BEGINNING THE FALL TRIP TO THE SOUTHWEST 29 September 2010Dick left for the Southwest on September 26th, driving his Honda CRV across the Florida panhandle, southern Alabama, and Mississippi, arriving in southwestern Louisiana. The night was spent in a motel in Lake Charles and then onto the next destination in the morning.He crossed into eastern Texas in the morning of the 27th, driving onto Austin, TX, arriving there in the late afternoon,1026 miles later. His mission in Austin was visit the Texas Memorial Museum's Paleontology Laboratory where the collections of the vertebrate fossils, including the fossil tortoises, are stored. His job was to see, handle, measure, and photograph every fossil tortoise specimen in the collection. His time there, however, started with a shooting episode by a student on the University of Texas main campus. The campus was in a lockdown... How sad...a 19 year old! What a waste. Dick had scheduled only two days for the job.... The fact is he did not finish his inventory. He still must return to see the material from late Pleistocene sites later this month before returning to Florida. He left Austin City Limits tonight, heading for Waco, TX, and tomorrow onto Elizabeth's farm in Paris, TX, to spend time with her and her family, her wonderful Arabian horses, and other animal friends. Tonight Dick is in a motel in Waco TX. A little sangria... He is a happy man! Stay tuned for more adventures...
Camera shy! I want to acknowledge two more members of the museumstaff, Tim Rowe, Director of the Lab,
and Matt Brown, Paleontological staff member.
CLICK ON PICS
Lyn Murray, Collection Manager of the Paleontology collection, at TX museum
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE MUSEUM VISIT!" Handled, measured, and photographed several hundred specimens offossil tortoises in the museum. Examined tortoise specimens that had been collected and/or studied byEdward D. Cope in the late 1800s. What a thrill it was for me tofondle the same specimens that were examined by one of Dick's heros! Studied a wonderful series of the gopher tortoise shells of Gopherushexagonatus. This was the first time that I saw this species inperson. Ken Dodd, there are lots of box turtles in the collection,including things that look like Terrapene putnami (the giant boxturtle). Got a smile when I saw more of Walter Auffenberg's handy work. He usedmarkers to trace the sutures found on several shells of Gopherushexagonatus in the collection. He struck here to! Walt passed awayseveral years ago. This signature appears on specimens in many museums around the country."
Large gopher tortoise, Gopherus huecoensis, from Madden Arroyo in
the El Paso area. This the Holotype for the species.
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