Monday, July 30, 2012

More photos from Purisima Formation field work, 2

 We were stuck behind these jerks riding three abreast for about 5-6 miles.

 Tule Elk! After many years living in southwestern Montana, I was surprised to learn that elk of this subspecies (Cervus canadensis nannodes) are the largest by body mass in North America; Northern California is also home to the smallest subspecies, the Roosevelt Elk.
 Small individuals of the giant green anemone (Arthropleura xanthogrammica) on an exposure of the Purisima Formation.

 A starved California Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus) yearling on the beach.

 It was very strange to come across a tarantula on a beach, within a couple hour's drive of San Francisco.

 A bunch of harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) basking on what's left of a sandbar in an estuary.

 A beautiful panorama taken by my wife.
 The first time my wife ever saw California Quail (Callipepla californica), hanging out on the road here.

 A crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) on the beach.

 A western gull (Larus occidentalis) that got really close to my wife (I'm sure food was not involved).

 My wife and Dick Hilton prospecting for fossil marine mammals.

An articulated pinniped skeleton! We collected two pinniped skeletons over the weekend at this locality; one was disarticulated and jumbled together and took 7 hours to collect; this one was a much smaller individual preserved in a much smaller volume of rock, and took about 30 minutes. This is currently being prepared at Sierra College by Dick Hilton.

To finish off this set of photos, here's how my wife spent the day watching the waves go by and us excavating; no bitter feelings, there wasn't enough room for three at the "quarry" any way. Even though it was early October, holy hell was it hot: in the high 80's, and that white rock and sand reflected all the heat from the sun. Unlike all those poor bastard friends of mine baking in 110 degree heat in eastern Montana as I write this, I had the benefit of being able to wade out into the surf every hour or so to cool off.

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