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Paleontology Research
The crew at the Wedge Overlook
The dorsal vertebra is out of the ground!!
Brant stuck in the creek bed

Janet Bertog's paleontology team had a productive year this year.  Kaitlin Shupert finished her work studying the Jurassic mammals from the Aaron Scott Site and we are working on getting her data ready for publication.  Juan Maldonado is continuing his work on the sphenodont lizards from the Aaron Scott Site, which includes the discovery of a new species as well as the three most complete lower jaws of an herbivorous variety.  Six students attended the site this August including James Ruehlman, Chris Boyd, Tim Nikoley, Hannah Utterback, Elizabeth Hoffman and Chloe Bugni.  We were joined by Rocky Freeman from Marietta College, Brant Gay from Georgia and Caleb Flum and Samantha Aukofer from University of Texas, Permian Basin.  The weather was beautiful except that it rained the night before we were supposed to go into town for supplies and so the creek we have to cross was running when we tried to leave.  Two vehicles got stuck and I got to tow them out!  We uncovered and finally removed a 4 foot tall back vertebra from the Barosaurus (with lots of manual labor and the truck to pull it out of the ground).  We are also starting to find material from a small Apatosaurus, including some leg bones and tail bones.  In addition, some small Allosaurus bones were found, most likely from a juvenile.

In addition to the Utah site, James Ruehlman received a Greaves Summer Fellowship to do some research on the Ordovician in the Northern Kentucky area.  He completed a study on the distribution of invertebrate fossils through the upper part of the Kope Formation and is working on a study of the rare earth elements of conodonts within a single cycle in the Kope Formation to see if we can see any signature of environmental changes within the cycle.

James, Kaitlin and Juan presented their research at the Celebration of Student Research and Creativity at NKU.  Juan will be presenting his research on the new species of sphenodont at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.  James will be presenting his research on the Kope Formation at the Geological Society of America annual meeting.  We are also hoping to have some presentations for the Kentucky Academy of Sciences at NKU this year.

A paper on the taphonomy of the Aaron Scott Site was published in Paleontologica Electronica, an online journal of paleontology sponsored by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Conodont from the Kope Formation. Scale bar is 1 mm.