In the spring and summer of 2000, geologists working for the Tennessee Department of Transportation made an extraordinary find as they examined soil at a routine road construction project: the digging at Gray, Tennessee, had uncovered a fossil site containing bones that would turn out to be at least five million years old. Harry Moore and his colleagues, along with researchers from the state and the University of Tennessee, were stunned as they unearthed the fossilized remains of tapirs, elephants, rhinoceroses, alligators, and other long-dead animals. What was at first thought to be an Ice Age site ten to twenty thousand years old proved to be much, much older.
The Bone Hunters recounts the fascinating details of a remarkable chance discovery. In his engaging firsthand account, Moore writes of the people behind the excavation of the site and how their efforts helped save valuable artifacts for ongoing study. Numerous photographs capture the excellent condition of fossils at Gray. Moore also describes the contours of what the ancient landscape may have looked like and details the governmental action that ultimately preserved this Tennessee treasure.
Harry Moore manages the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Geotechnial Engineering office in Knoxville. His previous books are A Roadside Guide to the Geology of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, A Geologic Trip Across Tennessee by Interstate 40, and Discovering October Roads: Fall Colors and Geology in Rural East Tennessee (co-written with Fred Brown).
The vertebrate fossil record extends back more than 500 million years, and bonebeds—localized concentrations of the skeletal remains of vertebrate animals—help unlock the secrets of this long history. Often spectacularly preserved, bonebeds—both modern and ancient—can reveal more about life histories, ecological associations, and preservation patterns than any single skeleton or bone. For this reason, bonebeds are frequently studied by paleobiologists, geologists, and archeologists seeking to piece together the vertebrate record.
Thirteen respected researchers combine their experiences in Bonebeds, providing readers with workable definitions, theoretical frameworks, and a compendium of modern techniques in bonebed data collection and analysis. By addressing the historical, theoretical, and practical aspects of bonebed research, this edited volume—the first of its kind—provides the background and methods that students and professionals need to explore and understand these fantastic records of ancient life and death.
The Evolution of Vertebrate Design is a solid introduction to vertebrate evolution, paleontology, vertebrate biology, and functional, comparative anatomy. Its lucid style also makes it ideal for general readers intrigued by fossil history. Clearly drawn diagrams illustrate biomechanical explanations of the evolution of fins, jaws, joints, and body shapes among vertebrates. A glossary of terms is included.
"A luminous text is matched by lucid drawings rationally placed. . . . A great teaching monograph, the book will charm lay readers of fossil history. For virtually every college & public collection."—Scitech Book News
One of the first interdisciplinary discussions of taphonomy (the study of how fossil assemblages are formed) and paleoecology (the reconstruction of ancient ecosystems), this volume helped establish these relatively new disciplines. It was originally published as part of the influential Prehistoric Archeology and Ecology series.
"Taphonomy is plainly here to stay, and this book makes a first class introduction to its range and appeal."—Anthony Smith, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
The first book of its kind, In Quest of Great Lakes Ice Age Vertebrates details the Ice Age fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals in the provinces and states surrounding the Great Lakes. Holman's work begins with definitions of concepts and terms for the general audience and a general discussion of how the last ice age, the Pleistocene Epoch, affected our physical and biological world. Methods employed and tools used in the collection of vertebrate fossils, as well as ethics and protocol in the maintenance of a useful collection follow, coupled with details of each animal's structure, habits, habitats, and ecological importance. The heart of the book is a species-by-species account of the Pleistocene vertebrates of the region, followed by an examination of the compelling problems of the Pleistocene relative to faunal interpretations, including overall ecological makeup of the region's fauna, vertebrate range adjustment that occurred in the region, Pleistocene extinction effects on the animals of the region, the aftermath of the Ice Age, and a look at what the future may hold for the region.
The first English translation of Johannes Weigelt's 1927 classic makes available the seminal work in taphonomy, the study of how organisms die, decay, become entombed in sediments, and fossilize over time. Weigelt emphasized the importance of empirical work and made extensive observations of modern carcasses on the Texas Gulf Coast. He applied the results to evidence from the fossil record and demonstrated that an understanding of the postmortem fate of modern animals is crucial to making sound inferences about fossil vertebrate assemblages and their ecological communities.
Weigelt spent sixteen months on the Gulf Coast in the mid-1920s, gathering evidence from the carcasses of cattle and other animals in the early stages of preservation. This book reports his observations. He discusses death and decomposition; classifies various modes of death (drowning, cold, dehydration, fire, mud, quicksand, oil slicks, etc.); documents and analyzes the positions of carcasses; presents detailed data on carcass assemblages at the Smither's Lake site in Texas; and, in a final chapter, makes comparisons to carcass assemblages from the geologic past. He raises questions about whether much of the fossil record is a product of unusual events and, if so, what the implications are for paleoecological studies.
The English edition of Recent Vertebrate Carcasses includes a foreword and a translator's note that comment on Weigelt's life and the significance of his work. The original bibliography has been brought up to date, and, where necessary, updated scientific and place names have been added to the text in brackets. An index of names, places, and subjects is included, and Weigelt's own photographs of carcasses and drawings of skeletons illustrate the text.