Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Teeth, Scales, and Cookies!

        It's been another fishy week at the CFDC. The new Fish of the Cretaceous exhibit is open! Featuring a 6ft Pachyrhizodus fish. The exhibit also showcases other 80 million-year old fish such as-- the Xiphactinus, Cimolichthys, Enchodus, and Petanogmius!
         Antoine, our five-day-fossil dig tour participant from Quebec, found an Enchodus tooth on Monday. Enchodus had fang-like teeth-- perfect for sinking into prey! Also on the same day, we found two mosasaur ribs. All this came out of our Xiphactinus Killzone site. This is the site the media has been paying attention to lately, and obviously there is still much work to be done!

        That night, the Museum was alive... with excitement! Kati Slater-Szirom and Keiichi Aotsuka are research students working at the CFDC until September 15th. They did a presentation for board members, staff, and other Morden dignitaries on what they planned to achieve here. Slater is working on her undergrad thesis and doing research on the geology of the Xiphactinus Killzone. Aotsuka is doing research the the various taxa of cretaceous birds found in our collection. Coffee and cookies were enjoyed by all, Joesph Hatcher was over-joyed to bring leftovers home!
        The next day, we were at the Xiphactinus Killzone again! Ted Nelson is our heavy-over-burden extraordinaire! He removed much over-burden whilst others were working on the micro-fossil layer. Some fish vertebrae and other fragments were found that day, but the big accomplishment was Ted Nelson.
Nelson was back at it again the next day, and with the help of Matt Duda and Steve Striemer they removed a whole wall of dirt to help expose new fossils! By the end of the day we were able to complete some field jackets and bring them back to the museum.
Xiphactinus (an extinct fish) jaws.
        At another site, the same day, Antoine, Kathryn Lapenskie, Lisa Burnett and myself were finding some very large lateral fish scales! Fish scales are often found in the Pembina Member shale. They are typically a dark brown/red colour and appear glossy next to the matte shale.
        Antoine had another prosperous day on Thursday. He aided in finding several vertebra (most of them fish), a couple of teeth, and other fossil fragments. Lapenskie galumphed down into the Boyne member and discovered a possible cephalopod!
        We ended the week on a high note. Andrea Hrenchuk plucked a mosasaur tooth and other fossils out of the Xiphactinus Killzone. Antoine worked on uncovering many fossil frags (including some fish vertebrae) in a square meter area. Hatcher discovered two new outcrops of the mineral, bentonite, which he is actively doing research on. And for myself, I finished another blog post. Hurrah!
-Jaclyn Kozak

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