This week's post is by sophomore geology student Corinne Cranor and her first impressions of collections work after a single semester. Corinne has been working in the vertebrate collections since September. Corinne hard at work curating Miocene mammal fossils. "My name is Corrine Cranor, and I’m currently a sophomore at SDSM&T, working on a geology... Continue Reading →
Bivalves, Gastropods, Oh My!
When the Museum of Geology obtained a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant back in 2014 for Collections in Support of Biological Research (CSBR), everyone was ecstatic. This kind of award meant funding for student workers and a chance to curate and digitize several collections of fossil invertebrate material, including assemblages collected by the museum director,... Continue Reading →
Museum of Geology Welcomes Danielle Serratos
Last October, the Museum of Geology welcomed our new Assistant Director, Danielle Serratos. Danielle was hired to supervise the museum’s exhibit floor and our continuous cadre of student employees tasked with managing the displays and informing our visitors. Danielle grew up in the small town of Rendon, TX, just south of Dallas-Fort Worth. Danielle cherishes... Continue Reading →
On September 1, we received two visitors bearing gifts for the Museum of Geology archives. Mr. Nason Hoyt arrived with his wife Beth to deliver an important piece of SDSMT history. Nason’s uncle was Harry Keester, a long-time resident of Imlay, SD, and rancher who lived in the South Dakota badlands for most of his... Continue Reading →
Student Success Stories
Work in the collections at the Museum of Geology is primarily student-driven, that is to say that students comprise the bulk of our workforce. We have active undergraduate and graduate programs filled with enthusiastic young people eager to learn the collection management trade. As such, we emphasize experiential learning working directly with collections materials. We’ve... Continue Reading →
The Tully Monster and the Backbone of Biologic Science
For over a half century, Tullimonstrum gregarium, or the “Tully monster”, was an enigma. Discovered by amateur fossil collector Francis Tully in the Carboniferous Mazon Creek beds of Illinois, the creature was originally described by Richardson in 1966. However, it was very difficult to determine what, precisely, the Tully monster was. It has been compared... Continue Reading →
In the 2003 Disney Pixar Movie Finding Nemo, a clownfish named Nemo has to navigate the hazards of both open ocean and captive aquarium life with a reduced front flipper. SPOILER: Nemo does fine, but actual organisms in the wild would likely not fare as well. Case in point, SDSM 32720, a partial skeleton of... Continue Reading →
Still Questioning Darwin After All These Years?
“Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution” (Dobzhansky, 1973). This statement is as true today as it was forty-three years ago. In fact, the influence of the Theory of Evolution has spread to include geology, ecology and much more of the natural sciences. The gradual change of Earth’s living biota over time... Continue Reading →
Considerable parts of our holdings at the Museum of Geology were obtained from Lakota tribal land. This week, Sally Shelton discusses some of the specific issues associated with specimens under tribal ownership. Taŋyáŋ yahípi (Welcome) The Museum of Geology is a repository for collections belonging to other entities. We provide curation and care for fossil specimens... Continue Reading →
Collections Organization, Who’s Right? Part III: Numeric Organization
Before the holiday break we discussed biostratigraphic organization, or the organization of geologic collections by stratigraphic, or temporal occurrence. This is the favored organizational scheme among most vertebrate paleontologists, particularly mammal workers. It serves to preserve the contextual nature of the geologic record. Here at the Museum of Geology we employ a third, very straightforward... Continue Reading →