Fossil Hunting in the Napedet Hills

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The Field School students visited different deposits in the Napedet Hills south of TBI this morning to look for fossils.

This was to introduce the students to fieldwork and how fossils are located in the field, then how they get documented.

We started at a Pleistocene Site

We started at a Pleistocene Site

The first fossil discovery of the day was a fragment of a tooth. Teeth are often found preserved in these sites:

Lucy finds a tooth fragment!

Lucy finds a tooth fragment!

 

Students learned from Prof Doug Boyer and Nyete (an experienced TBI fossil finder) that patience, moving slowly and methodically and looking carefully are essential for finding fossils

Prof Boyer and Nyete with Evelyn and Zach

Prof Boyer and Nyete with Evelyn and Zach

 

Derrick and Kathleen looking for fossils

Derrick and Kathleen looking for fossils

 

Teeth were in abundance at the second site we visited, including those of crocodiles and hippos.

Derrick finds a crocodile tooth

Derrick finds a crocodile tooth

 

Catherine displays her find of a beautiful hippo mandible

Catherine displays her find of a beautiful hippo mandible

 

Students learned the importance of working in pairs and staying in sight of each other:

 

'Visiting' the Pleistocene!

‘Visiting’ the Pleistocene!

 

At this site, one of the more interesting finds was part of a femur that probably belonged to an ancient hippo (especially interesting to me as the bone had evidence of some insect damage that occurred when the animal died):

Kristle and Patrick mark and record their find

Kristle and Patrick mark and record their find

 

From the Pleistocene site we moved further back in time to a Miocene site that was deeper into the Napedet Hills.

This was a bleak, rocky site and the sun beat down mercilessly, but this did not deter the fossil hunters:

A hot and sunny trip into the Miocene

A hot and sunny trip into the Miocene

 

Students learned today that finding fossils is a lot of hard work and fun!

Prof Boyer searches for Miocene fossils

Prof Boyer searches for Miocene fossils

More from the Fall 2013 Field School soon!

 

By | 2017-01-04T18:05:05+00:00 October 9th, 2013|Field Schools|Comments Off on Fossil Hunting in the Napedet Hills

About the Author:

Hello! I'm Dino Martins, an entomologist interested in how insects keep the planet running, the biology of vectors and more broadly in the evolution of life and our role in a sustainable world. I teach for the Turkana Basin Field School and serve as the Academic Field Director and am a Research Assistant Professor at Stony Brook University.