legs. Scientists have also discovered, but have yet to remove, the neck vertebrae of the mastodon also. Also, we’ve found box Turtle, rare snapper and painted turtle. In the lab, fossils from mice, a bat jaw, skunk material, and a red panda tooth and metacarpal were all identified. Work has continued on one of our musk turtles, and assembly of our first ever juvenile painted turtle has been nearly finished. It’s been a hugely successful month, and we’re looking forward to sharing what we find next month too, so check back.

Boone Reservoir Archeology Project

Check out this blog post by Jay Franklin regarding the Boone Reservoir archeology project. Want to learn more? Join us for Tennessee #Archaeology Day programs on Sat 10/1! Demonstrations, lectures, & children's activities!

Boone Reservoir Project 

Fossil ID Night 2017

One doesn’t have to be a scientist to find fossils or other artifacts, but identifying them is a different story. The ETSU Natural History Museum will assist the public in identifying such specimens as part of Fossil and Artifact ID Night.

 Dates For Fossil ID Night

From 4-6 p.m., the community is invited to bring fossils, rocks, minerals and artifacts to be identified and photographed by the museum’s team of experts. Light refreshments will be served. Entry is Free

Fossil I.D Night will be held on April 25, June 27, July 25, September 26, and November 28

The museum cannot appraise fossils or artifacts.

Darwin Day - Febuary 11th

Darwin Day will be celebrated with activities for all ages at the Gray Fossil Site and Museum on Saturday, Feb. 11th.

The day features educational talks and a variety of offerings for visitors of all ages. Images of charles darwin with event scheduleDarwin Day is an annual international recognition of science that occurs around Feb. 12, the birthday of Charles Darwin, who was born in 1809.  The mission of Darwin Day is to recognize the scientific accomplishments of Darwin and his concept of evolution through natural selection, as well as to explain the far-reaching impacts of science. 

The schedule for Darwin Day includes activities from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.  Among these are a scavenger hunt and lessons on such topics as human evolution, dog domestication, how natural selection works, and understanding geologic time from fossils.  This year, for the first time, the event is co-hosted by ETSU faculty, staff, students and volunteers, as well as staff from Hands On! Museum.

The first talk of the day will be “Human Evolution and Homo naledi: Redefining our Family Tree and Science Outreach.”  It will be presented at 11:00 a.m. by Dr. Zach Throckmorton, an assistant professor of anatomy at Lincoln Memorial University, Tennessee.

“Evolution and Creationism: Defining Science, Creating Controversy” is the topic of the second talk, presented at 2:00 p.m. by Dr. David Harker, an associate professor of philosophy at ETSU.



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