Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Types on loan from USNM to NHMU

After a request to the US National Museum, they sent the first of three loans of Type Specimens to the Natural History Museum of Utah.  Types are the specimens used to compare to other specimens to verify the others are typical of the type.  Syntypes are usually from a series of types where neither a Holotype or Lectotype have been designated.
Syntype of Wyomingites aplanatus (White 1879)


Holotypes are single specimens showing what all other specimens of that species should look like.

Holotype for Danubites strongi  Hyatt & Smith 1905

Paperwork in the box

Jim and I will be examining these types over the next few weeks or months as they come in.  There is a lot of revising and/or synonymizing to do.  What was thought to be typical may actually be atypical of the type.

Holotype of Xenoceltites cordilleranus (Smith 1932)


Thanks to Dan Levin at the Smithsonian Institute, and Randy Irmis and Carrie Levitt-Bussian at the NHMU for helping and facilitating the loan from the USNM, we really appreciate their help and hospitality.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Recovery of benthic marine communities from the end‐Permian mass extinction at the low latitudes of eastern Panthalassa

Richard Hofmann, Michael Hautmann, Arnaud Brayard, Alexander N├╝tzel, Kevin G Bylund, James F Jenks, Emmanuelle Vennin, Nicolas Olivier, Hugo Bucher

Fossils from the Early Spathian "Eumorphotis Bioevent".  These were found in the Confusion Range.

More of our work on the Early Triassic of Utah and other Western States.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Smithian shoreline migrations and depositional settings in Timpoweap Canyon (Early Triassic, Utah, USA)


Geological Magazine FirstView Articles

Triassic Rock Canyon Conglomerate and Sinbad Formations
(formerly Timpoweap) in Timpoweap Canyon
More from our work in the Triassic of Utah.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Early Triassic Moenkopi/Thaynes - Ammonoid Biostratigraphy, Correlation and Paleogeography

Smithian ammonoid faunas from Utah: implications for Early Triassic biostratigraphy, correlation and basinal paleogeography

Arnaud Brayard, Kevin G. Bylund, James F. Jenks, Daniel A. Stephen, Nicolas Olivier, Gilles Escarguel, Emmanuel Fara, Emmanuelle Vennin, Swiss Journal of Palaeontology, 2013, 132:141-219


Intensive sampling of the lower portion of the Thaynes and Moenkopi Groups (Lower Triassic) at separate localities within the Confusion Range, Pahvant Range, Mineral Mountains, Star Range, Kanarraville, Cedar City, Torrey and San Rafael Swell areas (mainly central and southern Utah, USA) leads to the recognition of a new key regional Smithian ammonoid succession. The new biostratigraphical sequence, which is more precise than the long-recognized Meekoceras gracilitatis and Anasibirites kingianus Zones, comprises twelve subdivisions, thus resulting in a sequence with much higher resolution that can be correlated not only with other western USA sites, but also with major worldwide localities as well. Middle and late Smithian faunas contain many taxa with wide geographic distribution, thus enabling long-distance correlation with faunal successions from other regions (e.g., British Columbia, Canadian Arctic, South China, Spiti and Oman). New assemblages from the lowermost beds are the least diversified and poorest preserved; they represent the earliest early/middle Smithian ammonoid faunas reported from the western North American basin. They highlight (a) the sudden Smithian advancement of the marine transgression within this epicontinental sea, (b) that this event is diachronous, and (c) that the paleotopography of the basin most likely was highly irregular. The newly obtained ammonoid succession also allows us to date and follow the transgression from the northern and central part of the basin to the southwesternmost and southeasternmost parts, which were reached during the late Smithian (Anasibirites kingianus beds). In addition, we briefly discuss the now-limited previous regional biozonation in the light of these new results. One new genus (Minersvillites) and nine new species (Kashmirites utahensis, Kashmirites confusionensis, Kashmirites stepheni, ?Xiaoqiaoceras americanum, Minersvillites farai, Inyoites beaverensis, Meekoceras olivieri, Meekoceras millardense, Vercherites undulatus) are also described.

The ammonoids are mostly all the old Early Triassic ones described by C.A.White from collections made by the early geologic surveys of the american west, and by J.P.Smith in the early part of the last century.  A more precise and revised biostratigraphy is proposed.  Below is one of the newly described ammonoids, this one from the Minersville area, one of the earliest Smithian ammonoids found in the western USA.
Vercherites undulatus Brayard Bylund and Jenks 2013
The rocks we have been working in represent the Permian and Early Triassic transition beds, usually some Permian limestones followed by an erosive surface, conglomerate, then a transgressive sequence with marginal marine redbeds, inner shelf, outer shelf and basinal deposits following.
Moenkopi and Thaynes Groups as exposed near Minersville

Permian rocks at the bottom, then the red Black Dragon Formation, and capped with the Sinbad Formation.  As exposed just west of Capitol Reef National Park.
     As you can see, some very wonderful country to explore and work in.  More papers are in the works covering the paleontology and geology of these rocks, I'm really looking forward to the adventure.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Shovel Control

Just like Gun Control, only in this case a shovel is the culprit.

Instead of prosecuting those shovel carriers that abuse the system, the government, in it's infinite wisdom, will ban all shovels carried by common fossil hunters on Federal Land.

Please read and comment on these new regulations, I think they are bad for the Public and Science.

Paleontological Resources Preservation

Friday, June 7, 2013

Paleontological Resources Preservation US Forest Service

Amateurs will not be allowed to do research?

Amateurs and/or non-professionals will need a permit (if they can get one) to collect fossils for research.   Casual collecting just will not fit the bill if these regulations go into effect.  Who can do research collecting only 5 specimens of each type of fossil per year?  And what is a type of fossil?  Can I only collect 5 cephalopod fossils per year?
  In fact, even professionals and academics will need a permit to collect invertebrate fossils for research (which is what they all collect for) on any public land (the BLM will adopt the same regs as the USFS), which has not been necessary before.

From the Definitions Section:

4. The term casual collecting would restate the definition contained in 16 U.S.C. 470aaa of the Act. To be considered casual collecting, the activity would mean all of the following: Collecting of a reasonable amount of common invertebrate or plant paleontological resources for non-commercial personal use, either by surface collection or the use of non-powered hand tools, resulting in only negligible disturbance to the Earth's surface and other resources.

 14. The term non-commercial personal use as used in the definition of casual collecting would clarify the types of use allowed under casual collection, and would mean uses other than for purchase, sale, financial gain, or research. Common invertebrate and plant paleontological resources collected for research purposes is not personal use and would need to be authorized under a permit in accordance with Sections 291.13 through 291.20. Exchange of common invertebrate and plant paleontological resources among casual collectors would be permissible as long as such resources were collected in accordance with the Act and the proposed regulations.

 18. The term reasonable amount as used in the definition of casual collecting would quantify the maximum amount of common invertebrate and plant paleontological resources that could be removed from Federal lands. A person may remove up to one gallon of material in volume or 25 pounds in weight, and up to five specimens of each type of fossil per calendar year. If the fossil specimens are contained within rock slabs, the reasonable amount would be limited to a slab that can be hand-carried by one person without the aid of mechanical devices. The authorized officer may modify the amount that is reasonable in order to preserve fossil-bearing locations that may be at risk of being depleted, thereby preserving paleontological resources in accordance with the Act.

I think I'll post a comment to this one...

If I can make the July 22, 2013 deadline...

Paleontological Resources Preservation US Forest Service

Monday, July 9, 2012


The Family PRIONITIDAE is a nightmare of taxonomy.  The amount of intraspecific variation, or even intrageneric variation is overwhelming.  Most generic assignments are based on the shape, size, amount, and/or lack of ribs, bullae, nodes, whether they cross the venter or stop short, whether the nodes are mid flank or start near the umbilicus, whether the inner whorls or the outer whorls are smooth.  A lot of specific and generic assignments are arbitrary, a slightly arched venter instead of a flat venter is cause for different generic assignment of forms that basically look exactly alike. 

Tozer, 1994, in his monograph of Canadian Triassic Ammonoids, discussed the differences between Population Taxonomy and Typological Taxonomy and admitted that his classification, especially of the Prionitidae, was arbitrary, and to use a strictly typological taxonomy would mean almost every specimen was a seperate species.  He also talked about using the typological method just to show what the taxon looked like.

To see a Prionitid, it is easily assigned to the Prionitidae, and the beds containing it are easily assigned to the Late Smithian, and usually to the biozone and/or beds known for the Prionitidae.  Is it really necessary to split them into a bunch of different species or genera?  I suppose I could live with a few nominal species divided amongst a few genera for the time being, at least until the family is revised and a more natural classification determined.  Still, what a Prionite-mare.

For references see THIS old post, along with an old rant of the same topic. ;)