Saturday, 30 March 2019
Some 270 million years ago, the rock that would become the Cariboo Mountains and form the lakes and valleys of Bowron was far out in the Pacific Ocean, down near the equator. With tectonic shifting, these rocks drifted north-eastward, riding their continental plate, until they collided with and joined the Cordillera in what is now British Columbia. Continued pressure and volcanic activity helped create the tremendous slopes of the Cariboo Range we see today with repeated bouts of glaciation during the Pleistocene carving their final shape. Warm and dry with bellies filled full of soup and crisps, we head back out to explore more of nature's bounty.
Monday, 25 March 2019
Snowy Tree Crickets and their cousins double as thermometers and wee garden predators, dining on aphids and other wee beasties.
Weather conditions, both hot and cold, affect the speed at which they rub the base of their wings together and consequently regulate their rate of chirping. Listen for their tell-tale high pitch triple chirp sound in the early evening. Being in Canada, our crickets chirp in Celsius. Simply count the number of chirps over a seven second period and add five to learn your local temperature.
If didn't bring your calculator with you into the woods and you're still operating in old-skool Fahrenheit, ie. those in the United States, the Bahamas, Belize, the Cayman Islands and Liberia can use this handy conversion. Double the temperature in Celsius, add 32 you'll get the approximate temperature in Fahrenheit.
Sunday, 24 March 2019
|Armored Agnatha / Photo: Fossilero Fisher|
Victoraspis longicornualis was named by Anders Carlsson and Henning Bloom back in 2008. The new osteostracan genus and species was described based on material from Rakovets' present day Ukraine. This new taxa shares characteristics with the two genera Stensiopelta (Denison, 1951) and Zychaspis (Javier, 1985).
The Agnatha are a superclass of vertebrates. He looks quite different to our modern Agnatha, who include lamprey and hagfish. Ironically, hagfish are vertebrates who do not have vertebrae. Sometime in their evolution they lost them as they adapted to their environment.
Ref: Carlsson, A. & Blom, H. Paläont. Z. (2008) 82: 314. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02988898
Monday, 4 March 2019
|Fergusonites hendersonae (Longridge, 2008)|
I had the very great honour of having this fellow, a new species of nektonic carnivorous ammonite, named after me by paleontologist Louse Longridge from the University of British Columbia. I'd met Louise as an undergrad and was pleased as punch to hear that she would be continuing the research by Dr. Howard Tipper.
We did several trips over the years up to the Taseko Lake area of the Rockies joined by many wonderful folk. We endured elevation sickness, rain, snow, grizzly bears and very chilly nights (we were sleeping right next to a glacier at one point) but were rewarded by enthusiastic crew, helicopter rides (which really cut down the hiking time) excellent specimens and stunningly beautiful country. We were also blessed with excellent timing as the area is now closed to collecting.
Reference: PaleoDB 157367 M. Clapham GSC C-208992, Section A 09, Castle Pass Angulata - Jurassic 1 - Canada, Longridge et al. (2008)
Full reference: L. M. Longridge, P. L. Smith, and H. W. Tipper. 2008. Late Hettangian (Early Jurassic) ammonites from Taseko Lakes, British Columbia, Canada. Palaeontology 51:367-404
PaleoDB taxon number: 297415; Cephalopoda - Ammonoidea - Juraphyllitidae; Fergusonites hendersonae Longridge et al. 2008 (ammonite); Average measurements (in mm): shell width 9.88, shell diameter 28.2; Age range: 201.6 to 196.5 Ma. Locality info: British Columbia, Canada (51.1° N, 123.0° W: paleocoordinates 22.1° N, 66.1° W)
Saturday, 2 March 2019
While this large island off the southeast coast of Africa is known more for exotic lemurs, rainforests & beaches, it also boasts some of the world's loveliest fossils.
This specimen is from a quarry near the top of an escarpment, 3 km to the west of the village of Ambatolafia (coordinates: Lat. 16.330 23.600 S, Long. 46.120 10.20 E).
Judging from plate tectonic reconstruction (Stampfli & Borel, 2002), the area was located in middle latitudes within the tropical-subtropical climatic zone at palaeo-latitudes of 40E45.S in the late Early Cretaceous of the early Albian.
This specimen of Phylloceras velledae (Michelin) has a shell with a small umbilicus, arched, acute venter, and at some growth stage, falcoid ribs that spring in pairs from umbilical tubercles, disappearing on the outer whorls.