2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 3:15 PM


BENTON, Rachel Carol, Resource Management, Badlands National Park, P.O. Box 6, Interior, SD 57750, rachel_benton@nps.gov

Brontotheres (Titanotheres), the first Badlands fossils to be described, are considered the largest and most impressive of the early mammals found in Badlands National Park. In 1999, a park ranger discovered recent illegal diggings at the remote Titanothere Bone Bed Locality within the South Unit at Badlands National Park. Follow-up surveys documented over 18 recent poaching sites within the bone bed. The poachers were never caught. Park staff have created a baseline GIS layer of the site and rangers presently patrol the site at least once a week.

Badlands National Park will work cooperatively with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology on a three-year quarry operation to document and remove the majority of fossil specimens preserved at the Titanothere Bone Bed. The fossils will be prepared and curated at the two cooperating institutions. All information will be entered into the NPS curatorial database, ANCS +. Because the South Unit is part of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and managed by the National Park Service through a Memorandum of Agreement with the Oglala Sioux Tribe, negotiations with the tribal council are under way.

All specimens eroding at the surface will be mapped using a total station and grid mapping system. The exposed specimens will be carefully collected during the summer field season and prepared and curated during the winter lab season. Screen washing stations will be set up to determine if there are microvertebrates preserved at the site. Test pits will be set up in different portions of the site to determine the total extent of bone. If all of these tasks are completed, the two field teams will open up the Titanothere Bone Bed quarry during the Year 2002 field season.