This talk was originally given at the Mammoth Site on the 18th of June, 2015. Here it is, just for you!
I'll try to recapture the essence of the talk given at the Mammoth Site. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to post them at the bottom of this blog post!
Sharon Holte - PhD Candidate at the University of Florida is focusing her research on the carnivores at the Thomas Farm fossil site in Florida.
Both Sharon and I got our beginnings in paleontology at the Mammoth Site in 2004 and 2007, respectively. We both also attended the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, SD for our Bachelor's of Science in Geology. We both attended our Master's of Science in Geosciences at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN with Dr. Jim Mead. From there, Sharon went to the University of Florida and I went to the University of Maine.
I study Quaternary fossils (specifically bison) and Sharon studies Miocene fossil (specifically carnivores.
A mammoth thank you to our sponsors, assistants, volunteers, and media! We have had a great success getting the public involved in what we are doing! Just to name a few:
This project is only successful because of the wonderful people associated with the logistics and sponsoring! Thank you!
Some Caving Footage! What's it like in the cave digging for fossils?
Thanks to the University of Maine Follow a Researcher program, we had access to use a Go-Pro to get some great footage of Sharon Holte excavating fossils. Take a look!
How do we move the sediment downhill? Zipline.
What happens next... screen-washing.
Pictured above is the screen-wash setup. We take the sediment, also referred to as matrix, out of the bags with the associated tags, and dump them into the mesh screens of a certain size, and dunk the screens into the cattle tanks filled with water. The water rinses the silt and clay away from the bones and the screen retains the bones and larger grains of sand, which we call concentrate. We then pick the bones out of the concentrate, usually with a microscope, and begin sorting and cataloging the remains.
What have we found so far?
Outreach - Who knows about what we're doing? You do, who else...
Apparently, quite a few people know about what we're doing in the Black Hills of South Dakota. At least 250,000 people actively know about what's going on (that's a third of the population of South Dakota, by the way). 1.4 million people had the potential to at least view what's happening on their timelines on Twitter. Thank you to those that joined in the fun!
So now what? - Stay tuned...
Over the next year, I'll be updating my progress on this project here and on social media. You can follow me on Twitter and Facebook, if you don't already. My links are at the top of this website. My advisor, Jacquelyn Gill will also probably blog about some of the progress as well.
A great big thank you to everyone who contributed to this project's success. We've already heard that the National Park Service folks would like to have us back again next year to continue the Diggings at Persistence Cave!