Continuing the journey

Hi All! It has been quite a busy couple of months since my last post! I have worked on removing all of the fossils from the jacket (see picture in my last post), then I have been using a microjack to remove the sediments (it is kind of a mini version of a jackhammer that construction workers use) 🙂 During my work on the fossils I have been able to correctly identify what type of creature that they came from, I will have to do more research to see if I can narrow it down to the actual genus but I am happy right now to have just gotten the correct reptile 🙂 Oh, if you are interested, it is a Plesiosaur. What is that?!? Well most of you would probably think of it as Nessie the Loch Ness Monster, but Nessie really isn’t a Plesiosaur. Plesiosaurs are a ocean dwelling reptile (NOT a dinosaur), some had extremely long necks while others in the family had short necks. This one appears to be a long necked variety. There appears to be some debate as to the rigidity of the neck, but everyone agrees that Plesiosaurs could not lift their heads and necks out of the water as is usually depicted in pictures. They ate fish and cephalopds. I don’t have any teeth yet, but I have about 28 vertebrae, some ribs and a few other unidentified as yet pieces that are probably portions of the arm/leg bones and flippers. While doing my research I have been lucky enough to go visit the University of California Museum of Paleonotology at Berkeley and examine their collections as well as visit the lab at UC Fresno. In a couple of weeks, I am going to take a trip to the LA county Museum of Natural History to do research in their collections and chat with the Paleontologists that work in the lab! I love all of the connections that I am able to make while part of this internship as well as the experience that I am gaining toward my career! Keep checking back for more 🙂

Susan Bowman
Paleontology intern
BLM Hollister

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