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Dinosaur-Loving Couple Throw Epic Jurassic Park Themed Wedding

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Courtney and Billy McMillion even had an SUV straight out of “Jurassic Park” at their weedingSWNS

A couple who bonded over “Jurassic Park” brought their obsession to a new level when they made the movie the theme of their wedding.

Courtney McMillion, 28, has loved the dinosaur flick since she was a kid and was thrilled to realize Billy McMillion, 26, was also a fan when they began dating in 2013.

Event manager Courtney and Billy, an engineer, always joked they would have a “Jurassic Park”-themed big day.

Then, when they got engaged last February, they decided to make it a reality.

Guests were issued VIP passes to “Jurassic Park.”SWNS

Courtney spent 18 months organizing the $25,000 bash, which was complete with dinosaur decorations and saw her arrive in a Jeep Wrangler like the one in the movie.

Their venue, The Landings 1841, in Burlington, Wisconsin, was decked out in forest greenery and their 170 guests were issued VIP passes for the prehistoric ceremony.

The bride walked down the aisle to the movie’s theme tune and groom Billy even crafted a doughnut wall to look like the front gates of the fictional park.

Courtney said she had a blast planning her dream day but said there was a fine line when it came to keeping it elegant.

She said: “It was more me who always loved Jurassic Park. I remember watching it when I was small and that’s when I first fell in love with it.”

“When the original first came out in IMAX, I was so excited but no one would go with me.”

“At the time me and Billy were just good friends and he offered to go.”

“We started dating in October 2013 and we just loved staying in and watching movies together.”

“We would regularly watch ‘Jurassic Park’ or it would coincidentally be on TV.”

“It sort of became our thing. We would go to dinosaur museums and exhibits on dates.”

“I used to joke that our wedding should be ‘Jurassic Park’ themed and after we got engaged, I started to think, why not?”

“I work at my wedding venue, where I see weddings three times a week.”

“They’re all hydrangeas and baby’s breath. They’re beautiful but I wanted something different.”

Billy’s doughnut wall.SWNS

Billy added: “When Courtney suggested a ‘Jurassic Park’ theme I was a little skeptical.”

“I wanted a country wedding but the more we talked about the more interesting the idea became.”

“Everyone loved it but I was scared people were going to think it was childish but Courtney being as crafty as she is, it was super pretty and held the theme really well.”

One of the highlights of the day for Courtney was arriving at the ceremony in a movie-themed Jeep, supplied by a fellow fan in Iowa.

Courtney said: “I’ve always wanted a Jeep Wrangler like in ‘Jurassic Park’ so a couple of years ago I joined this group on Facebook called Jurassic Park Motors, where fans renovate jeeps to look like those in the movie.”

“I really wanted to feature one of these jeeps in the wedding and I just asked in the group if anyone wanted to come.”

“One man, JurassicPark09, whose real name is Adam, drove all the way from Iowa to help us. He was so dedicated and it really made our day.”

Billy added: “My favorite part of the day was seeing Courtney in her wedding dress and being in awe of how beautiful she was.”

The bride said that although she was really dedicated to the theme she did not consider decking out her bridal party in dino-themed attire.

Courtney said: “I never considered wearing Jurassic Park costumes. I think that would have crossed the fine line.”

“I didn’t want it to be too much of a spectacle. It was fun, but it was still a wedding after all.”


Billy added: “I’ve seen like every episode of ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ so costumes weren’t gonna be an option.”

Cassandra Spiegelhoff, who photographed the couple on their big day, said it was exciting to work on a wedding that was so different from the rest.

The wedding photographer even photoshopped some dinosaurs into the final prints for the happy couple.

Cassandra said: “We shoot 50 weddings every year and there’s always the same poses, the same readings, the same speeches.”

“This wedding was so different.”

“The ‘Jurassic Park’ theme could have been so lame but it wasn’t tacky or cheap.”

“It was so elegant. She really nailed it.”

“It was amazing.”

“You could tell it was the best day of their life.”


Oldest Evidence of Bone Found in 400 Million-Year-Old Fish Fossils

Thursday, August 2, 2018

A fossil heterostracan, whose puzzling skeleton has finally been identified as the oldest example of bone in the fossil record(Credit: Keating et al. 2018)

You've probably never really wondered where your skeleton came from, but that has puzzled paleontologists for over a century. In particular the question mark was hovering over the skeletons of a strange, ancient fish family called heterostracan, but now UK scientists say they've cracked it, declaring the 400 million-year-old fossils to be the oldest examples of bone ever found.

The skeletons of modern vertebrates are made up of four different types of tissue that mineralize as we develop to become strong and rigid. Bone is obviously the main one, but there's also cartilage in there, as well as the dentine and enamel that make up teeth.

Exactly when and how this vital piece of biology came to be is still unclear, but the answer may lie in the fossils of heterostracan. These weird old fish lived during the Silurian and Devonian periods, between about 444 and 380 million years ago, and they were some of the first vertebrates to evolve mineralized skeletons. That said, those structures don't appear to be made up of any of the four modern skeletal tissue types.

The researchers examined the heterostracan skeleton closely using Synchrotron Tomography to identify the structure and finally determine what type of tissue aspidin is(Credit: Keating et al. 2018)

"Heterostracan skeletons are made of a really strange tissue called 'aspidin'," says Joseph Keating, lead researcher on the study. "It is crisscrossed by tiny tubes and does not closely resemble any of the tissues found in vertebrates today. For 160 years, scientists have wondered if aspidin is a transitional stage in the evolution of mineralized tissues."

The controversy, according to the researchers, is whether aspidin is a type of cellular or acellular bone, dentine or some kind of evolutionary middle ground. The key seems to be the strange spaces in the middle of the aspidin, which have been suggested to have contained cells, cell processes or bundles of fibers, each of which would indicate a different kind of tissue.

The microscopic structure of the aspidin tissue revealed that it was a type of acellular bone(Credit: Keating et al. 2018)

To peek closer than ever before, the scientists used Synchrotron Tomography, a detailed form of CT scan that uses very high energy X-rays. The researchers found that the spaces had a linear shape, which they say leaves only one option – aspidin is acellular bone, making it the earliest evidence of bone found so far in the fossil record.

"These findings change our view on the evolution of the skeleton," says Phil Donoghue, co-author of the study. "Aspidin was once thought to be the precursor of vertebrate mineralized tissues. We show that it is, in fact, a type of bone, and that all these tissues must have evolved millions of years earlier."

The research was published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Source: University of Manchester


Jurassic Park in DORSET: Dinosaur Tracks Dating Back 140 Million Years Found

Thursday, August 2, 2018

DISCOVERY: A footprint was found in a Dorset quarry. BNPS

A SET of dinosaur footprints have been discovered in a Brit quarry.

The stunned workers came across around 30 different impressions that are believed to have come from a herd of gigantic sauropods as they roamed across the landscape in Swanage, Dorset on Britian’s Jurassic Coast.

Amazingly, this was the site of a similar discovery of 52 dino prints back in 1997. 

They are believed to be around 140million years old. 

Sauropods, the first successful group of herbivorous, could live as long as 120 years and were believed to reside along Britain’s south coast from the late Triassic to the late Cretaceous periods.

Fully grown sauropods could measure as long as 40 metres (130 feet) and weigh up to 80,000kg (80 tonnes). 

They were the largest creatures ever to walk to the Earth.

CONFIRMED: The print belonged to a Sauropod. BNPS

And when a herd of the mighty beasts ambled along Britain’s coast, they would have left their footprints in the soft mud which was then covered by layers of rock for millions of years.

Professor Matthew Bennett from Bournemouth University, who guided the extraction in Purbeck stone quarry, said: “The footprints are like giant saucer-shaped depressions which are up to three foot in diameter but only half an inch deep.

“They belonged to the sauropods which were very large dinosaurs the size of double decker buses and very gregarious, travelling in groups.”

He said that now the extraction of the footprints has been completed without damaging them, they will likely be put on display at a museum. 

“I’ve spent my life travelling the world to look for fossil footprints so it is nice to find some on our doorstep,” he added.

HUGE: Sauropods were the largest creatures ever to walk to the Earth. GETTY

Meanwhile, the quarry had to be shut down for 10 days while the excavation took place. 

David Moodie, from Lewis Quarries, said: “It became apparent that we had come across something of historical interest, so working closely with the National Trust and Professor Matthew Bennett of Bournemouth University, we were able to move forward in the best way without stopping progress in the quarry itself.”

This isn’t the first time a footprint has been found in the UK.

They belonged to gigantic long-necked sauropods and theropods – the “older cousins” of Tyrannosaurus rex.


Research Sheds New Light on How Cave Bears Became Vegetarians

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Reconstruction of the cave bear (Ursus spelaeus). Image credit: Sergio de la Larosa / CC BY-SA 3.0.

A Middle Pleistocene cave bear, also known as the Deninger’s bear (Ursus deningeri), is generally regarded as the direct ancestor of the mostly vegetarian cave bear (Ursus spelaeus), and the transition between the two species took place around the Middle-Late Pleistocene boundary, about 126,000 years ago. Until now, very little was known about the dietary evolution of cave bears and how they became vegetarians, as the fossils of Deninger’s bear are extremely scarce. However, a study by paleontologists in Germany and Spain sheds new light on this.

To understand the evolution of the cave bear lineageDr. Anneke van Heteren from the Zoologische Staatssammlung München and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München and colleagues compared the mandibles and skull of the Deninger’s bear with that of classic cave bears and modern bears.

They micro-CT scanned the rare fossils and digitally removed the sediments so as not to risk damaging the fossils.

“The analyses showed that Deninger’s bear had very similarly shaped mandibles and skull to the classic cave bear,” Dr. van Heteren said.

“This implies that they were adapted to the same food types and were primarily vegetarian.”

“There is an ongoing discussion on the extent to which the classic cave bear was a vegetarian,” added study co-author Mikel Arlegi, a doctoral candidate at the Universities of the Basque Country and Bordeaux.

“And, this is especially why the new information on the diet of its direct ancestor is so important, because it teaches us that a differentiation between the diet of cave bears and brown bears was already established by 500,000 years ago and likely earlier.”

(A) a subadult male cranium of Ursus deningeri from Sima de los Huesos, Spain, in different views compared to (B) an adult male cranium of Ursus spelaeus; (C, D) mandibles of Ursus deningeri. Image credit: van Heteren et al, doi: 10.1080/08912963.2018.1487965.

Interestingly, the team also found that there are shape differences between Deninger’s bears from the Iberian Peninsula and those from the rest of Europe, which are unlikely to be related to diet.

“There are three possibilities to explain these differences: (i) the Iberian bears are chronologically younger than the rest; (ii) the Pyrenees, acting as natural barrier, resulted in some genetic differentiation between the Iberian bears and those from the rest of Europe; or (iii) there were multiple lineages, with either just one leading to the classic cave bear, or each lineage leading to a different group of cave bears,” they said.

“However, more fossils are necessary to test these hypotheses,” said co-author Dr. Asier Gómez-Olivencia, from the University of the Basque Country.

The research is described in a paper published this month in the Historical Biology, an international journal of paleobiology.


Anneke H. van Heteren et al. Cranial and mandibular morphology of Middle Pleistocene cave bears (Ursus deningeri): implications for diet and evolution. Historical Biology, published online July 26, 2018; doi: 10.1080/08912963.2018.1487965


Scientists Gently Hasten Apocalypse By Reviving Frozen 42,000-Year-Old Worms

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Scientists Gently Hasten Apocalypse By Reviving Frozen 42,000-Year-Old Worms

The message of the 1993 documentary film Jurassic Park was subtle – buried in dense symbolism for the viewer to tease out after repeated study – but definitely there: messing with Mother Nature is an act of extreme hubris that will likely end in disaster.

But, like Icarus, whose waxy wings bore him euphorically upwards, our scientists are simply too caught up in the thrill of what they’re doing to realise that they are flying too close to the sun. In a paper published in the scientific journal Doklady Biological Sciences, researchers announced that they had successfully brought back to life a number of worms that had been frozen in permafrost for over 30,000 years.

According to the paper, the nematodes (read: tiny worms) were from two different samples of Siberian permafrost, believed to be 32,000 years old and 42,000 years old respectively. The permafrost containing the worms was taken from the Kolyma River Lowland in eastern Siberia, then placed in a petri dish with some food and warmed up at around 20 degrees Celsius.

The worms (all females of either the Panagrolaimus detritophagus or Plectus parvus nematode species) represent “the first data demonstrating the capability of multicellular organisms for longterm cryobiosis in permafrost deposits of the Arctic“, the scientists claim.

 A group of scientists have successfully revived two species of worms they discovered suspended in an icy chunk of Siberian permafrost. East2West News

While this sounds like a combination of Jurassic Park and The Thing just waiting to happen, it’s worth noting that a) neither of the species of nematode was extinct and b) a nematode is generally about half a millimetre in length and not particularly liable to eat you in one bite while you’re hiding on a toilet.

The main takeaway from the study is probably that you can store your nematode for as long as you like, but the researchers also believe that figuring out the mechanisms that allow these gentle worms to survive being cryogenically frozen could have big implications in areas like “cryomedicine, cryobiology, and astrobiology“. Science: what a rush.


Hell Creek: KU Researchers Extract Rare Juvenile T. Rex, Fossil Treasures

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Hell Creek: KU researchers extract rare juvenile T-Rex, fossil treasures

University of Kansas bone hunter Kris Super prowled the base of steep-edged hills in the Hell Creek formation for evidence to solve mysteries millions of years in the making.

Fish-fossil exploration in western Kansas helped develop Super’s eye for tiny pieces of bone that had tumbled to the ground when eroded by wind or water. This detective work required quick identification of fragments, or float, among rocky debris. Bone trails might lead up hillsides and, possibly, to the final resting place of a dinosaur. That was the method relied upon as he climbed a steep grade to the exposed bony frill of a bulldozer-like, three-horn Triceratops.

It was a spectacular experience to run a finger over the rounded edge of the frill and along the delicate horn of an animal that lived more than 66 million years ago and was ripe for excavation by paleontologists.

“I don’t mind getting a little dirty, especially if there’s a dinosaur involved,” said Super, who graduated from Fort Hays State University before arriving at KU.

Still, it was just a Triceratops. Relatively common in this desolate, rugged geological formation. It would be the objective of a future extraction team. The immediate prize was nearby.

Super relied upon the same scouting technique in 2016 to lock onto bits of what turned out to be a Tyrannosaurus rex, the apex carnivore with massive skull, impressive teeth and heavy tail that more recently added movie star to its list of attributes. “Just luck,” he said. This, however, was no ordinary T. rex. It was the rare discovery of what is believed to be a juvenile. Science has fewer than a dozen of these immature T. rex fossils from which to build a scientific record.

“There haven’t been many discovered,” said David Burnham, a vertebrate paleontologist at the KU Biodiversity Institute. “We’re adding to evolutionary history.”

In 2016, KU began excavating the site of the T. rex about 25 miles off the nearest paved road and far removed from civilization in Jordan, which hosted two bars and one traffic light. On a rocky knoll amid grazing land 1,000 miles northwest of Topeka, the KU researchers unearthed skull, teeth, claws, femur, pelvis and dozens of other pieces of the T. rex.

Consensus among KU researchers: The specimen was a female that died as a youth. Evidence existed of a fractured rib that healed and there were signs of an injury to one of her feet. The T. rex likely perished in a cataclysmic event, such as a massive flood that buried her in a wet forested area approximately 67 million years ago.

Burnham’s crew of graduate and undergraduate students as well as volunteers have returned the past two summers to draw out more of what Hell Creek has to reveal about the T-Rex.

Tools of the trade ranged from jackhammer and shovels to delicate paint brushes, dental tools and X-Acto knives. It’s typically hot, but a breeze could reach hilltops. That wind provided relief or, if robust enough, turned into a sandblaster. The audience out there consisted of beef cattle and the deer and coyotes roaming the scrubby terrain. Pleasantly, no rattle snakes came calling.

This year, enough of the hillside was peeled away to conclude a massive rock and dirt layers above the “bone zone” had to be removed if more of the T. rex was to be dislodged. That required permission of the federal government, which has jurisdiction at the KU site. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management offered to lend heavy equipment for the job.

“These lands are administered by Bureau of Land Management,” Burnham said. “They’re a great help in getting this work done.”

Within proximity of the T. rex, fossil fragments were scattered throughout the soft rock layers. Burnham was working on the edge of the dig site in June when he unearthed a front upper tooth to a T. rex. Rolling it over in his hand, he said: “That’s to our baby.”

KU student Niall Whalen, who grew up in Pennsylvania, found a dinosaur tooth and an abundance of fish scales that resembled small black seeds. Chunks of sandstone were split open to reveal imprints of leaves. Tree branches and grassy plants emerged from the ground — all of it tens of millions of years old.

“I was one of the dinosaur kids,” said Whalen, a reference to a youthful fascination with strange creatures that lived in what became North America.

Now an adult, he said, the experience of participating in a T. rex dig still held fascination. It could be the ultimate conversation starter, he said.

“Oh, yes. That’s one of the best parts,” he said. “Who never heard of a Tyrannosaurus rex?”

KU assistant fossil preparer Kyle Atkins-Weltman, a veteran of Hell Creek formation’s rocky expanse, discovered a Dakota raptor tooth this summer at the site. He anticipated the T. rex found by KU to stand as a 1-in-100-million-specimen based on degree of preservation and completeness.

“The allure is we’re getting to see a group of vertebrates who dominated the land for an inconceivable period of time. That’s 135 million years of being the dominant organism,” Atkins-Weltman said.

Others on the KU expedition — Broden Kaps, Bryce Kellig, Jackson Leibach and Jordan Van Sickler — had divergent backgrounds and different academic goals, but shared willingness in Montana to do unglamorous back-straining work necessary to carve into history. Most of the time when they turned over a section of dirt, it was just another handful to be tossed over the ledge. But mingled in there were new additions to KU’s museum collection. Big and small, the puzzle pieces mattered.

“Figuring out how prehistoric animals lived and died helps us understand what possibly could happen to us,” said Van Sickler, who is interested in earning a doctorate and building a career culminating in creation of a natural history museum in Arkansas.

It will take years for KU to wrap up the digging, clean the bones and prepare the T-Rex for display.

In the past, it was common for Montana ranchers in that region to follow the melt of winter snow with discovery of another huge bone poking out of a hillside. This part of the state has become a maze of private and government ownership, but local property owners have increasingly sought to earn an income from dinosaur bones as they’ve escalated in value.

Brit Murnion, proprietor of MT Mug Coffee Shop on Main Street in Jordan, said locals shared Garfield County with dinosaur diggers during the summer months and with hunters of antelope, elk, deer, bighorn sheep, bison and other game from late summer into winter.

“We have a good time with the dinosaur diggers. They always have good stories to tell,” she said.

The only grocery store in Jordan offered change in golden dollar coins — perhaps because coins couldn’t be traced by the government in the way a dollar bill might. Jordan is part of Garfield County, a politically conservative county that voted 91.2 percent for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Sit down at the bar, and somebody might ask about your vote. Twenty years earlier, there was a memorable standoff on a Garfield County ranch between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the anti-government Montana Freemen.

Despite remoteness, the Montana landscape harbored an abundance of evidence to how the planet was shaped by forces difficult to imagine.

Along the dirt road taken in and out of KU’s dig site, Burnham stopped to point out a white line within the rock layers. It was a narrow band wedged between black sediment on the underside and brown sandy deposits on the upside.

He said the light-colored rock marked the moment 66.2 million years ago when an asteroid slammed into what was now called the Gulf of Mexico. The result was mass extinction of three-fourths of animal and plant species. The ash layer consisted partially of iridium — abundant in asteroids but rare in the earth’s crust.

“Everything above is the age of mammals,” he said. “Everything below is the age of dinosaurs.”


The Evolution of Bear Species

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Divergent Evolution Polar Bear Brown Bear common ancestor

Where did the bear really come from? The evolution of bears as we know them today, started around 30 million years ago. Their ancestors evolved into a family of small mammals known as the Miacids (Miacidae). The bears, small bears and also the canines developed from the Miacids. Some of the canine species resembled bears, and we refer to them as bear dogs or Amphicyonidae. The size and appearance of the bear dog varied from small and dog-like to big and bear-like. Please see below diagram which represents this ‘evolutionary tree’.

 Bears family tree

The family of real bears can ultimately be traced back to the oldest genus, the Ursavus, which was roughly the size of a sheepdog and had evolved from a canine ancestor.

Slovak Wildlife Society Esther Tyson, Svetlana Beťková

The bears (Ursidae) form a separate family within the order of carnivora. The bear family can be divided into three subfamilies: the giant panda (Ailuropodinae), the spectacled bear (Tremarctinae), and the real bears (Ursinae). The family of Ursinae consists of six different species, all of which have similar external characteristics like strong claws and a robust body. They also have their diet in common. Although these bears are all omnivores, their diet is mainly vegetarian. Bears live in very different regions of the world, from the North Pole to the tropical rainforests around the equator. The projects which are run by Bears in Mind focus mainly on the brown bear, but also on the Asiatic black bear, the Malayan sun bear, the spectacled bear and the sloth bear.


5 Dinosaur Movies To Watch With Your Child

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Good Dinosaur

Kids are obsessed with dinosaurs! Here’s a list of movies that you can watch as a family!

Kids and dinosaurs have a longstanding relationship and we’re not kidding! Agreed, movies like Jurassic Park and Jurassic World might throw off your child as they’re made to jump-scare everyone, but there are lots of warm and fuzzy movies that test the theory of “Dinosaur = Scary”. You can keep your googling skills at bay as we’ve put forth a list of movies on cute, not-so-little dinosaurs that won’t give your kid the nightmares.

The Land Before Time

It doesn’t seem like a kid’s movie, considering the topics that it tackles. It revolves around a Brontosaurus who has been orphaned at a really young age, his four friends and the prejudice they face from other species. It has many perky characters that would surely give your kid a chuckle along with serious segments. Another great thing about it is that this movie has almost nailed the environment as it was during the days of dinosaurs, which is an excellent way of introducing kids to the Jurassic era.

The Good Dinosaur

This movie is based on a time where dinosaur and humans co-existed, which according to science is impossible. But who cares about science, right? It’s a touching story of a dinosaur that gets separated from his family due to heavy rains, but meets Spot, a human. It builds on a budding relationship between them as Spot helps in finding his family. It’s a great light entertainment movie for kids, which has its moments for an older audience as well.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

The third one in an iconic franchise, this movie introduces us to dinosaurs for the first time in this series. Sid, being the mischievous one, tries to steal some dinosaur eggs and gets on the bad side of a Mama T-Rex. Now his friends have to save him from her wrath. This movie is for everyone, although being rated for kids, with lots of clever jokes to keep you busy.


This one’s more an experience than anything. It’s basically stretching of muscles on Disney’s part as they enter the new age with brilliant animation that keeps everyone’s mouths open. It’s a shame that it still remains under the radar for most people. Of course, it has a story, which is about orphaned dinosaurs raised by a family of lemurs, but honestly, who would care about the story when the movie looks this good?

Jurassic Park

This is a movie not to be rushed with, especially with kids. It’s the Grand Daddy of all dinosaur movies, which has a dinosaur-themed park with artificially engineered dinosaurs but all havoc breaks loose when a power failure lets every dinosaur in the enclosure free. I mean, it’s PG-13 for a reason.


Paleontologists Discover Prehistoric Whale Bones in San Juan Capistrano Landfill

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Paleontologists discover prehistoric whale bones in San Juan Capistrano landfill

Paleontologists finished extracting the fossilized bones of a prehistoric whale from a San Juan Capistrano landfill Thursday, July 26, and those bones will soon be off for further study.

The whale bones are thought to be 4 to 7 million years old and are possibly from a previously undiscovered species of prehistoric whale, according to Orange County Waste and Recycling spokeswoman Kristina Hamm.

They were first discovered late last month at Prima Deshecha Landfill as a Paleo Solutions’ paleontologist watched crews excavate a portion of the landfill slated for use. That’s when the paleontologist first spotted a large bone.

Hamm said the paleontologist was at the landfill site as part of a requirement of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

“CEQA mandates that we have paleontologists and archaeologists on site anytime we do any digging,” she said.

More paleontologists arrived and got to work. They uncovered what appears to be a partial skull with a lower jaw as well as a snout, ribs, limb bones and portions of a backbone.

The fossils have been wrapped in a plaster and burlap jacket to stabilize them for when they’re transported.

Hamm said they’re currently still on The Prima Deshecha site but will eventually be transported to the Paleo Solutions lab for further research.

Geraldine Aron, president of Paleo Solutions, was at the dig site for about four days and helped with stabilizing and extracting the bones.

She said paleontologists were surprised by how large the whale bones were and that there were several bones all together to extract.

“Sometimes what happens when these whales die, they kind of float out to the ocean and they get scavenged so their bones get very separated and spread out,” she said.

Aron said the area where the whale bones were found is called the Capistrano Formation, which was once a deep ocean basin where sediment collected and turned into rock. That rock was then uplifted because of tectonic activity. She said whales fossils have been found a number of times within the formation.

An OCWR news release notes that the fossil, “has the potential to provide new information on the paleo-environment and biodiversity of the late Miocene and early Pliocene of Southern California.”

Hamm said that OCWR officials hope the bones will eventually make their way to the Cooper Center or another local museum.


Giant Beaver Teeth, Fang from Scimitar Cat among Finds in North Yukon

Sunday, July 29, 2018

American Scimitar Cat

Annual summer camp on Old Crow River digs up a treasure trove of Ice Age bones.

People working at the Yukon paleontology program's summer camp on the Old Crow River this summer have collected hundreds of kilograms of Ice Age bones.

The biggest find was a fang from a scimitar cat, said Yukon government paleontologist Grant Zazula.

"It was a lower fang, probably the first one ever discovered in Canada, so we're super excited," he said.

Zazula said four paleontologists, two Vuntut Gwitchin youth research assistants and two German filmmakers working on a documentary were at the weeklong camp in mid-July, on a river bar not far from Old Crow.

Some of the other discoveries include teeth from five-feet-tall beavers.

Paleontologist Grant Zazula says this may be the first lower fang of a scimitar cat ever found in Canada. (Grant Zazula/Yukon Government)

"When you see their teeth, they're six inches long, they're incredible," Zazula said.

He said scientists have been coming to the Old Crow area for about 100 years because of the research opportunities.

"The Old Crow River is a pretty amazing thing in that as it's flowing, it's eroding banks along the river," said Zazula.

"It erodes fossils out of the banks and then deposits them down on the river bars and along the rivers, and so we can boat up and down and we stop along the river and collect bones."

Old Crow is busy in the summer with researchers in the area studying climate change, he said, as well as archeologists and others conducting oral history interviews with residents.