by: Jeremy Holman, Upper School Science Teacher
SEYMOUR, TX -- The Whiteside Museum of Natural History welcomed Mr. Holman and nine students out to the famous Permian Red Beds of the Craddock Ranch in Seymour, Texas this past weekend to learn how to spot fossils in exposed rock layers and how to carefully excavate them for further research in the museum.
Every student was successful in finding a variety of fossils, including vertebra and spines of ancient reptiles and freshwater sharks, skull fragments of ancient amphibians, and even fossilized shark cartilage. Fourth grader Ben Holman and 5th grader Nathaniel Knickel made a particularly important find. They uncovered a pelvis from an ancient reptile called Dimetrodon. As the first humans to lay eyes on that fossil, they were given the privilege of naming it, and so chose to call it “Bruce.” Museum staff will continue excavation in its location to find other bones from that specimen, but they plan to build a special display in the museum specifically for the pelvis with scientific credit given to Ben and Nathaniel for its discovery.
If other students are interested in getting field experience in paleontology, Mr. Holman plans to offer a field trip every spring and fall to this and other sites around North Texas.