Monday, June 27, 2016

A link to the La Brea Tar Pits

There is an informative website dealing with the famous La Brea Tar Pits, at

I highly recommend checking it out. Their latest news shows many excellent pictures of activities going on at La Brea. Just go the link given above and start scrolling down. The picture that involves the "drifting" mammoth replica is particularly interesting.

Also, click on the "You Tube" link at the bottom right side of the main page. Then click on the video featuring Will Ferrell at the Page Museum. He was upstaged somewhat by a  life-size, three-dimensional, moving replica of Smilodon, with fur and camouflage markings. It really makes it clear how the back of Smilodon was sloped (i.e., its front legs were longer than its rear legs).

In sum, checking out this website will be a valuable use of your time. Enjoy. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Fossil dragonfly nymph from California

Dragonfly nymphs have an aquatic existence for a short time before morphing into winged adults. Nymphs live in lakes and streams and are voracious carnivores. Although it would seem that the muddy and quiet burial environment on the bottom an ancient lake would have resulted in nymphs being commonly preserved, their remains in the fossil record are uncommon.

The specimen shown below is a carbonized impression of dragonfly nymph of Pliocene age (approx. 4 million years old) from an ancient lake just north of Los Angeles in southern California.

The specimen is the dorsal view of a carbonized impression of a dragonfly nymph (nearly 35 mm long = nearly 1.5 inches) belonging to family Libelluidae? (genus cannot be determined). It has its antennae (barely visible), left-eye area, both wing pads (probably broken), legs, and posterior spines preserved.

Burial of this specimen must have been rapid, otherwise scavengers would have obliterated the remains.

The specimen was found in a shale bed with associated fish and plant remains (aquatic reedlike plants and nodules of presumably seed-pod origin).