Smilodon Tracks in Argentina

A lot of what we know about ancient animals is pretty speculative.  It is usually based on some sound reasoning but that often comes from small, scattered clues built up over many years (not just a quick Google search).  There is more to understanding an animal than can be learned strictly from the bones themselves.  Nests, wallows, tracks, rubs, dens, soft tissue, hair, skin impressions, and even food debris trapped in dental plaque give us glimpses into the past that help flesh out the looks and lives of these creatures.

fossilprint

First sabre-tooth cat print from Argentina, 19.2 cm across.

In a paper delivered a few weeks ago in Buenos Aires, the first Sabre-Tooth cat prints were discovered along the coast near Miramar, Argentina.  “But because it’s so difficult to definitively link fossils such as footprints to the animals that made them, the newly discovered tracks will get their own species name, in accordance with longstanding scientific tradition.  The team suggests that the name should be Smilodonichnum miramarensis, a Greek phrase that roughly but aptly translates as “Smilodon footprint from Miramar.”

Smilodon

Smilodon reconstructions with modern human for scale.  S. populator was about 20% larger than a modern tiger.

S. populator is believed to be a separate specie from it’s North American cousin, S. fatalis and confined to South America.  Tracks can be difficult to date with precision, but these are approximately 50,000 years old; in the midst of our most recent Ice Age but they probably went extinct around 10,000 years ago.

Lund's_Smilodon_populator

Smilodon populator.

Here’s the abstract from the talk.  We look forward to learning more about this discovery in the coming year.

HUELLAS DE UN TIGRE DIENTES DE SABLE EN EL PLEISTOCENO TARDÍO DE MIRAMAR, PROVINCIA DE BUENOS AIRES, REPUBLICA ARGENTINA.

M. MAGNUSSEN1 y D. BOH1.

El sitio paleontológico Punta Hermengo, estudiado exhaustivamente desde principios del siglo XX hasta la actualidad, ha aportado un pequeño yacimiento, donde se han localizado, recuperado y moldeado al menos cuatro bloques sedimentarios que presentan huellas, probablemente de Felidae, Hidrochoeridae y Rheidae, en una plataforma de abrasión. La presencia de la morfofamilia Felipedidae, asignable a la familia Felidae en sistemática paleontológica, es conocida a partir de la presencia de pocas muestras a nivel mundial. Se dan a conocer las primeras icnitas en el Partido de General Alvarado, asignables a un Smilodon populator. Según el amplio y variado material fosilífero recuperado, el sitio corresponde a la Edad Lujanense, (Pleistoceno tardío-Holoceno temprano) de la ciudad de Miramar (38°14’ S, 57°45’42.40” W). Debe considerarse como ichnogen. e ichnosp. nuevos., a partir de caracteres morfológicos comparativos y biométricos, en el registro fósil y viviente. El material estudiado esta compuesto por dos bloques y sus respectivos moldes. Uno con las huellas de pata anterior y posterior (MPHP0161), y por material adicional constituido por un bloque con dos huellas de las patas anteriores (MPHP0167), preservadas en sedimento de grano muy fino, con un epirelieve cóncavo y depositados en las colecciones del Museo Municipal Punta Hermengo de Miramar. La huella de la pata anterior tiene una longitud de impresión de 17,6 cm por un ancho de 19,2 cm, mientras la posterior es de menor tamaño, con características señaladas para los grandes Felidae. Las consideraciones morfológicas atribuidas, permiten considerarlo como un nuevo icnotaxon valido.

1 Museo Municipal Punta Hermengo de Miramar. Bosque del Vivero Dunicola Florentino Ameghino c.p (7607). Miramar, Buenos Aires, Argentina.museomiramar@gmail.com

The original blurb from Science is HERE.

Posted in Archaeology | Leave a comment

Shelf Life, Part 1

Today is International Museum Day and to celebrate, we’re taking you behind the scenes at the American Museum of Natural History! In this video series, Shelf Life, dive deep inside the Museum’s collection to discover the past, present, and future of its approximately 33 million artifacts and specimens.

In Episode 1 (below), meet the Museum collections, including the 131 frog-eating bats, 12 meteorites from mars, and 1,235 moccasins. In Episode 2, find out how scientists organize this amazing array of items:

https://youtu.be/5NR-xl7W0vo

This is great, and inspirational for the science/museum professional.  Sharing is so important and most people don’t understand how much there is behind the scenes in repositories, curation facilities, and museums in general.

Posted in Archaeology, museum, museum interpretation | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

When evolution just gives up – The mighty Sloth

Damn, Megalonyx jeffersonii, you really let yourself go.

via When evolution just gives up — Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

Posted in Archaeology, paleontology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

3D Cardboard Puzzle–Clovis Point

This is great! Thanks Zac.

selden3d

Have you ever wanted to make a 3D cardboard puzzle of a Clovis point? Now you can! Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to scan a selection of Clovis points from the Blackwater Draw NHS, and those will soon be available (open access) for download. In the meantime, you can build your own Clovis point (and/or share the experience with your children, students, colleagues and friends), modeled from LA3324-25313 (above), and made available here as a 3D puzzle.

Test.gif

To build the model, simply download the instructions (here), then print them on an 8.5 x 11″ piece of paper, paste that piece of paper on whatever remnants of a cardboard box is most accessible, cut them out, then assemble (note – glue helps, but s not required)! While it does not give you all of the rich detail that we captured in the 3D scan, it will give you a feel for…

View original post 201 more words

Posted in Archaeology | Leave a comment

Another Mammoth Killer

From the North Bank mammoth kills.

Posted in Archaeology, Clovis, Clovis site | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Coronado’s Entrada, a letter from the road, 1541

Here’s a replay of a popular post concerning our region and the greater Southwest United States and Northern Mexico

BLACKWATER DRAW LOCALITY 1

Coronado’s Report to the King of Spain
Sent from Tiguex on October 20, 1541

Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, 1510-1554Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, 1510-1554

Letter from Francisco Vazquez de Coronado to His Majesty, in which he gives an Account of the Discovery of the Province of Tiguex.

NorthernNewSpain“HOLY CATHOLIC CAESARIAN MAJESTY: On April 20 of this year I wrote to Your Majesty from this province of Tiguex, in reply to a letter from Your Majesty dated in Madrid, June 11 a year ago. I gave a detailed account of this expedition, which the viceroy of New Spain ordered me to undertake in Your Majesty’s name to this country which was discovered by Friar Marcos de Niza, the provincial of the order of Holy Saint Francis.

marcosniza“I described it all, and the sort of force I have, as Your Majesty had ordered me to relate in my letters; and stated that while I was engaged…

View original post 2,249 more words

Posted in Archaeology | Leave a comment

The Largest Saber-toothed Cat, Smilodon populator — GeorgiaBeforePeople

Smilodon populator may have been the largest cat ever to have hunted in the wild. Richard Farina, a South American paleontologist, estimated this species reached a weight of over 800 pounds. This is more than twice as big as the more famous Smilodon fatalis, a species that lived all across North America during the late […]

via The Largest Saber-toothed Cat, Smilodon populator — GeorgiaBeforePeople

Posted in Archaeology | Leave a comment

More About the Lower Younger Dryas Boundary

IMPLICATIONS FROM CHEMICAL, STRUCTURAL AND MINERALOGICAL STUDIES OF MAGNETIC MICROSPHERULES FROM AROUND THE LOWER YOUNGER DRYAS BOUNDARY (NEW MEXICO, USA)

Andronikov et. al. 2016

Spherules_2016

Printed in the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography

ABSTRACT. Hollow magnetic microspherules from along the lower Younger Dryas boundary (c. 12.9 ka BP) in New Mexico (USA) were studied using scanning electron microscopy, electron probe microanalysis, X-ray diffraction, and laser-ablation inductively coupled-plasma mass spectrometry methods. The shell of the microspherules (10–15% of the spherule’s diameter) displays dendritic surface textures, which are likely due to quenching during rapid cooling of molten material. Structurally, multiple single-magnetite crystals attached together form the bulk of the microspherules. Iron dominates the microspherules’ composition (90% FeOtot), Mn is the second most abundant element (up to 0.4% MnO), Al is detected in low concentrations (<0.30% of Al2O3). Among the trace elements, the rare earth elements display slightly fractionated patterns with concentrations of 0.1– 1.0× CI chondrite. The microspherules contain elevated concentrations of Ni relative to detrital magnetite (up to 435 ppm) and very low concentrations of Ti (down to 5
ppm). Chemical, structural and mineralogical features of the microspherules do not contradict the existing models of the formation during ablation while a meteoroid goes through the Earth’s atmosphere. Elevated concentrations of the magnetic microspherules in sediments can be a stratigraphic marker for the lower Younger Dryas boundary in North America.

Key words: magnetic microspherules, trace elements, Younger Dryas

Download the article by clicking the link below.

Microspherules_2016

Posted in Archaeology, Clovis | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Eurasian Steppe Mammoth (Mammuthus trogontherii) may be the same species as the North American Mammoth (Mammuthus columbi)

Interesting. A little light mammoth reading from Science 2015 for your Thursday morning.

GeorgiaBeforePeople

Eurasian steppe mammoths crossed the Bering Land Bridge early during the Pleistocene (~1.9 million years BP) and colonized North America.  They ecologically replaced stegomastodons over most of the continent but the ranges of both overlapped in Central America until the late Pleistocene.  Mammoths never colonized South America where stegomastodons continued to flourish until human hunters arrived on the scene.  Mammoths were probably better adapted than stegomastodons to the cooler more temperate climates that occurred over most of North America during the Pleistocene. Stegomastodons should not be confused with the American mastodon (Mammut americana) which co-existed with mammoths across most of North America for almost 2 million years.  They were able to co-exist because these 2 species favored different ecological niches.  Mammoths preferred higher drier grasslands, while mastodons were semi-aquatic denizens of wetlands.

Scientists long assumed mammoths that colonized North America evolved into a different species than Eurasian steppe mammoths.  North…

View original post 201 more words

Posted in Archaeology | Leave a comment

Clovis Unifacial Knife

Another great one that really benefits from scanning.  A Clovis uniface found in the North Bank Mammoth kills in the early 1960s.  Enjoy!

Posted in Archaeology, Blackwater Draw, Clovis | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

ICONIC…

Posted in Archaeology | Leave a comment

3D Scanning

Dr. Zac Selden has been doing a lot of 3D scanning with one of our own faculty, Katy Putsavage.  Although initially the focus was on pottery from the Miles Collection, he was kind enough to take on some Paleoindian artifacts from the Clovis type-site as well.  These files not only look pretty but will assist in research and allow data to be efficiently shared.

The files are huge so this only works well with high band-width but are definitely worthwhile.

Let us know what you think.  I’ll be adding more information to the artifacts as time permits.

Posted in Archaeology, Blackwater Draw, Clovis site | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment