Field of Science

1921 Excavation of the Holotype of the Phytosaur "Machaeroprosopus" adamanensis

Today (June 17th) is the 90th Anniversary of Charles Camp initiating collection of the holotype of the phytosaur "Machaeroprosopus" adamanensis (now Smilosuchus adamanensis) from the Blue Forest at Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona, USA). Susan Drymala, Rachel Guest (summer interns), and I took the opportunity to revisit the site. We started at the 1921 campsite (where Rachel found an old sardine can) and headed east, climbing the 50 foot ridge above the arroyo where the specimen was collected.  We sat in the quarry for a bit, reminensed for a bit with old photos, thunked our rock hammers in a few times in honor of camp and departed on to other sites. It's always pretty cool to be able to literally follow in the footsteps of these older paleontologists, especailly one who was such a huge influence on Late Triassic vertebrate paleontology as Charles Lewis Camp. Below are Susan (left) and Rachel (right) at the site. Rachel is in the actual old diggings.

 Below, Rachel holds up an old slat of wood from the 1921 excavation.

Below is the camp of Annie Alexander and Charles L. Camp in the Blue Forest in June of 1921 (courtesy of the UCMP and PEFO)

 Charles L. Camp photo of the skeleton of "Machaeroprosopus" adamanensis as partially excavated in June 1921 (courtesy of the UCMP and PEFO).

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