Thursday, February 27, 2014

Science Symposium: Arizona 2014

This past weekend the Jersey Boys flew to Mesa, Arizona for a science symposium.  We were there presenting our research on a bone that our team dug up a few summers ago in Tucumcari, New Mexico.  I just updated my blogpost on our trip to Tucumcari.  I highly recommend you go there and read it first.  Go ahead...

Read it?  Good.  Okay so the bone we were presenting research on is a femur from a poposauroid.  Originally we were calling the poposaurid remains we found from that area Shuvosaurus.  After all, Shuvosaurus was alive at the time and would have been strikingly similar.  After checking out this bone more closely, however, we found out it was closer to another poposauroid called Effigia.  HOWEVER, it wasn't identical to Effigia, either.  This poposauroid might be something new.  Only more research and more good fossil finds will tell!

Ross Geller and Ted Mosby present their poster.

You may be thinking...

"How can you tell all that from just one bone?  Those little differences could mean nothing!"

Unfortunately when you work with fossils there is very little to go off of and often times we need to make the best, most logical assumptions based on the facts that we DO have.  What we have is a femur that is very similar to some known animals but not quite the same.  It is safe to say that it is definitely from a poposaurid.  Given the fact that there were likely many more species alive back then that we may never discover, it is most logical to assume this femur belonged to something new instead of something that is already named. Remember a LOT of differences can be in the soft tissue of an animal, none of which were found for this guy, let alone other bones!  So the differences that we can see in the bones are important.

From left to right: Tiger and Lion.  SO SIMILAR but we all know they are very different animals.  Related, yes, but still different.

We had some fun while there too.  As always I took every opportunity to photograph animals.  This time i got some birds.  Oooh Ground Doves!

These guys actually exhibit some sexual dimorphism.  Female is on the left and male on the right.

We also met up with our friend Andrea.  If you read this blog two years ago you would recognize her as one of our original authors

Left to right: Dr. Axel Hungerbuehler, Gary, Andrea, Chris

That is all for this week!  Join me on Sunday for a long-anticipated Prehistoric Animal of the Week! 

That bar had Nintendo 64s hooked up at all the tables and I was too distracted by the thought of playing Cruisin USA to make an adorable selfie face.  Sorry.

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