Thursday, January 3, 2013

US Research trip, part 10: College of Charleston

At the welcome reception at the North Carolina Museum of Natural History, I spoke with my colleague and good friend Jonathan Geisler about a new collection of fossil cetaceans at the College of Charleston, being managed by Mace Brown, shown below. I was pretty excited about it after hearing Jonathan describe it; I was totally blown away when I saw it. The collection is already pretty fantastic, and upon my arrival at the college, I saw an entire table full of fossil treasures. The museum displays were also great. Thanks to Mace for a successful (if all too brief) visit!

Mace Brown with a new eomysticetid fossil, which J. Geisler has graciously invited me to study with him. This was a recent acquisition, and Mace was still gluing parts of the mandibles back together. What an awesome fossil!

I furiously scribbled down notes - I had two 3-hour periods where I was able to examine the fossils at the College of Charleston. A herpetocetine petrosal is shown.

Eric Ekdale (left), Ewan Fordyce (middle), and Tatsuro Ando (right) inspect fossil cetaceans.

Mace Brown and the eomysticetid.

Al Sanders (right) and Ewan discuss fossil cetaceans. This was the first time Ewan and Al had met face to face since the 2006 SVP meeting - its tough, New Zealand is pretty far from everything.

Some sort of a nasty agorophiid-like dolphin.

A partial odontocete skeleton.

A beautiful xenorophid skull on display. Look at those teeth!

Some kind of a sea turtle - identified as Procolpochelys.

A skull of the sea turtle Carolinachelys.

Coming up next - I found some more photos from Charleston, so there will be STILL more from the US trip (I was gone for a whole month, I might as well talk about it). Also: reviews of some recent research by M. Churchill, R. Racicot, G. Aguirre, and N. A. Smith, and more on Osedax and taphonomy.


J. Velez-Juarbe said...

They seem to have a bunch of interesting stuff! I've seen pictures of some of their sirenians, including one that's very likely a new genus!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I drastically underestimated the quality of this museum. Do they have a lot of Gavialosuchus material in the collections as well or just casts on display?


Robert Boessenecker said...

Jorge: I saw the nice dugongid specimen on display on a table; I heard Brian Beatty was pretty excited about it.

N - I don't recall seeing any Gavialosuchus material, but they did have two different crocodilians (one under preparation, another on display) which appeared to be short snouted alligatorids or crocodylids. Then again, that's all that I can remember, and I have no photos of those specimens to double check, so I could be very wrong about that.