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

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 1:45 PM


FREMD, Theodore, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, National Park Service, 32651 Highway 19, Kimberly, OR 97848, ted_fremd@nps.gov

The National Park Service manages almost 400 parks, monuments, recreation areas and other units, many of which contain both well-known and obscure fossiliferous sections. Until relatively recently, research and collection inside the parks was discouraged and/or perceived as detrimental to the resource. The newer management and research paradigm is to encourage research and ensure that scientifically significant fossils within NPS units are preserved, which in the case of many materials requires collection of specimens and placement into standardized systematic collections. Strata cross fences, of course, and in order to comprehensively focus on entire depositional settings it is necessary for paleontologists to develop projects both within and external to park lands. This serves both to help protect and develop assemblages on other public lands, and places the park into a larger context of processes and events that cannot be observed solely by working inside the legislative boundaries. Thus, the NPS has moved from discouraging paleontological research to expanding efforts both within and external to the parks. In the case of the John Day Basin, for example, partnerships with a wide variety of landholders have increased the effectiveness of biostratigraphic and paleoecologic analysis. Ranges of taxa through time and over geographically distinct paleoecosystems have been enhanced through formulating a basin-wide and temporally broad framework, while still focusing on specific problems of taxonomic, taphonomic and stratigraphic interest. Intervals previously thought to be missing have been found in laterally equivalent strata, and demonstrably isochronous variability in landscapes has been documented. The temporal and local geographic distributions of over 40 mammalian families have been more comprehensively mapped as a result, among them unexpected occurrences of borophagine canids, nimravids, and merycoidodontids.