Cordilleran Section - 97th Annual Meeting, and Pacific Section, American Association of Petroleum Geologists (April 9-11, 2001)

Paper No. 0
Presentation Time: 2:50 PM


SCOTT, Rebecca L., Colorado Desert District Stout Research Center, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, P. O. Box 122, Bridgeport, CA 93517,

Significant terrestrial vertebrate and aquatic invertebrate fossil remains were recovered in two days of routine intensive field survey from the middle to late Pleistocene western Borrego Badlands of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (ABDSP). However, during the late 1950's through the late 1980's, researchers from Imperial Valley College Museum (IVCM) and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (LACM) worked the area. An overlay of original IVCM and LACM aerial photograph (1953 USDA) point locality data, captured as a GIS layer, with DOQ topography revealed that patches of the Badlands had been overlooked. Such original data, now in GIS format, are effectively used to direct intensive and cyclic surveys throughout the region.

The landscape at ABDSP is constantly changing due to erosion. Fossils are continually being revealed and degrade rapidly once exposed. Yet not every fossil encountered should be collected. Each specimen must be evaluated for its scientific significance. Factors such as the preservation of unique osteologic or taphonomic features, rare taxa, or stratigraphic or geographic range extensions of common taxa may be important. Individual vertebrate specimens that can be identified to Generic or Familial level are regarded as significant and collected. These materials eventually will yield important paleoecological information. When evaluating the significance of fossil remains, potential/future research should be considered. However in reality, a balance between collecting policy and the available curatorial space and funding must be maintained.

The application of new technology is just one aspect of the Colorado Desert District Paleontology Certification Training Program, which began in 1992 and is currently directed by G. Jefferson. These classes in state of the art field, laboratory and curatorial methods insure that qualified volunteer personnel are available to help with managing the important paleontological resources of ABDSP. Each season, November through May, veteran and apprentice volunteers search the badlands of ABSDP for fossil remains, and prepare and catalogue recovered specimens at the District Stout Research Center.