Museum Blog

Fieldwork - Finally!

Posted 6/18/2015 12:06 AM by Joseph Sertich | Comments

Written by Hank Woolley.

Fieldwork _finally1
(Most of) The Team in Berivotra

Salàma from the field! We are out here at the Madagascar Paleontology Project (MPP) research facility in the village of Berivotra (pronounced Bay-REEFT) in the northwest corner of Madagascar, and after a week of braving the extreme heat, our team has already uncovered some incredible fossils. The MPP team has unearthed ancient remains of titanosaurians (giant long-necked dinosaurs with an awesome family name), bizarre crocodiles such as Simosuchus (which looked more like a scaly, plant eating bulldog than what we think normal crocs look like), huge river turtles, and scattered remains of carnivorous dinosaurs such as Mahajangasaurus and Masiakasaurus. Additionally, our team of geologists (Dr. Ray Rogers and Dr. Colin Robins) have been studying some of the world’s best-preserved paleosols (literally ancient soils) here in Berivotra as they try to better understand the depositional setting of these dinosaur ecosystems.

Fieldwork _finally2
Ray Rogers (top) fearlessly leading us through the classic localities in the Berivotra field area.

In spite of the overwhelming heat, Berivotra is one of the most amazing settings on the planet for fossil hunting. The landscape is dominated by grassy hills speckled with palm trees, and overall is more reminiscent of beach dunes than anything else. This is unusual for paleontologists, who are used to fossil hunting in the lunar landscapes seen in southeastern Utah, western North Dakota, and northwest New Mexico. But despite this unusual setting for fossils, it is impossible to traverse a small hillside without tripping over a dinosaur bone. This is ideal fossil hunting for clumsy people (yours truly).

Fieldwork _finally3
Mentally preparing myself to carry a 60-pound sauropod femur head (next to my right foot) in my backpack

For the next week and a half, the team will be heading to separate field areas in the Mahajanga Basin, including Lac Kinkony and Befandrama  so be sure to stay tuned for more fossils, beautiful photos, and awesome stories!

Fieldwork _finally4
Hard at work in a new quarry.

Fieldwork _finally5
On our way back to camp after a long day quarrying.


Subscribe to our RSS feed






2015 in Space2017 Solar Eclipse40 Eridani system60 Minutes in SpaceAltitudeanatomyAndromedaAntaresanthropologyarchaeologyArctic IceArtAsk a ScientistAsteroidAsteroid 2012 DA14Asteroid sample returnAstronomyAtmospherebeerBeerFWGBeetlesBig BangBinary StarBlack HolesBlood MoonBlue TongueBrown DwarfButterfliesCarnegie Institution for ScienceCassiniCatalystCelestial EventsCentaurus ACeresChandra X-Ray TelescopeChang’e 3 moon missionChang’e 4 moon missionCharonChina Space ProgramChinese Space ProgramChipmunksChristmasCitizen ScienceClimateClimate changecollaborationCollectionscollections moveColoradoCometComet 67PComet 67P/Churyumov–GerasimenkoComet Swift-TuttleConferenceConversations in Local Health ResearchCootiesCosmic InflationCrowdsourcingCuriosityCuriosity RoverCygnusCygnus SpacecraftDark EnergyDark MatterDatabaseDawnDawn missionDawn SpaecraftDDIGDenverdiscoveryDiscovery MissionsdonationDream ChaserDung BeetlesDwarf PlanetEagle NebulaEarthEarth and MoonEarth from SpaceEarth Observation SatellitesEclipse ViewingEducation and Collections Facilityeducation collectionsEinsteinEl NiñoEnceladusentomologyESAEuclid SpacecraftEuropaEuropean Space AgencyEvolutionExoMarsExoMars SpacecraftExoplanetExoplanet Search TechniquesExoplanetsExtinctionextremophilefieldfieldworkFirst Earthrisefolk artfoodGAIA MissionGalaxiesGalaxyGalaxy ClustersGanymedegem carvingGeneticsGRACE SpacecraftGravitational WavesGravity Recovery and Climate ExperimentGreenhouse GasesHabitable ZonehealthHeartHolidayHolidayshorticultural pestHot JupitersHubbleHubble Space TelescopehumanHuman SpaceflightHydrainsect collectioninsectsInsightInternational Space StationISSISS SightingsJason-2 (Spacecraft)JPLJWSTKeplerKepler Missionknow healthKonovalenkoKuiper Belt ObjectLaser CommunicationsLawrence Livermore National LaboratoryLepidoperaLibraryLiceLight PollutionLinear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA)literatureLockheed Martin DenverLROLunar EclipseLunar Reconnaissance OrbiterMadagascarMarathon ValleyMars 2020Mars ExplorationMars OrbiterMars Reconnaissance OrbiterMars RoverMars RoversMars Science LabMars Science LaboratoryMars spacecraftMars WaterMAVENMemoryMesa VerdeMeteor ShowersMeteorsMilky WayMongoliaMoon Rise/SetMothsMount SharpMROMSLMurray ButtesNASANASA-JPLNASA-TVNeptuneNeuroscienceNeutron StarNew HorizonsNew Horizons spacecraftNight SkynomenclatureNSFNutritionOcean CurrentsOcean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM)Opportunity RoverOrbital SciencesOriginsOrionOrion spacecraftOSIRIS-RExPaleo DietpaleontologyparasitesPerseidsPersied Meteor ShowerPhilaePhobosPhotographyPlankPlutopoisonPolar bearsProgresspublishingPulsarQuasarRADRadio AstronomyRegolith ExplorerRelativityResource IdentificationRosettaRussiasamplesSaturnSaturn MoonsSaturn Ringsschoolscience on tapScientific visitorSecurityShrewsSierra NevadaSky calendarSky watchSmellSnowmassSolar SystemSoyuzSpace CommunicationsSpace ProbesSpace Stories of 2015Space TelescopesSpaceXspecimensSpectral InterpretationspidersSpitzer Space TelescopeStar ClusterStar TrekstarsSTEMStickney craterSunSuomi National Polar-orbiting PartnershipSuper EarthSuper MoonSupernovaTasteTeen Science Scholarsthe MoonTravelturtleUniverseUtopia PlanitiaVenusVery Large ArrayVestaVirgin GalacticVLAvolunteeringVulcanWebb Space TelescopeWeddingwormXMM-NewtonX-ray Multi-Mirror Missionzoology
^ Back to Top
comments powered by Disqus