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Finally The Weather Cooperates

After having several field trips planned for April and the first weekend in May cancelled due to rain, we finally caught a much needed gift of excellent weather on the second Saturday of May. This perfect weather allowed us to collect at our most frequented site in Walker County. The morning started in the 40s and remained overcast and cool until midday. This kept many of the huge crowd in jackets and long sleeves until the sun came out later in the day. The APS was joined by a large contingent from the Georgia Mineral Society as well as visitors from Tennessee and Mississippi. Fortunately this is a large site with lots of rocks to split. The recent resurgence of excellent finds at this site continued on this trip with many people finding wonderful plant fossils along with invertebrate and vertebrate trackways. I must say no matter how many of these trackways I see from this site, I continue to be in awe thinking about the fact that I am looking at where a 4 legged animal walked approximately 310 million years ago. Incredible!!!

Some examples of invertebrate trackways found included treptichnus burrows surrounding a fern pollen organ (Whittleseya elegans), diplichnites(?), and several arborichnus in the final example.

The next group represents some of the tetrapod (4 footed animals) trackways found. Again these represent reptiles, amphibians, and creatures in between, that walked this patch of Alabama during the Pennsylvanian-Westphalian age, long before the dinosaurs roamed. Note the gas escape bubble structures on several of these plates, these are found on many of the plates from this site. It is easy to imagine these bubbles rising up through the thick fine grain mud that coated the surface and capture these footprints before turning to stone. In the bottom picture are two manus and two pes prints of one of those "in between" animals an anthracosaurus called Attenosaurus subulensis.

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