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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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The Seattle mammoth tusk – a first hand account

Photo from Burke Museum Facebook page.

Photo from Burke Museum Facebook page.

Whether you were caught up in the ballyhoo over last week’s mammoth tusk find in Seattle, or not, you may find a first-hand report by UW biology grad student Dave DeMar of interest. Dave was one of the small crew who excavated the tusk. Click to read Dave’s posting. Also, here is a link to a Burke Museum Facebook page with a number of photos of the excavation and rescue: including cute kids cheering and showing their fan club banners. Prominent in the photos are advertizing banners hung in the pit by the various contractors associated with the construction project. Thanks to David B. Williams for sending these links to me via his excellent GeologyWriter blog. His analysis of all the hoopla is great; heck, his blog is always a good read. I’ll repeat his kudos to the construction workers who knew to stop when they uncovered the first glimpse of the tusk in the excavation.

The rescue of the mammoth tusk brought back fond memories of the discovery and rescue of the fossil footprint of the giant bird Diatryma fromthe Chuckanut Formation near Kendall, Washington in 2010. Here is the page that links to all the stories on this blog about that fun adventure!

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.

Racehorse Landslide fossils

A fossil tree fern and a modern sword fern from the Racehorse Creek landslide.

Here’s a place to collect 50-million-year old plant fossils from the Chuckanut Formation. The Racehorse Creek landslide, which occurred in January of 2009, has left a lot of small, fossil-bearing rock slabs in the rubble. The field trip description is here on Northwest Geology Field Trips.

Visiting Korean earth science teachers hunt for fossils.