Lisa Lundgren

  • Florida Museum of Natural History Vertebrate Paleontology Collections Manager Richard Hulbert sent an extensive list of contributions to vertebrate paleontology to @vperez and @mackenzie-smith for a social media post we were creating. This sort of knowledge is probably accessible in many museum databases, but might not be publicly accessible. Would it be beneficial to having a forum/publicly curated list of major contributions to museum collections by amateurs? I’ve copied the list here. Many thanks to Richard for collating all this information!

    Major Contributions by Non-professionals to Vertebrate Paleontology in Florida

    1884: Dr. John C. Neal, a physician, discovered fossils on the property of his friend J. M. Mixson near Williston in Levy County. He sent the specimens to Joseph Leidy in Philadelphia who used them to describe new species of rhinoceroses, horses, llamas, and a shovel-tusked elephant. This was the first major fossil site discovered in the state of Florida.

    1913: F. C. Giffordfirst discovered fossil bones in the bank of a newly dug drainage canal in Vero (Indian River County). He informed local residents Isaac M. Weillsand Frank Ayerson his find. Weills led continued collecting through 1918, assisted by Ayers and others, resulting in the recovery of many Pleistocene fossils and human bones and artifacts. They later worked with Dr. E. H. Sellards of the Florida Geological Survey. Ayers found the holotype skull of Tapirusveroensisin 1916. Vero was the first major “Ice Age” fossil site known from the state, and the subject of much study and controversy to this day. Weills’ fossil collection was posthumously donated to the Florida Geological Survey and now resides in the Florida Museum collection. New species from Vero were named after both Weills and Ayers.

    1914-1930: Anton Schneider was an official at the Amalgamated Phosphate Company in Polk County. He personally collected a number of significant fossil vertebrates from the phosphate mines of his company and also directed his employees to collect specimens. These were given to paleontologists at the Florida Geological Survey, the American Museum of Natural History, and Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, and formed the basis of several new species.  The giant bear Agriotherium schneideriis named in his honor.

    1922: C. P. Singletondiscovered several late Pleistocene sites in Melbourne (Brevard County). For six years Singleton worked with paleontologists from Amherst College, the Smithsonian, and Harvard University to unearth thousands of specimens totaling about 75 species, and evidence of humans coexisting with large extinct late Pleistocene mammals. These excavations produced the first mounted fossil skeleton from Florida ever put on public display, a mammoth, which to this day is exhibited at the natural history museum on the Amherst College campus in Massachusetts.

    1924: Walter W. Holmesdiscovered the Seminole Field site west of St. Petersburg in Pinellas County. He and men he hired collected several thousand fossils, including those which were used to name new species of glyptodont, llama, and armadillo. To honor Holmes’ contributions to Florida paleontology, in 1930 George Gaylord Simpson coined the name of the North American giant armadillo asHolmesina.

    1962-1963: Benjamin I. Waller andRobert R. Allenused the relative new hobby of recreational scuba diving to collect fossils in the bed of the Santa Fe River near High Springs (along boundary of Alachua and Columbia counties). They discovered the first early Pleistocene vertebrate site in Florida, which included the first known bones of the giant flightless bird Titanis walleri, with the species name honoring one of its collectors.

    1964-1986: John S. Waldropsearched the phosphate mines of Polk and surrounding counties for over 20 years, amassing a huge collection of about 40,000 vertebrate fossils. Waldrop’s discoveries led to the recognition that the deposits consisted of three different ages as well as producing many important specimens. Waldrop donated his entire fossil collection to the Florida Museum in 2011. Many other non-professional fossil collectors prospected the phosphate mines between 1965 and 1995 and donated significant specimens to many museums. Among them were Jim Ranson, Donald Crissinger, George Elmore, Rick Carter, George Heslep, Larry Martin, and Frank Garcia.

    1969-1989: Stephen Beckand Veronica Beckcollected late Pleistocene fossils from a site near Lecanto in Citrus County. Among the over 2,000 specimens is an almost complete individual of the extinct llama Hemiauchenia macrocephala, which is mounted and on public display at the Florida Museum in Gainesville.

    1974: Ron Lovefound bones on fossil rhinos while tilling his okra field near Archer in Alachua County. Excavations on the Love property by Florida Museum students and staff lasted seven years and resulted in about 45,000 specimens, including many new species of late Miocene mammals, birds, and reptiles. Among these was the leopard-sized, sabertoothed predator Barbourofelis loveorum, which was named to honor the Love family.

    1975: Don Serbousekand Roger Alexsondiscovered the Daytona Beach Bone Bed, an extensive site that produced vertebrate fossils and pollen about 130,000 years old. The specimens are housed at the Daytona Beach Museum of Arts and Sciences, including a skeleton of the giant sloth Eremotherium which is on display at that museum.  Both of these men made other important fossil discoveries in Florida’s rivers. In 1968 Serbousekcollected a nearly complete mastodon skeleton in the Aucilla River that is on display at the Florida Museum of Natural History. In 1981, Alexsonand friend Bob Gingerycollected a partial Bison antiquusskull in the Wacissa River Jefferson County). It had portions of a Native American spear point embedded in its skull, but which had not penetrated deep enough to kill the animal.

    1983: Frank A. Garciadiscovered a massive concentration of fossils exposed by mining activities at the Leisey Shell Pit in southwestern Hillsborough County near Ruskin. Frank and associates (including Ron Shrader, Don Ward, and Bill Smith) donated over 2,000 specimens they found in 1983 at this site, called Leisey 1A. In 1984, hundreds of public volunteers assisted the Florida Museum in collecting over 40,000 additional specimens.

    1989: Wayne Filyawfound a dense concentration of fossil bird skeletons in a shell quarry in northern Sarasota County. Most of the birds represent a new species of cormorant that is named Phalacrocorax filyawiin his honor. Research on the deposit suggests it was the result of a mass mortality event of fish and sea birds caused by a red tide.

    1995: Aaron Gipsondiscovered a rich concentration of early Pleistocene fossils on the bed of the Withlacoochee River on the boundary between Marion and Citrus counties. For the next two decades Aaron and his companions collected here, finding thousands of fossils. Of particular note was a very complete skull of the ground sloth Megalonyx leptostomus.

    2001: Bruce Tynerand Allen Tynerdiscovered fossils on their farm north of Newberry in Alachua County as a result of plowing their field to plant peanuts. Florida Museum staff and volunteers excavate on the Tyner property for four years, recovering thousands of fossils of rhinos, horses, and camels.

    2001-2002: MichaelSearleand Siena Searlerecovered most of the teeth from the giant Ice Age bear Arctodus simusfrom the Rainbow River in Marion County. This was the first record of this species in the state, although it was subsequently found in at three other locations. The Searles’ donated this and many other fossils from the Rainbow River to the Florida Museum. Additional significant collections of Rainbow River fossils donated to the museum were made by Terry and Cynthia Sellari, William Faucher, and Aaron Gipson.

    2007: Sierra Sarti-Sweeney, a high school student, found a mammoth mandible and other fossils eroding out of the bank of a small creek in Boca Ciega Millennium Park, Pinellas County. Subsequent excavations by the Tampa Bay Fossil Club and the Florida Museum collected thousands of late Pleistocene vertebrate fossils.

    2010: William T. Harrison discovered a partial mammoth skeleton eroding from a bank on his ranch in eastern Hardee County. The specimen is one of the largest individuals of a mammoth ever found in the state.

    2015: The granddaughter of the owner of private land south of Williston in Levy County found some fossil bones weathered out of sediment from a small pit dug to provide clay for dirt roads. The landowners, Eddie and Julie Hodge, notified the Florida Museum of the discovery and permitted us to excavate for more fossils. This has led to the collection of tens of thousands of fossils of late Miocene fish, turtles, alligators, birds, and gomphotheres at what is called the Montbrook Site.

  • An article from the New York Times called “A Guide to Digitized Natural History Collections” provides a (very brief!) look at some digitized collections. You can view the article here: 

    This got @sadie-mills and some of the other FOSSIL members based in Gainesville thinking about how to present the importance of digitization, especially paleontology digitization, to everyone, not *just* the people who are already doing it. So, some questions for this forum:

    Why does paleontology digitization matter?

    What does digitization in paleontology mean to you?

    What’s a link to a digital collection that you find particularly amazing?

    I’ll start: I love the Fossil Insect Collaborative, they have incredible specimens, and were doing some really interesting educational projects (which seem to have been shut down??), but the images themselves show an incredible variety of insects from the past! 

  • 4 months, 1 week ago

    Hi @walter-stein! This is great. We’d like to highlight it on ouyr social media accounts. Is there a “due date” we can put in the post so people get you data asap?

  • 5 months, 1 week ago
    Lisa Lundgren replied to the topic FOSSIL Webinar Series in the forum Upcoming Opportunities

    alas, Asa, no, we’re postponing until Wednesday, November 29th, at 7:00pm EST and changing the focus to be topical for the (american) thanksgiving holiday. We’ll be going over foods that people often eat for thanksgiving and discussing their fossil record. I’m personally excited to hear about the history of turkeys in the fossil record (paging @egardner and her avian taphonomy background!), because turkey (with gravy, obviously) is one of my favorite parts of the thanksgiving meal. so @asa-kaplan , want to share your favorite thanksgiving food??


    The last few open access papers have focused on specific organisms in the fossil record. This paper is about techniques for photographing and digitizing fossil specimens. The specific techniques are photogrammetry and focus stacking. Click here for a link to it.

    The main point of the journal article:  Fossilized teeth from Utah, which are about the size of a fingernail, have interesting features that are often hard to see without the aid of magnification. The authors present photography techniques that make studying the fossils possible without magnification. So, this is a methods paper about how to create good images with tiny teeth.

    Paleontologists applying techniques used to photograph modern insects to fossilized teeth. This paper presents best practices for two techniques, focus stacking and photogrammetry. When you try to photograph objects that need magnification, you can run into problems with the depth of field. More magnification equals less depth of field. If you have flat objects, this isn’t a problem. With three-dimensional objects, like teeth, magnification and depth of field is a problem!

    Key terms:

    Focus stacking: Using the same subject for a photo (such as a tooth), taking a number of images at different focal points to create an image with a greater depth of field.

    Photogrammetry: Producing reliable information, such as exact measurements, through the use of photography. To collect this information, a camera is placed in a number of different places around the object to capture images and essentially create a 3D image. For this paper, the authors used 94 different positions to capture all the data.

    We have incredible folks on myFOSSIL who deal closely with photogrammetry, focus stacking, and photographing specimens in general. Can the specimen photography experts on the site jump in and summarize this paper for the community? @matthew-croxton @jkallmeyer @rleder @gsantos @jbauer



    Santella, M. and Milner, A.R.C. (2017). Coupling focus stacking with photogrammetry to illustrate small fossil teeth. Journal of Paleontological Techniques, 18:1-17.





  • Here’s the second paper in our weekly series on open access paleontology. Click on the link to read it yourself:

    The main point of the journal article:  

    Some key terms and their definitions might be helpful here:

    Castorids: the scientific family to which beavers belong. “Palaeocastorine” is a subfamily, and refers to ancient beavers of North America. (paleo=ancient).

    Phylogeny: a hypothesis about the evolutionary relationships among organisms. Usually, phylogenies are represented by a “tree” like diagram. Scientists use computer programs to construct phylogenies.

    Some key questions I ask myself when I read scientific papers: who, what, where, when?

    Who: A small beaver, which goes by the scientific name Capacikala gradatus

    What: Stefen, the author of the paper, studied the skull of the beaver, looking for similarities and differences in the beaver’s skull to compare it to other ancient beavers. Stefen compares the nearly complete skull to others found from the species, and indicates that it’s very challenging to tell what is what because the descriptions of these skulls are incomplete, which points to a key piece for paleontological research: always take extensive notes and draw out (or work with a paleoartist!) specimens as it could greatly benefit future researchers.

    Where: The John Day Fossil Beds in eastern Oregon. 

    When: The specimen was dated to the Oligocene, specifically, between 28.7 and 27.89 million years old.

    To summarize the paper with the main goals and findings:

    • Goal: To compare Capacikala gradatus to recent and ancient beavers because a skull that is this complete had not been described yet. The complete skull could help paleontologists determine if the beaver is actually its own species or if it belongs to a different species.
      • FINDINGS: The phylogenetic analysis showed that Capacikala gradatus is within a “sister group” of other ancient North American beavers.

    Questions we have: 

    What does it mean that the beaver is in a “sister group”? Is this important?

    There’s a lot of information about the skull and its anatomy here, maybe someone like @taorminalepore would be able to help us understand it more!

    This is more about open access publishing, but, I ‘ve noticed that on some open access journal sites, there are instances of papers that have just been “published” but in the citation, you find out that it was actually published in 2014. Can @bmacfadden or @kcrippen shed some light on what’s going on there?

    Citation: Stefen, Clara. 2014. Cranial morphology of the Oligocene beaver Capacikala gradatus from the John Day Basin and comments on the genus. Palaeontologia Electronica Vol. 17, Issue 1;25A; 29p.


  • Recently the FOSSIL project social media team used Facebook and Twitter to ask what community members needed in terms of open access paleontology. The community’s feedback centered on holding discussions and receiving explanations on the scientific concepts found in open access papers. In this post (and in subsequent posts!) we’ll link to a specific paper and summarize it. We’ll also be hosting live discussions of papers, too, but that’s still in progress so stay tuned!

    For now, please jump into the forum posts with your interpretations of the papers we summarize.

    First up is a paper about pterosaurs. Click here for a link to it.

    The main point of the journal article:  Studying pterosaur fossils can help show preservational bias in the fossil record.

    Some key questions I ask when I read scientific papers: who, what, where, when?

    Who: Pterosaurs, which are *not* dinosaurs. They’re reptiles, and they’re the earliest vertebrates to have gotten powered flight.

    What: This paper is about preservational bias, which is related to taphonomy.

    Taphonomy is the study of how weathering and other processes affect fossils-it essentially asks, “what happens to an organism after it died but before its later discovery?” So preservational bias is the idea that not all organisms become fossilized in the same way or at the same rate. The authors also looked at “completeness” of each fossil specimen, which refers to the amount of fossilized material that can examined from that particular specimen.

    Where: Fossils found in lagerstatten (areas in the fossil record with really great preservation) throughout the world.

    When: The Mesozoic era, between 252 and 66 million years ago.

    To summarize the paper with main goals and findings:

    • Goals: To see if the “completeness” of specimens is related to “key” intervals of pterosaur history; and understand if “completeness” is a controlling mechanism for diversity
      • FINDINGS: “Completeness” of specimens does not limit understanding of taxonomic diversity nor does a lack of “complete” specimens relate to “key” intervals of pterosaur diversity
    • Goal: To see if lagerstatten impact pterosaur record
      • FINDING: Lagerstatten impact the pterosaur fossil record by inflating observed species diversity.
    • Goal: Compare preservation completeness of small bodied organisms and large bodied ones
      • FINDING: Completeness was different in small bodied organisms when comparing to large bodied organisms. This was especially true when looking at lagerstatten, where small bodied organisms tended to preserve more readily.

    Citation: Dean, C., Mannion, P., & Butler, R. (2017, October 16). Preservational Bias Controls the Fossil Record of Pterosaurs.




  • 5 months, 4 weeks ago
    Lisa Lundgren and Sadie Mills are now friends
  • 6 months ago

    Open Access: research journal articles, datasets, and other research outputs that anyone can freely use. Paleontology has many open access journals and journal articles. Here’s a listing of open access resources for paleontology, mostly in the form of journals, based on @afarke‘s list from his blog article about it, found here: Open Source Paleontologist. Note: not all the journals are specifically paleontology based. Some might have biology focus, but publish paleontology papers. I also found this link, which claims to incorporate 60 open-access geoscience journals: Geoscience e-journals. Kenneth De Baets’ website also has a sortable list of paleontological journals, here: journals for paleontological research. And, if you’re interested in the most up to date open access articles, PLOS Paleo’s Fossil Friday posts are the best thing around: Fossil Friday Roundup


    Acta Paleontological Polonica

    From the American Museum of Natural History: American Museum Novitates and Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History

    Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology

    Bulletin of the Florida Museum of Natural History

    Contributions from the Museum of Paleontology

    Contributions in Science, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

    Denver Museum of Nature & Science Annals

    Estudios Geológicos


    Geologica Acta

    Journals from the Museum National d’Histoire naturelle, Paris

    Journal of Paleontological Techniques

    Memoir of the Kukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum

    Natura Nascosta


    Palaeontologica Electronica 

    Palaontologische Zeitschrift

    PaleoXiv: community-sourced digital archive of paleontological working papers, pre-prints, accepted manuscripts, and published papers



    PLOS Biology

    PLOS One

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Royal Society Open Access

    Smithsonian Contributions to Paleontology

    What’s your go-to journal for open access paleontology?

  • 6 months ago
    Lisa Lundgren posted a new activity comment

    Excellent! The story says Llyod Gunther gave thousands of specimens to KU. @egardner have you seen any of his other fossils?

  • 6 months, 1 week ago
    Lisa Lundgren and Daniel Krisher are now friends
  • I tried to teach geologic time during a museum summer drop-in program. The age range varied from 4 year old to 5th graders. I tried the calendar way (e.g. the Paleozoic started on November 18th, the Mesozoic began on December 13th, etc.) with visitors using different colors to represent the different eras. Then, to reinforce the concept, we built lego structures depiciting stratigraphy, and tried to correspond the lego block colors to the eras the students had colored on the calendars. It was…mildy successful?

    The other activity I tried was creating snap bracelets. We gave visitors stickers and markers to draw the different eras on there. While it was a fun art project, I don’t think many grasped the concept that well. I’d love to re-do it sometime!

    @taorminalepore @gsantos @ashley-hall, what have you tried when you teach geologic time?

  • 6 months, 3 weeks ago
    Lisa Lundgren and Richard Bex are now friends
  • 7 months ago
    Lisa Lundgren replied to the topic FOSSIL Webinar Series in the forum Upcoming Opportunities

    Thanks, @jkallmeyer! I think I remember @lmccall and @willis-dc wanting to know species names during the webinar, but I’m sure there are other folks who were curious too. The web page you linked, is an excellent resource. I wonder if there’s another resource that could be linked to that website (or here!), like a visual depicting the formations and the trilobites that are found there. @jbauer or @alycia-stigall, do you know of something like this?

  • 7 months ago
    Lisa Lundgren replied to the topic FOSSIL Webinar Series in the forum Upcoming Opportunities

    @egardner, the webinar was great! I liked seeing the diversity of trilobite species. All the speakers were so knowledgable. Thanks, Dr. Hunda, @jkallmeyer, @matthew-croxton, @thomas-johnson, and Don! Can you all link to the correct spellings of the identified species? I browsed around on myFOSSIL to find that resource @jeanette-pirlo mentioned at the very end (the trilobite ID book/guide/resource?), too but couldn’t find it, can someone link it?

  • 7 months ago
  • Hi @jim-chandler, because the poster was too big, @richard-bex used a workaround. Click the link at the end of his post. It should automatically start a download of the poster for you. As a low resolution “teaser”, I took a screenshot from my computer for you to check out. Is there anything in particular you’re interested in on the poster?

  • Hey @lara-greene, Ramsey, and @danielle-brennan! Can you say more about the matrix you used in your poster? It looks like there’s a lot of different fossils in it. Have you used the activity with students yet?

  • 7 months, 3 weeks ago
    Lisa Lundgren and Isaac Magallanes are now friends
  • 8 months ago
    Pasha Antonenko and Lisa Lundgren are now friends
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