Belgrade Blitz

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    Victor Perez

    The first Paleoblitz will seek to catalog the specimens collected from the Belgrade Mine in North Carolina. The fossils collected are predominantly shark teeth, but there are numerous other kinds of fossils present (see Belgrade Mammals forum). We’d like to have each Paleoblitz be oriented around a research question and we felt that it would be even better if that question were to come from the amateur community. @cferrara @lmccall @lcone @dbohaska Having collected at Belgrade for much longer than I, what are some things that strike you as interesting? what have you often pondered while perusing the spoil piles? (Please invite other club members or colleagues to join in on the conversation!)

    @llundgren @sellis @bdunckel Are there any education/outreach questions that could also be analyzed pertaining to Paleoblitzes in general?

    Linda McCall

    I usually try to envision the environment as I collect.  How deep was the water? how clear? What did I find the most of specimen wise, what is rare?  Why?  Who was eating who?  But then, I am looking at ALL the things there, not just the shark teeth.  You picked up predominantly the teeth, but the invertebrates are much more common.  I collect exclusively the bottom of the quarry – almost exclusively Oligocene marine.  Not sure I can be of much help in asking questions of the upper spoil piles.

    Shari Ellis

    I have a pretty pragmatic or practical question–what steps in a “digitization workflow” would avid fossil collectors find interesting enough that they would want to get involved with over time? The reason I say this is that iDigBio is partnering with some other groups to have a transcription blitz in October (WeDigBio)–this blitz gets folks to type into a database previously handwritten labels. Apparently some volunteers do thousands and thousands of labels every year! (Atlas of Australian Life) And get very competitive about who has done the most. But personally, I don’t think I want to spend my free time typing up specimen labels as much as I appreciate the value of the effort. I’d be interested in knowing what would be intrinsically rewarding to folks as there are many steps involved from getting a specimen into a collection to getting it completely digitized.

    Victor Perez

    This is great!

    Linda @lmccall, you’re correct I definitely focused my efforts on the vertebrates (because the inverts were overwhelming). Perhaps an interesting question could be just contrasting what we see in the Oligocene layers against what others have found in the spoil piles. What are some observations about the environment that you’ve noted from the Oligocene layers?

    Shari @sellis, I like your question a lot. Using that as the driving question would help us reveal which aspects of curation/museum volunteering are regarded as being mundane. And then, perhaps, we could come up with solutions for how to make those boring aspects more fun and/or engaging. It seems that in the case of the Atlas of Australian Life example they’ve made a seemingly mundane task fun by competing with one another. That’s a pretty basic motivator, but we may be able to come up with something a little more elegant (like a reward or point system).

    I’m very happy with the way this forum is starting off. Keep the great ideas coming!


    Hey folks, we are happy to announce our first PaleoBlitz, scheduled for March 18-20, 2016, at the University of Florida! Just check our calendar for further information. We look forward to creating an interesting and fruitful Blitz for you and hope to make some great new connections. Initially we have planned to invite 12 individuals from different paleontology clubs/organizations to participate in this weekend-long workshop, but because of the overwhelming interest we are thinking about planning multiple events with different topics. So now it’s your turn to help us with ideas. What would you like to see and learn at future Blitzes?

    The coming event itself will give you hands-on exposure to the museum curation process, identification, preparation (cleaning), curation (database entry), and documentation (photographing) of fossils collected from the Belgrade Mine in North Carolina. Additionally, there will be a tour of the paleontology collections at the Florida Museum of Natural History and a tour of the famed Hubbell collection. Finally, there will be an optional field trip to local Gainesville creeks to collect fossils.

    , @john-christian, @mhendrickson, @cferrara, @lmccall, @lcone, @michael-reagin, @case-miller, @acurrier, @ddeyo, @zdeyo, @tdill, @tmorgan, @mellwood, @msmith, @tbellos – Any suggestions for more activities??? Please ask your club members (or colleagues) what they are interested in.




    … and because I really like our flyer here is it once again 😉

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    Michael Reagin

    I think one future PaleoBlitz could consist of field techniques.  For example field notes, collection practices etc.



    Hey @michael-reagin, very good idea and you know what? That is exactly what the upcoming Blitz on March 18th is all about. We are really exited and quite curious for the results. The interests were overwhelming and we think we will have many Blitzes in the future.

    all the best


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