[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: ants in my pants

In this particular case, they remove objects from below that are encountered in their tunneling process. Things that are too big to move, they tunnel around. The mound is created therefore by the stratigraphy immediately below. I don't know specifically how deep this particular species (which I haven't even tried to identify yet) digs. There is some clearing of the surrounding area but in my experience is only intensive a foot or so circumference around the mound. I suspect that most of the material came from right (a few feet) below. This particular microsite crowns the whole hill top so all the material came from this site. All material below to lowest valley level is all Hell Creek since it is about 500 or 600 feet there and the Tullock formation (Tertiary) above has all been removed. This particular ant hill is very specific stratigraphically. There is one more ant hill covered with gar scales yet to me sampled too. The current count from ant hill one is over 40 Cretaceous mammal teeth and over a hundred little theropod teeth as of Sunday night around midnight.
On May 22, 2005, at 10:15 PM, Christopher Taylor wrote:

Just by way of interest, is it still possible to identify the stratigraphy
of the fossils, or does transport by the ants obscure their origin? How far
afield do ants transport material for constructing mounds from?


        Christopher Taylor

On 23/5/05 4:03 pm, "frank bliss" <frank@blissnet.com> wrote:

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