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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.