Our first day collecting in the field was a success! Dr. Tyler and I collected sediment samples from the Liberty Formation, a preserved rock unit from pre-biotic invasion Ordovician, a time where southwestern Ohio was under a shallow sea and near the tropics, like the modern-day Bahamas!
Our glamorous moments:
- Dr. Tyler started the day by getting her photo taken for the “Bearded Lady Project,” an awesome study focused on women in the field of paleontology.
- At the end of the day, we had eight (very heavy) 5-gallon buckets of mud along with some baggies of fossil-filled limestone rubble that we’ll use for data analysis.
Our one, not-so-glamorous moment:
- Getting our trusty, oh-so-fancy (ahem, ahem) Miami Geology vehicle stuck in the mud. Thankfully, a friendly couple with a pick-up truck towed us out.
While some people may not think that digging up old rocks on the side of the road is exciting, I found it incredibly interesting. At these outcrops, almost every sample I picked up had preserved in it organisms that are ~450 million years old! That’s insane. To put that in some context, the dinosaurs weren’t around until the late Triassic (~225 million years ago) and humans didn’t exist in a somewhat modern sense until about 34,000 years ago (the Cro-Magnon group). The fossils we are using for this research project are really old, and they’re practically in our backyard!
Collecting in the field was a great experience and made me even more excited about pursuing a career in geology. I really believe that the past is the key to the future. Who knows, 450 million-year-old ecosystems may not be all that different from modern ecosystems. This summer, keep up with our blog to find out more!