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

Re: Ant Hill Paleontology

Thanks to everyone who replied on and off line to my query about Ant Hill paleontology. The response was overwhelming! I really appreciate your generosity in sharing experiences, facts, speculations, and references.

Searching ant hills for minerals, micro-artifacts, and micro-fossils is a venerable "folk" method of prospecting, a topic I've been gathering material on for the past decade. Some paleontologists have already begun approaching this useful ant behavior scientifically. I'm collaborating with a myrmecologist at Stanford, who studies how and why ants collect porous items (bits of charcoal, minerals, and micro-fossils) and transport them to the nest midden. Even though they also bring such items up when tunneling, the ants may do more surface-surveying than core-sampling, as many of you have already discovered from observation. Apparently, the ants seek out porous objects that are easily marked with pheromones. Further studies are ongoing, to understand the ant's "reasons" and to obtain average distances of fossil transport. Your field observations from so many difference localities will yield valuable evidence.

I'll keep the lists posted on any futher myrmecological developments that would be of value in paleontology.

Thank you!