Fossil Fest photos

Over 300 people attended the 1st annual Fossil Fest of Iowa Saturday at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids. Many thanks to organizers Don Johnson of the Eastern Iowa Paleontology Project and Bill Desmarais, the staff from the Museum of Natural History and the other presenters for the opportunity to show off the Tarkio Valley Sloth Project again.

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More photos in Flickr. . . . Dave

Fossil Fest of Iowa October 24

We’re taking the sloth on the road again Saturday, October 24, 2009, 9:30 AM-4:30 PM. This time to Washington High School in Cedar Rapids for the first annual Fossil Fest of Iowa. Dinosaurs are being featured this year with Mike Henderson, Curator of Earth Science  at  the fabulous Burpee Museum in Rockford, IL delivering the keynote address.  Speakers every hour starting at 10:00 AM will highlight a different aspect of  Iowa’s rich fossil record. . . the Tarkio Valley Sloth Project will be  featured at 1:00 PM.  More info.

DNA update

This news from Andy about our DNA tests:


I got a mitochondrial amp from one of the extracts, but I haven’t cloned it yet to check for contamination.  I wasn’t able to get nuclear amplifications using our current stock of primers.  It wouldn’t surprise me if we get endogenous DNA from this thing, but it may not be in high enough copy numbers to do much more than generate a few scraps.  If we can determine that there is endogenous DNA via old school PCR and cloning(what I’m trying to do now), then the next step might be large scale extracts.  We’d then use the concentrate to build libraries to go on GS (Genome Sequencer) FLX plates and try to shotgun generate at least a significant portion of the mitochondrial genome.

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CIMS sloth presentation

Holmes and I had a nice time at Drake University Friday night talking to the Central Iowa Mineral Society (CIMS) about the sloth project. We had an audience of about 40 enthusiasts. It’s always nice talking to people who understand the importance of the project instantly.  Thanks to Ed Peterson for the opportunity, making the arrangements and hosting us at the Drake Diner before the program.  See you guys at the next dig. . . . Dave

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Oct. 2 and Oct. 6 sloth talks

Holmes and I will be taking the sloth to Drake University in Des Moines Friday October 2  and presenting a powerpoint program entitled The Life and Death of the Tarkio Valley Giant Sloths.  The program starts at 7:30 PM in Meredith Hall Room 101, South Auditorium.   We’ll take a few bones to pass around and save plenty of time for questions.   The  program is sponsored by the Central Iowa Mineral Society and is free and open to all.    

Sarah Horgen and I will be at the Story County Conservation Center at McFarland Park near Ames on Tuesday October 6 to repeat the program for their Older, Wiser, Livelier Seniors (OWLS)  series.  The program begins at 11:00 AM.   For registration and information about the O.W.L.S. program, contact the Story County Conservation Center at 515-232-2516 (8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday).