.2 Million Years, 2 Million Years, 66 Million Years
A Texas Explorers Paleo Palooza
At our Winter Meeting of the Texas Chapter of The Explorers Club, February 15, 16, 2020:
DINOSAUR TRACKS EVERYWHERE!
Dr. Tony Fiorillo, V.P. and Chief Curator of the Perot Museum led a tour at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose. We learned that there are literally thousands of tracks in the Paluzy River and perhaps were 600,000 dinosaurs rooming around! Not only are the footprints large, they are limitless in number.
You know Tony’s audience was really connected to his fascinating story when we finally had to “call it” and say, “We really have to quit here and go to the next meeting,” and people still hung on a while longer. Remarkable presentation, Tony. I could feel the dinosaur breath on the back of my neck by the time you finished.
WINTER MEETING on Sunday Sponsored by Explorer member Lyda Hill. Thanks, Lyda for your kind generosity and love of all things science and exploration. You are the best!
CORRAL BLUFFS: The Rise of the Mammals
Explorer Lyda Hill gave us an up-date presentation on her first-hand knowledge of the Corral Bluffs discoveries in Colorado. These new finds gave us a fossil record look for the first time of how and why life flourished after the last mass extinction 66 MYA when the “big one” hit the Yucatan. From the concretions on the ground, we learned that mammals grew from quite small to very larger and toothy in the first million years following the meteor strike.
BTW, Lyda, a lover of science, pointed out that had the meteor stayed aloft for just a few seconds longer and hit the Atlantic, the dinosaurs would still be here and we would not.
HOMO NALEDI: A New Human Relative
Dr. Becca Peixotto, speaking with the profound authority of “I was there in the cave on the first day doing the first excavations,” told the story of the retrieval of Homo naledi fossil bones. Naledi is a new discovery in 2015 of early human relatives. This find in the Rising Star cave system outside Johannesburg is one of the largest discoveries of pre-human fossils in Africa and worldwide.
What a treat to hear it from Becca, one of the six scientists to squeeze through a 7.5” opening into the darkness to shine a light on our past. Becca said, “We know the dead were placed there deep in the cave but we do not know why? Becca speaks with clarity, humor, and detail about what is known, what is believed, and what yet remains to be learned. When asked how tall naleti was, she held up her hand at the top of her head and said, “oh, about like this.”
She then toured members and their guests through the Origins Exhibit at the Perot where we had the awesome experience of viewing real fossils, not reproductions, of Homo naledi (200,000 years old) and Astralopithecus sediba (2 million years old). Naledi and sadiba will shortly return to their place of origin, likely never to return again.
Thank you, Becca, for sharing with us. Great presentation! You gave them a personality and brought them back to life for us.
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By Joe Watson