A Busy First Week Along the Panama Canal

This past Friday, we finished cataloging all of the fossils that we collected during the past week of fieldwork, which totaled over 60 specimens!

Fossils collected during our first week of fieldwork along the Panama Canal and Lake Alajuela. Photo by E. Whiting

Fossils collected during our first week of fieldwork along the Panama Canal and Lake Alajuela. Photo courtesy of E. Whiting.

It was a busy and productive first week of collecting along the Panama Canal and shores of Lake Alajuela (the previous 3 weeks were spent conducting geological fieldwork in the Azuero Peninsula, see our May 29 blog post for more details); our first week of fieldwork in the canal basin, led by PCP PIRE Project Manager Dr. Aaron Wood, yielded numerous fossil mammal teeth, turtle shell fragments, a snake vertebra, a partial crocodylian skull, and a camel jaw with several teeth!

Earlier last week, I made my first plaster jacket for a fossil specimen in Panama! On Monday, I found a very fragile fossil camel jaw with most of its teeth intact, but a tropical downpour prevented us from being able to collect it. A few days later, the weather finally held out long enough for us to return to the site and make a plaster jacket to protect the camel jaw for safe and secure transport back to the lab. The process of making a plaster jacket in the field can be seen in the PCP PIRE March 2014 eNewsletter.

Overall, it was a very good first week in the Panama Canal and surrounding areas, following our 3 week adventure in the Azuero Peninsula. Hopefully we’ll have a lot more success in the Panama Canal basin as this summer continues!

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