Earthwatchers joined paleontologists to excavate a remarkable collection of Cretaceous fossils, including remains of dinosaurs and sea life.
Researchers and volunteers recovered hundreds of fossils from 95- to 100-million-year-old Cretaceous rock in Arlington, Texas. The fossil finds provided important information on ancient coastal ecosystems during a period of Earth’s history that was very different from today. They include a large herbivorous dinosaur, a new species of crocodile, carnivorous dinosaurs, turtles, a new species of lungfish, sharks, skates, bony fish, and invertebrates, along with fossil wood and plants. The site is located within a densely populated urban setting; Earthwatch volunteers helped to complete field and lab work before bulldozers could arrive.
Volunteers excavated a hill and mapped each fossil specimen as it was found. They cleared more of the hillside for digging and dug trenches to help drain water from the area. In the lab, they prepared fossils for identification and storage and helped to sort through sediment looking for microvertebrate fossils under microscopes.
Earthwatch volunteers made a meaningful contribution to understanding the evolutionary history of North America during the Cretaceous.