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    Northwest Geology Field Trips, by Dave Tucker, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial- Share Alike 3.0 United States License. You can use what you find here, repost it with attribution to the author, "remix" it for your own purposes, but may not use it with the intent of making money off of it.

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Diatryma paper is published

By Dave Tucker November 15, 2012

The giant bird foot track as originally found in the Racehorse Creek landslide. Click to enlarge.

A journal paper about the giant Chuckanut bird tracks attributed to Diatryma giganteus has been published. The authors are George Mustoe, Dave Tucker and Keith Kemplin (George and Keith are the codiscoverers of the tracks). The paper is published in the journal Palaeontology. This enlightened journal allows dissemination of papers via the internet, rather than requiring purchase. So, I am pleased to attach the pdf in this post. It will also be attached to the main page about the giant foot prints. It describes the fossil tracks, why we believe they were made by the giant flightless bird Diatryma, what the tracks tell us about the lifestyle of the big bird, and why we assigned the name Rivavipes giganteus to the tracks. The paper should be readable to about everyone, as specialized terminology is kept to a minimum other than references to the anatomical parts. Click this link to open the research paper pdf file:      Giant Eocene Bird Footprints paper, Palaeontology

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New Eocene painting at WWU Geology museum

The corridor geology exhibits at WWU’s Geology Department features a new diorama by Marlin Peterson. He earlier painted a Diatryma to go along with the giant bird’s footprint on display.(time lapse video of his effort painting the giant bird). The new painting is on the first floor of the ES building, just beyond the western set of elevator doors.

Photo of a digital painting by Marlin Peterson - tapirs stalked by creodonts. Click to enlarge.

Marlin’s painting is of an Eocene tapir protecting its baby from a hunting pack of creodonts. Footprints of both have been found in the Chuckanut Formation, most recently in the rubble of the Racehorse Creek landslide (where the Diatryma tracks came from, too), and the fossil tracks of both are mounted on the wall next to the new mural. (I’ll be featuring the WWU geology museum in my book, Geology Underfoot in Western Washington. The chapter is written, and has been reviewed by George Mustoe and Keith Kemplin).

More cool stuff in the WWU Geology Museum. This is a collection of petrologic microscopes. These are on the ground floor.

It’s a treat to visit Marlin’s  website to see what else this talented artist has done. Though he is traveling in Indonesia right now, having all manner of incredible adventures swimming with manta (ooooh, funny, MS Word tells me this should be ‘mantra’)  rays and barracudas and fighting leeches to climb volcanoes in the jungle, Marlin will eventually drag himself back to paint a gigantic wall mural in Tacoma featuring a daddy long legs spider. Scroll down on his website to read about the grant he received to do this, and to see an idea he has for the painting. Marlin has some great stuff posted on his website, be sure to scroll down further. The one that caught my eye was near the bottom, a painting of a monkey being carried across the Atlantic on a fallen tree back in the Oligocene (23-34 million years ago). Fascinating to read Marlin’s account of this theory for the radiation of “old” world monkeys to the “new”. Curious we still use those relativistic terms, when all the continents were once agglomerated into Pangea.

 

The WWU Geology Museum is in the corridors of the Environmental Studies building, on the Ground, First, and Second floors. It is open to the public 7 days a week while classes are in session. On weekends, you may need to enter on the First Floor off Haskell Plaza, at the building’s NW corner.

Additions to the Chuckanut fossil gallery at WWU Geology

Tracks of a heron-like bird in the Chuckanut Formation. Thanks to the anonymous woman who allowed me to use her finger for scale.

A number of new rock slabs with fossilized foot prints of Eocene animals have been added to the Chuckanut fossil display at WWU. Visit the webpage on Northwest Geology Field trips.

The exhibit contains new sets of tracks of the giant flightless bird Diatryma, carnivorous creodonts, herons, tapirs, and a goose-like bird, as well as a Diatryma skull reconstruction and two original Eocene dioramas by Marlin Peterson.

Go straight to the webpage.

Diatryma track now on public display at WWU

The track of the extinct giant flightless bird Diatryma is now on public display at Western Washington University. The track can be found just inside the main entrance to the Environmental Studies Building. Read about the exhibit here on Northwest Geology Field Trips.

Diatryma track discoverers George Mustoe (left) and Keith Kemplin at the new display in WWU's ES building. Click to enlarge.

More on the Diatryma footprint

See the preceeding post for the world-premier announcement of this fossil find, and also go to the full story on this website, here.

The Bellingham Herald gave front page coverage to the discovery and airlift of the Diatryma foot track. Read it and see the photo gallery here.

Famed photographer John Scurlock was a member of our ad hoc Big Bird Rescue Committee, and his gallery of photos is here.

The Big Bird Herd and some friends. Top row, L to R: Scott Linneman, Dave Sonnen, Sue Madsen, Tom Borst, Dave Tucker. Bottom: Keith Kemplin, Don Hopkins, George Mustoe, Steve James, John Scurlock. Photo by J. Scurlock.

Giant Eocene bird footprint rescued!

FOSSIL FOOT PRINT OF GIANT EOCENE BIRD, DIATRYMA, FOUND IN CHUCKANUT FORMATION

The slab bearing the Diatryma and other bird tracks measures 28 x 26 cm. Click to enlarge any image.

The fossilized footprint of Diatryma, a giant flightless bird, has been found in the Eocene Chuckanut Formation in Whatcom County, northwest Washington State. Read the full story and see photos at Northwest Geology Field trips here.

No, this isn’t a field trip. But, you can make your own jaunt to see this remarkable, one-of-a-kind-in-the-world fossil when it goes on display at Western Washington University later this year.

This skeleton is in Helsinki, but came from Wyoming [reproduction?]

This skeleton is in Helsinki, but came from Wyoming