Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Time for a brief update!

Dear readers, things have been a bit quiet here, mostly because lots of exciting things have been happening! To begin, earlier this year Caribbean Paleobiology moved to the West Coast, after spending most of the last 6 and a half years between Washington DC, Florida and Panama. The reason for the move is that I am now an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow based with Jim Parham and at the John D. Cooper Archaeological and Paleontological Center, Department of Geological Sciences, California State University-Fullerton, and also, starting next month, I'll be the new curator of Marine Mammals (living and extinct) at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County!!
My postdoc project will be sort of a follow-up on a paper I published on sirenian multispecies assemblages a couple of years ago, now it will be taxonomically broader and focused on a different part of the world. By taxonomically broader I mean sirenians, desmostylians and aquatic sloths! All which were, or are considered, marine mammal herbivores.

Since arriving in California I've been busy visiting some sites like Sharktooth Hill, and museum collections, including the San Diego Natural History Museum, the museum at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, in Ensenada, and a return trip to Washington DC to attend the 2014 Secondary Adaptations meeting and of course the collections at the National Museum of Natural History in DC.
Sharktooth Hill National Natural Landmark in Bakersfield, California. The famous bone bed is about 10 meters or so below the car.
Tania (my wife) hold the first neck vertebra of Hydrodamalis cuestae, which was the largest species of sea cow, ever! It reached more than 8 meters in length, large for a sea cow, but small when compared to some whales.
One of the highlights of the 2014 SecAd meeting. We got a brief lecture on beaked whales from Jim Mead curator emeritus of marine mammals at the Smithsonian and one of the Worlds expert on that group of whales.

The other thing that's has kept me busy is that back in May, I was in Baja California Sur with several colleagues from Howard University (HU), New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC), and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur (UABCS), most which you can see in the picture below. This trip was a continuation of work we did back in 2012 (see previous post about that trip). The trip was fun, and we found many interesting fossils.
Part of the BCS Paleo Project 2014 reopening the main quarry. From left to right, Arely Cedillo (UABCS), Gerardo González (UABCS), Ehecatl Hernández (UABCS), Brian Beatty (NYIT), Daryl Domning (HU), and Lizeth González (UABCS). Missing from the picture Azucena Solis (UABCS) and Fernando Salinas (UABC). Click on the picture to see the larger version.
So, stay tune as new papers will be coming out soon and I'll get around to post some more about the Baja trip!!

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number (NSF Grant 1249920).Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.