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ants in my pants

I sieved an ant hill mound (about a cubic foot) on top of a new Hell Creek microsite that I found on my ranch last friday. Resultant Hell Creek small teeth fossils well exceeded 1000 in number. Stingray teeth, croc, theropod, gar, small amphipian, small reptile etc teeth in excessively high numbers came out. Still looking at the stuff but so far 30 plus Cretaceous mammal teeth have surfaced from the pile. All of the specimens are small enough for an ant to carry. The diversity is absolutely impressive only to be exceeded by the number of fossils in the sample. This site is just below the K/T boundary in Uppermost Hell Creek. If this is not a world class microsite, I don't know what is with it having produced in one hour more small fauna Hell Creek fossils than I have found in 3 years of digging away. The aerial extent of the site is 150 by 100, crowns a hill top with no overburden and is roughly 15 feet thick and is the richest site I have ever seen. I live on the ranch and it took me 3 years to find it which gives you an idea of the amount of ground I have to cover here.

For your future information, the proper process for sampling ant hills is as follows, shovel ant mound material into sieve, sieve to suit, immediately bag all material in sieve in zip lock baggies ants and all, transfer material to wife's favorite microwave safe covered dish, 45 seconds per 5 pounds of sediment on high will kill all the imbedded ants. (Run if wife finds out about the dish!) Do not, I repeat, do not try to examine material in the sieve on site after properly agitating ants. Formic acid is pretty irritating under the skin by the way. Information sharing is one of the important parts of the DML. I must have overslept the day the rest of the class was taught about Wyoming ant hills in grad school.

Frank Bliss
MS Biostratigraphy
Weston Wyoming