Where I continue to look

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Age: ~235 mya, Middle to Late Triassic

Why? Argentina has desert landscapes with lots of fossil rock exposed. Some of the most productive Middle-Late Triassic fossil vertebrate localities occur in the world-famous Chanares Formation. This formation contains the remains of early archosaurs including some of the first discovered dinosaur cousins. 

Importance: The rocks preserved from the Chanares formation contain nearly complete skeleton that are well preserved: these are a gold mine for anatomical and subsequent phylogenetic information. Additionally, the high abunance of vertebrate helps reconstruct the radiation of both stem mammals and stem archosaurs.

Collaborators: Julia Desojo, Martin Ezcurra


Age: ~252 to 200 mya and ~100 to 70 mya, Triassic and Cretaceous

Why? As a member of AMNH and Columbia University joint program, I was lucky to be invited to the Gobi expedition. In 2008, I helped collect a variety of famous Gobi dinosaurs and quickly learned new excavation techniques and the role of local collectors and museums.

Importance: The Gobi Desert preserves one of the best fossil records in the world. The Cretaceous dinosaurs and associated fauna have changed our ideas about dinosaur evolution forever. When I visited, I was also able to find an Early Triassic to Late Triassic sequence of rocks with abundant vertebrate fossils. I hope to return soon!

Collaborators: Mark Norell, Alan Turner