My Fossil Hunting Adventure

My birthday was in May and I had the opportunity to go fossil hunting at the nearby Lilydale Regional Park here in the Twin Cities. I acquired a permit and had a blast for several hours collecting fossils with my wife. I’m going to indulge myself and just share some photos and information from this trip.

Initially, it seemed like we weren’t going to find much. There were a number of school groups there and they were combing over the fossil beds marked on the trails. These marked fossil beds were a bit disappointing–there were a number of fossils there, but mostly broken apart. However, once we sat

down to eat lunch a bit off the side of a trail, I realized the sheer volume of fossils present at this site. (See picture above for an image of the fossils on the ground, along with brick fragments.)

There were literally fossils everywhere. As I walked up some more trails, I realized that nearly every rock I picked up had some kind of fossils present in them. This became particularly evident when we went down a side trail to a stream. It was clear that the flow of water down the surrounding hills had dislodged a number of fossils and there was a large amount of clay running down towards the stream. This clay was completely filled to the brim with fossils. I could literally just reach into it and pull out a huge slab covered with fossils. It was awesome.

The fossils we found were a mix primarily from the Ordovician Period, about 450 million years ago. We largely found cephalopods (shelled squid/octopus like animals), crinoids (relatives of starfish), and brachiopods (other shelled animals). I can’t emphasize enough how completely covered these samples were with fossils. The picture on the left here is just one example of how fossiliferous these finds were.

Overall, we had a blast. I plan on going back as soon as possible. My wife definitely had the best find, the picture on the top of this post–a crinoid stem of impeccable quality. She found this in the stream.

 I can’t help but think about my recent reflections on the sheer number of fossils we have discovered. This fossil hunting trip helped reinforce in my mind the fact that all of these creatures couldn’t possibly have died at once–they could not have all lived at the same time. They compiled over long periods of time and, after about 450 million years, I was there to unearth them. It’s astounding.

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Paleontology: Looking for a good dino book

When I was little, I loved dinosaurs.

 

I love dinosaurs.

I want to learn more about them, but I can’t seem to find any books for people like me. There are books for kids, and even for teenagers interested in the topic, but then it jumps straight into graduate level books that talk about way more than I care about.

Basically, what I want is a book that teaches me about dinosaurs–their types, behavior, evolution, finds, etc.–with pretty pictures to look at without having to read through mounds of anatomical details, etc.

As a bonus, it would be great if it discussed paleontology in at least a little detail.

I found two contenders, but they seem to demonstrate my problem.

Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up To Date Encyclopedia….  -This one looks like I could easily read it, but it doesn’t look like it goes quite as in-depth as I’d like.

The Dinosauria: Second Edition– This one has an awesome name, but looks a little heavy for what I’d like. The fact that some reviews basically say it’s a graduate level dinosaur anatomy textbook makes it even more scary.

So if any readers could help me out by recommending to me a dinosaur book, I’d be extremely pleased.

What _is_ this place?

Hello to anyone reading this. I’m J.W. Wartick and I’m already a fairly regular blogger over at my main site, Always Have a Reason. That site is itself about philosophy of religion as well as Christian apologetics, theology, and science. But I have way more interests than I could contain on just that blog.

I have a fascination for history, science, and the arts. I love reading sci-fi, fantasy, and history. Paleontology and archaeology fascinate me. I love playing role-playing games and driving franchises in Madden.

In short, I need an outlet for all these things–a place for me to just reflect on my interests that don’t seem to fall under the umbrella of my main site. There is too much going on in this head to keep it all in.

You, the reader, may find this diverting. I know how interesting it can be to explore the random thoughts of people. Hopefully this site will lead you to some new interests, or perhaps you’ll comment and help lead me off to learn about things about which I know little or nothing.

You, the reader, are therefore asked by me, the author, to leave your own reflections on the topics I present here. Or, if you desire, you can just post about other random interests of your own. When I put up a post on the Battle of Midway, you can respond by talking about Gettysburg. That is fine! Please do so!

Finally, readers are entitled to a bit of background about myself if we’re going to have engaging discussions. I’m a Christian theist who loves a good debate. I’m getting an M.A. in Christian Apologetics. Philosophy of religion is my primary interest, but as you read on here you’ll find I have interests all over the place. I’m a devoted Christian who believes that the evidence for Christian theism is quite strong (if you want to read on that, you should check out my main site). You’ll note, then, that theism–indeed, Christian theism–permeates my posts, even when I’m talking about things unrelated to it. I’ll not apologize for that. We all let our worldviews into every aspect of our lives. I hope as you read here you’ll find some questions to ask and, maybe even some answers.