Friday Fossil Feature – SeAVP and the Gray Fossil Site

by Sarah Boessenecker (@tetrameryx) and Robert Boessenecker (@CoastalPaleo)

Happy Fossil Friday!

Huge attendance for this year’s SeAVP!

Last week, museum staff and volunteers traveled to Gray, Tennessee for the 10th annual Southeastern Association of Vertebrate Paleontology. What’s in Gray, Tennessee? Why, the Gray Fossil Site, of course!

The Gray Fossil Site (GFS) is a Miocene age site known for it’s spectacular preservation of fossils dating back 7 to 4.5 million years ago. GFS was discovered in 2000 while trying to expand the highway in the area; upon realizing the magnitude and importance of such a fossil site, the highway was rerouted to go around and construction began on a museum to house and educate about the wonderful finds coming from this prehistoric sinkhole. Lizards, snakes, turtles, and alligators are all commonly found at this site, as well as tapirs, saber-toothed cats, mastodon, and short-faced bear. GFS is also known for the most complete skeleton of the ancient barrel-chested rhinoceros Teleoceras and the most complete skeletons of red panda!

Partnered with East Tennessee State University, GFS was the host of SeAVP this year; 10 years ago they started this small conference as a way to share new research and catch up with old friends, as well as providing a platform for new researchers to present in a smaller setting before moving onto larger conference settings. Professor Robert Boessenecker presented a 20 minute talk on xenorophids (Oligocene odontocetes) and Collections Manager presented a poster on a new record of the walrus Ontocetus emmonsi from South Carolina. Enjoy the following slideshow of pictures from the trip!

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Posted in Conference, fossils, Museum

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