Hard to believe that not only is the Spring Semester completed and the Class of ’12 have “left the building,” ala Elvis, but Tara, Dan, and Kody now are done with their second week of summer research! Much has gone on in the interim between the now and the time we returned to the ‘States. The BIG news is that Rose and Billy deKlerk excavated the vertebrate skull she found in January after an initial attempt where they were rained out of the field with mini-floods. Yes, mini-flooding that laid low lying areas in the Karoo under a few inches of water. But, another week or so later, they were successful at relocating and excavating a skull that approaches 40 cm in length.
Once returned to the Albany Museum in Grahamstown, the excitement was high because few new skulls have been found or recovered in this area in recent years. Late in March, the following image appeared in my mailbox:
It’s impressive. You can see the eye orbitals by the Swiss Army knife for scale, and the snout region in the foreground. There seem to be two large canines which may be clues to the systematic affinity of the long gone, extinct animal.
John Geissman has been plugging away (no pun intended) with the oriented cores to assess the paleomagnetic properties of this year’s measured sections, and Sandra Kamo continues to process the ash beds for zircons which are not as common as we’d like. I suspect that our mantra for now is that “it’s not nice to fuss with Mother Nature.” More later….