Sunday, July 1, 2012

Fossil Hunting 6/30

Yesterday, my friend Masaki Kleinkopf and I went to check out a fossil site that I had found with another friend a couple of days ago. It looks to be Laramie Formation (towards the end of the death of the dinosaurs, in the Late Cretaceous), and a river seems to have been in this area. The most exciting fossilized things we found was a bunch of fossilized wood, as you can see below.
Fossilized wood
More fossilized wood
However, the most exciting that we saw of the day was definitely a wolf spider, probably three inches across. We saw the web first, and I was going to try and get the spider to come out with a long piece of grass (didn't want to get too close!) when I accidentally startled a grasshopper into the web. It couldn't get out, and suddenly the wolf spider appeared, and attacked it. It ran up probably ten or fifteen times, stabbing the grasshopper with its mandibles (I think that's what it was doing, anyways) and with its two front legs held up in the air. After awhile, the grasshopper was still alive, and the wolf spider retreated back down its hole. When we came back fifteen or so minutes later, the grasshopper was gone; probably dragged down by the wolf spider into its burrow to be devoured. I took a pic of the spider, but I think the  spider moved when it saw my phone, so all you can see is a blurry shot of the burrow.
Wolf spider burrow.  I think that the darker black in the burrow might be the  spider.
Besides wood, the Laramie Formation has yielded a number of dinosaur remains as well, among them being Edmontosaurus, Ornithomimus, Thescelosaurus, Triceratops, and Tyrannosaurus.  But first, here is a map of where the Laramie Formation is in Colorado.  Many of the dinosaurs that I mention below were found up in the north, near Fort Collins I believe.

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