Author Archives: Guypaquin

November Meeting – Sunday November 26, 2017

Our November NPA Meeting will feature Dave Trexler from Two Medicine Dinosaur Center in Montana. We are lucky that Dave will be in town for Thanksgiving visiting relatives, and Gretchen has secured him as our November Speaker.

http://www.tmdinosaurcenter.org/

Dave Trexler has worked in the field of paleontology since the early 1970’s. He and his family have been heavily involved in dinosaur nesting behavior research (Dave’s mother found the very first baby dinosaurs in a nest in the world!), and Dave has worked throughout western North America. He has worked with the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center since its founding in 1995. Dave is a degreed paleontologist, and his graduate work was a treatise on Maiasaura at the University of Calgary. Dave and his crew collected and prepared what was the only known specimen of a single adult individual of that species, and Dave’s work is still a desk reference for anyone working on duckbilled dinosaurs.

Dave likes to claim he is the only dinosaur researcher in Montana that is not famous… so come see him on November 26thbefore he loses that distinction!

We will be meeting in the Burke Room at the Burke Museum.

November 26, 2017
1pm-3pm

Guests and visitors are always welcome.

Metaline Falls Trilobites 2017 Field Trip Photos

Saddle Mountain 2017 Field Trip Photos

September Meeting Moved to October 15!

The program will remain the same, just the date changes.

Tom Wolken and Gregg Wilson will be on site this Sunday just in case some new prospects found us and show up expecting the NPA to be there. We will take them out for a beer (or a root beer). If you want to hang out with us…

Sorry for the late notice and I hope you all can make it on October 15th.

NEW DATE:

NPA Meeting
October 15, 2017
1pm-3pm

Burke Room at the Burke Museum

Methane Seeps
Bill Halligan will share his experience of exploring fossilized methane seeps. These large mounds, in the area long ago covered by an inland sea, once offered a rich environment for life. Like the mounds at Tepee Buttes south of Colorado Springs, these land forms were not understood until the recent discovery of active seep sites on the ocean floor.

Bill is an NPA member and has studied these sites in the field. He has coordinated with other researchers who are investigating the fossils associated with ancient seeps, including joint field work this summer. The fossils he has expertly prepared are both fascinating and beautiful.

Bring a fossil to share at Show and Tell. Guests are always welcome to attend. See you there!

Diomedavus, Ancient Albatross from Oligocene of Washington State

Albatrosses are a group of seabirds related to petrels that are specialized for soaring on long wings, and include the “great albatross” Diomedea, which has the largest wingspan (11+ feet) of any bird living today. (Some extinct types of seabirds (pelagornithids, not closely related to albatrosses) had estimated wingspans up to 24 feet!) A new paper describes fossils found in Washington state that add important details of the evolution of albatrosses. The material was found near Knappton in Pacific County by Burke associate and fossil collector Jim Goedert (one of the authors on the paper) and comes from two formations, the late Oligocene Lincoln Creek Formation and the middle Miocene Astoria Formation.

The Oligocene-age fossils include diagnostic material from wings, legs, and vertebrae, with additional material thought to be from the same species, including a partial pelvis. Because the anatomical details set the bird apart from any known form, the authors made it a new genus and species called Diomedavus knapptonensis. Diomedavus (“Diomedea ancestor”) was related to the modern great albatross but was much smaller and had notable differences in its wing structure.

The Miocene fossils also clearly come from some type of albatross, but don’t currently include parts that allow the ancient seabird to be rigorously compared at a species level with material known from other fossil albatrosses. Although it’s very likely that the fossils do belong to a new species, the authors have decided for now not to give it a formal scientific name and refer to it as the “Astoria Formation albatross.” The Miocene albatross was larger than the earlier Diomedavus and a bit smaller than the living black-browed albatross (Thalassarche melanophris).

Gerald Mayr & James L. Goedert (2017) Oligocene and Miocene albatross fossils from Washington State (USA) and the evolutionary history of North Pacific Diomedeidae. The Auk 134(3): 659–671

http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1642/AUK-17-32.1

Free pdf:

http://www.bioone.org/doi/pdf/10.1642/AUK-17-32.1

July Meeting – Sunday July 23, 2017

Our July NPA Meeting is generally a low key affair on the patio at The Burke Museum. Many folks are in the field during the mid-summer months, but we still like to meet up. Bring a fossil to talk about, some snacks to share and ideas for NPA to pursue.

Prospective members are always welcome!

Burke patio
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

June Hands-On Microfossil Event

With instruction from Brody Hovatter, NPA members sorted microfossils under microscopes for storage in the Burke collection.

Major New Dinosaur Finds from Montana and Alberta  

Daspletosaurus horneri, New Tyrannosaurus Relative from Montana

Tyrannosaurus rex remains the best known (and maybe the most popular) dinosaur, but the huge meat-eater had relatives that paleontologist are still discovering. The latest new member of the tyrannosaurid family was found in Montana and lived about 75 million years ago, about 10 million years before Tyrannosaurus. Paleontologist have named it Daspletosaurus horneri (in honor of Montana paleontologist Jack Horner!) and published a short description in a new scientific paper (available for free). The genus Daspletosaurus “frightful lizard” was first described from another species (Daspletosaurus torosus) that lived earlier and was found in Alberta in Canada. The new species D. horneri differs in a number of small ways from D. torosus, but may, in fact, be a direct evolutionary descendent of the earlier Alberta species, a process called anagenesis. Read More →

May 2017 Meeting Photos

Jim Chatters Presents Naia’s Hard Life at Society for American Archaeology Meeting

During Jim Chatters’ presentation on March 26, NPA members and guests got an exclusive sneak preview of new discoveries coming out the Hoyo Negro underwater cave in Mexico, including some information that can’t be discussed pending formal scientific publication. One of topics that can be mentioned now was how X-rays of the bone structure of the teenage girl Naia’s skeleton reveal a hard life, with periods of nutritional stress, and evidence of pregnancy and injuries. On March 30, a few days after his NPA presentation, Chatters gave a more technical version of the Naia story at the 2017 meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Vancouver, Canada, as reported in the journal Nature and elsewhere.   Read More →