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Friday, December 14.
          It looks like our Student Assistant, Megan Ostrenga, will be starting a project to make 3-D photogametry scans of all of our Paleontology Division holotypes, such as Rileymillerus, shown at right and make them available on-line. 
Skull of the holotype of Rileymillerus.
Skull of Rileymillerus

Saturday, November 3.
          One of our Museum Science students, John-Henry Voss, successfully defended his Master's thesis in October. I had been working with him on his project for several years.
           I was disappointed that I had to cancel my trip to the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Annual Conference the day before it started. I was looking forward to visiting with a lot of my paleontologist friends.
I spent the last two weeks with an Argentinian paleontologist, Belen von Baczk, from the Museo de La Plata. She was working in our Triassic vertebrate paleontology collections at the Museum of Texas Tech. She spent most of her time examining our paracrocodylomorphs; such as Poposaurus, Shuvosaurus, and Postosuchus.
          A week ago, a Brazilian paleontologist, Voltaire Neto, from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul State, arrived to work in our collections. Voltaire was examining our aetosaurs; such as our Tecovasuchus, Sierritasuchus, and Desmatosuchus.
          While I was occuppied with the visiting researchers, my students were actively prepping material. Megan Ostrenga was primarily working on a lot of Shuvosaurus vertebrae and other material from the Post Quarry. Eric Richard was primarily working on Permian fissure-fill material from Richard's Spur, Oklahoma. He extracted one fairly complete skull. Matthew Knight was make great progress curating our mineral collection. Recently, I also got all of our meteorite collection cataloged into the database.
          Our fieldwork is over until January due to deer hunting season opening. Unfortunately, the weather did not co-operate in October and we were not able to go to the field because of rains. The up-side to that is hopefully when we get back in the field, all the rain will have exposed fossils for us to collect. 
Belen von Baczko examining a Postosuchus skull.
Belen von Baczko examing

Voltaire  Nito examining some aetosaur osteoderms
Voltaire Neto examining some aetosaur osteoderms

Saturday, October 13.
          I spent the afternoon at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum participating in their inaugral "Dino Day." To me, it appeared to be a huge success with the last report I heard of over 1350 attendees. Samantha Biffle did an excellent job with the event. One of the best questions I received was by a father. He asked me about the Allosaurus pose I was standing next to. I told him it was incorrect. He said his son had told him it was not right and the father was unsure as to whether his son was correct. I explained that back when the cast was installed that is the posture it was believed to have, but now we know differently. Logistics prevent many museums from correcting things like this. 
PPHM phytosaur skull on display.
PPHM phytosaur skull on display

Sunday, September 23.
          Megan Ostrenga, Matthew Knight, Eric Richard, and I (Bill Mueller) left for the field moderately early. It was a beautiful day in the field despite driving directly into the rising sun on the way to the locality. We were planning for a short day in the field so we had to spread out and cover as much of the locality as possible. It was Matthew and Eric’s first paleo collecting trip. We collected some fragments of metoposaurs, reptile teeth, phytosaur elements, phytosaur teeth, rauisuchid teeth, and aetosaur osteoderms. Matthew found a large complete phytosaur vertebra with the neural arch and processes. He and Eric excavated and recovered the vertebra and an unusual bifurcating rib (probably a pathology). It was about 2:30 when we left the field to return to Lubbock. We are planning to spend at least three more days in the field before November. 
Excavating a phytosaur vertebra and rib
Excavating a phytosaur vertebra

Unusual bifurcated rib
Bifurcating rib

Sunday, May 6.
          Meaghan Mueller and I went to the Lubbock Gem and Mineral Show.  They arrived just as it opened. It was smaller than the last time either of them had attended. I bought Meaghan a small gemstone, but my favorite display was the fluorescent rocks, similar to my display at home.
Fluorescent mineral display

Fluorescent mineral display

Saturday, May 5.
          Megan Ostrenga and I were working at the TTU Museum's "Dino Day". There were approximately 1500 visitors for the event. It was a very busy day for Megan and I in the Dino hall. I only saw two people I had met previously (other than our security and our Director). Some of the kids were very excited about their "finds" in the dig boxes.
Megan talking about fossils at Dino Day

Megan  at Dino Day

Monday, April 30.
          Megan Ostrenga and I headed south to MOTT VPL 3629.  It was much warmer than their previous visit. It was quite breezy though. The second reptile they encountered was a very fat western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox). We arrived at the locality and headed into the basin. The first thing they encountered were some of the unusual clams that occur at this locality. We also found some of the same large clams they collected later at MOTT VPL 3632.
          I started finding some phytosaur teeth and bone fragments. Then Megan found about 15 Azendosaurid vertebrae and collected them. Then sitting in the same spot Megan found a good sized phytosaur vertebra up-slope from  the little vertebra. She also spotted another bone and called to me for identification. It turned out to be a Poposaurus ilium. While Megan was collecting her finds, I found a metatarsal and a proximal Malerisaurus femur.
We found various bone fragments, then I found three very large phytosaur osteoderms. We worked their way back to the truck and proceeded to MOTT VPL 3632 where we found a little bone scrap and collected some large, fragmentary clams before returning to Lubbock.
Megan Ostrenga with an aetosaur lateral osteoderm she discovered.

with a Poposaurus ilium

Sunday, April 8.
          LYNN MARGULIS. Thursday, April 12, at 6:30 pm. in Room 169 of the Human Sciences building at Texas Tech University there will be a showing of a documentary film, Symbiotic Earth, about her and her work. Her research on symbiosis and Gaia were internationally well known. In 2012 Texas Tech University hosted a symposium in her honor. Lynn Margulis was an award winning scientist in her own right; however, she was also married to Carl Sagan.

Lynn Margulis and Bill Mueller in the field at Bill's research area

Lynn Margulis and me in the field at my research area. in 2005

Saturday, April 7.
          It was a cold day to start, being below freezing. Megan Ostrenga, Peter Lewis, and I left late (8 am) to allow it to warm up a bit before we arrived at MOTT VPL 3629. It had been two years since we visited the localities. This is our most distant regular locality being over 100 miles from the Museum. The weather forecast was a bit off. The temperature was still in the 20s when we arrived and the wind-chill was in the middle teens. We lasted a while, finding coprolites, metoposaur fragments, phytosaur fragments, and a poorly preserved phytosaur vertebrae. Then I pulled the plug on the trip and we headed home. It is supposed to be in the mid-80s tomorrow and today I have a roaring fire in the fireplace!


Saturday, March 31.
          Again we were not in the field today. Today Megan Ostrenga and I were working Science Made Simple at the Museum of Texas Tech. Today we were showing how and why museums make and use casts of fossils. We also displayed a few actual fossils. We used our "Metoposaurus" bakeri as the primary example with the actual skull, the mold, and the cast displayed. We had some very good interaction with many of the visitors and hopefully we explained that the mounts in the exhibits were not "fakes", they were copies of the actual specimens.
           Next Saturday we are back in the field.

A young boy being told he is holding fossil poop (a coprolite).

A  young boy being told he is holding fossil poop (a coprolite).

Wednesday, March 21.
          We were not in the field today, but working in the collections. A student from Mesalands Dinosaur Museum, Daniel Holquin, was examining our Shuvosaurus material and comparing it to their's. Axel Hungerbühler and I were working out the details on some of our phytosaur material.  We are finally getting around to finishing the description of "Grey Guy", a basal phytosaur from low in the Tecovas Formation of the Dockum Group. We are also going to work on describing some of our phytosaur mandibles, including the long (111.6 cm), very gracile phytosaur mandible Gretchen Gürtler found (Dec. 31, 2008).  Gretchen's mandible has  about 6 cm of the tip of the dentary missing.

           Now I have to refresh my memory on all of my notes on phytosaurs.

Axel Hungerbuhler and Daniel Holguin comparing Shuvosaurid tibiaeAxel Hungerbühler and Daniel Holquin examining Shuvosaurus tibiae.  

Sunday, March 4.
          Saturday was a beautiful spring day to have been in the field; however, Megan had a prior commitment. So we headed for MOTT VPL 3869 (Triassic: Dockum Group: Tecovas Formation) this morning. We haven't visited the site since last July when I led the TTU Clark Scholars to the site.

          The morning was very nice, with a slight breeze blowing. Along with collecting, I was filming some of Megan's activites for use by the Museum Science Historical Management Student Association. She had been videoed by another student in the Paleo collections and prep lab on Friday. Today's videos were to augment that.

          At Site I we found mostly Trilophosaurus vertebrae. We worked our way over to Site VI and collected a phytosaur vertebra. Then Megan found a mostly complete metoposaur interclavicle. I shot some video of extracting it and then went to Site II to check on the partial skeleton I had buried for future excavation. It was in good shape. I then visited several other sites collecting more 
Trilophosaurus material and some Malerisaurus elements.

          When Megan finished removing the interclavicle, we went to Site V where we collected a sub-adult phytosaur femur. We then checked out a number of other sites but found only bone fragments and a few metoposaur vertebrae. On the way back to Lubbock, I showed Megan where several other localities were. She had been working on material in our collection from these localities and I wanted to give her a visual context of where the localities were and what they looked like.

Megan Ostrenga collecting a metoposaur interclavicle she found.
Megan collecting her metoposaur interclavicle

Megan Ostrenga collecting her metoposaur interclavicle

Megan collecting her metoposaur interclavicle

Malerisaurus proximal femur
Malerisaurus proximal femur

Megan Ostrenga collecting a sub-adult phytosaur femur
Megan collecting a sub-adult phytosaur femur

Saturday, January 27.
          It was a cold and blustery day as Megan Ostrenga, Mykel Wade, and I made a leisurely start to the field to collect. It was the first time for either of the young women to endure going to the field with me and had to endure my incessant questions of "what is this" as I hand them bone elements.

          Mykel is starting a practicum working on the Stagonolepididae specimens in our collection. This trip gave her an opportunity to see where some of the material was collected and possibly find some herself.

           Right after we arrived I shot a photo of the two of them with part of a mammoth jaw. They were pretty excited about that. We continued with our prospecting and they collected a few teeth, coprolites, and osteoderms. We didn't find anything major today. We did find several elements of un-named taxa, but nothing major.

           It was a beautiful afternoon in the field. We stopped by and visited with the landowners and an ajoining rancher on our way back to Lubbock. It was nice to be back doing fieldwork again. Here is to many more trips to the field this year (toast).

Megan and Mykel with part of a mammoth jaw.
Megan and Mykel with mammoth jaw fragment

The obligatory tooth and coprolite photo.
The obligatory tooth and coprolite photo

An osteoderm Megan found.

Monday, January 1.
          Life is just a Jimmy Buffett song. Every day is a revolution .......... one more candle and a trip around the sun. Changes in latitude, changes in attitude, nothing remains the same.
          I am grateful for that as t
he past 15 monsths have very trying, but now with me back to 100%, I expect 2018 to be a fantastic year. As soon as we get some decent weather after January 7, I want to be in the field collecting.

Quetzalcoatlus mount in MOTTU main gallery.
Quetzalcoatlus mount after the move

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