Day 5: Circles

"Office day" in camp. Ironically, the "office" here has fewer paleontology toys than my actual office.

Our morning was spent completing geological maps of the area. Imagine tracing the boundaries of rock strata on a Google map and that the lines are invisible and also that the map is drawn from an angle that requires drawing the lines basically on top of one another.

The exercise does give me a much better appreciation of mapping's utility. Foe example, I can now identify parts of the area that just won't be worth prospecting given how unlikely they are to have the right kinds of rocks. I should be less surprised than I am about the degree to which rocks factor into paleontological work. One of the hazards of coming to the field from a philosophy-of-biology angle, I guess. Let me tell you: that angle is oblique.

Mapping only required a couple of hours' work, so the rest of the day was recreational. Most of the campers here chose to find ways to shower or bathe. I accompanied our instructor back to Hawk Rim for some additional prospecting. I'm here to find fossils, not to smell good.

Practical lesson: finding fossils and smelling good are mutually exclusive.

 Scenic Hawk Rim.

Scenic Hawk Rim.

Another practical lesson: when you flag a fossil that you've collected, also collect the flag. My only find during this trip was the memory of my equid toe find three days ago. The memory was physically encoded in the flag I planted where the toe laid on the ground. I'm going to go ahead and call the flag a fossilized memory so that the day seems like less of a bust.