LATEST PALEONTOLOGICAL FINDS AT ANZA-BORREGO DESERT STATE PARK®, CALIFORNIA: USING OLD DATA AND NEW TECHNOLOGY
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.