My name is Dena and I'm a paleontologist from the University of Colorado. I serve as the Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology in the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History and the as an Associate Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences. These positions allow me to do a great variety of really fun things. I get to do research, conduct fieldwork, teach courses, take care of amazing fossil collections, help create exhibits and educational programs and work with great people! I consider myself pretty lucky!
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So, some very interesting things are coming out of this excavation. First, we are finding some unusual and less common plants and today we found several different types. Not only are there several different types of plants, but we have been finding only one or two specimens of each. So, we are not getting lots and lots of the same type of leaf, as we usually do.
Throughout the section, from top (youngest in age) to bottom (oldest in age), we have found several fossil rich layers. These layers tend to be richer in plants or richer in insects. For example, in the layer that Herb Meyer (pictured) collected today, he mostly found very nicely preserved plant fossils, but he did find two very nice insects (one ant and one possible Cicada). Christina has been working in a layer that has been dominated by beetles, but has a few plant fossils. So, we will be able to look at patterns of diversity and preservation within a layer and we also will be able to compare layers and examine patterns through time.