1: Preparing for Our 2008 Expedition

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Wyoming, USA
© A. Shinya
Packing for the Trip

As I write this at my desk in Chicago on June 25th, 2008, my field crew is packing for another season of fossil prospecting in Wyoming (see photos above and below.) If you've read the "About the Expedition" section, you know the history of the Green River Formation, the fossil-rich locality in the high mountain desert of southwestern Wyoming, where I've been collecting fossils for many years.

During those three decades, I've had the good fortune to be assisted by the best paleontology preparators in the world, who relish this annual opportunity to get out of the labs and into the fossil sites. Over the years, we've been joined by countless students, volunteers, scientific colleagues, Field Museum Trustees and other supporters, and even our CEO. I now invite you to join us—"virtually"— for our 2008 field season.

By Monday, June 30th, we'll be back working at one of the Formation's best fossil sites, Lewis Ranch. The Field Museum remains ever grateful to the Lewis family and to the quarry operator, James E. Tynsky, for allowing us to work on this land over the last two decades. During that time, we've found many scientifically significant and beautifully preserved fossils.

Just last year, colleagues and I published a description of a new species of extinct iguana from this locality, as well as a description of an exceptionally well-preserved fossil monitor lizard (see photo further below), which is now on display in The Field Museum’s Evolving Planet exhibit. The fossils produced by this 52-million-year-old subtropical lake never cease to amaze me: crocodiles, horses, bats, birds, seed pods, leaves, boa constrictors, tse-tse flies, and all kinds of fishes—an amazingly diverse ecosystem "locked in stone."

So it's off to Wyoming. I'll be sending in dispatches and new photos whenever I can, and when we return in mid-July, we'll post some video logs of our work, our day-to-day activities, and hopefully some new finds. I hope you'll check back with me throughout the trip. Wish us luck!

More soon....


© A. Shinya
Loading the Truck
© The Field Museum, GEO86347c, J. Weinstein
Monitor Lizard Fossil