Peabody Fossil Hunter

Friday, July 8

In Uncategorized on July 9, 2011 at 4:50 am

Despite a 50% chance of rain, the group split up today to prospect at Hoff Ranch and collect more matrix from Camel Butte. By now we’ve gotten into the routine of shoveling, sifting, crawling, washing, and picking.

Shoveling matrix to sift through at Camel Butte.

Today’s finds yielded two more condylarth jaws and the blade-like tooth of a multituberculate, a group of mammals with a long fossil history that appears to have eventually been beaten out by rodents. Crawling around an area dotted with gar scales and bone, Stephen saw two shiny black molar cusps. After carefully digging around them, he found they were attached—the first condylarth upper teeth known from the area. This is an important find, since they appear to be the same species as the lower jaw Natasha found a few days ago. Having both upper and lower dentition gives us a more complete idea of what the species looks like.

After dinner, we explored the Mystic Theatre, a sagging 1914 building on Marmarth’s Main Street. It’s quiet most of the year, with two vintage film projectors collecting dust in an upper room, except for the Cowboy Poetry recitation each fall. The theater is in much better condition than much of Marmarth’s architecture—boarded up and deteriorating homes and businesses.

Inspecting an old projector at the Mystic Theatre.

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