[publication] A new occurrence of /Protichnites/ Owen, 1852, in the Late Cambrian Potsdam Sandstone of the St. Lawrence Lowlands

BURTON-KELLY, M.E. and J.M. ERICKSON. 2010. A new occurrence of Protichnites Owen, 1852, in the Late Cambrian Potsdam Sandstone of the St. Lawrence Lowlands. The Open Paleontology Journal 3:1-13.

You can download a PDF from here 1MB. You can follow this publication on Academia.edu or ResearchGate.

the wondrous (part I)

A little midnight blogging, just because I’m here, and because I feel like writing/explaining, so this shoudl be a good place for it. I suppose that this blog varies in topic a great deal–it is a personal blog, but anyone googling my name the right way can find it quite easily, including potential employers in the future, present fellow students, and colleagues.

Whether what I say here means anything to them one way or another is up to them–I certainly am making no attempt to portray myself in a way that makes me look better than I actually am, no matter how you slice it. That said, I am not blogging my entire life, for a number of reasons: first, that would take up too much of my time, and my time lately has been spent enough using the computer as it is; second, there are aspects of my life I don’t want to spread out for the whole world to see, because although I am an open book to people who know me, that comes as a prerequisite for getting all the goods; third, I don’t think it will interest anyone, as much as I could try to fancy it up with great english prose style (or in the style of any other language), and to do that would, again, take more time out of my life than I am prepared to give.

This is still a personal blog, and as cheaply as possible, a personal blog includes things that interest you. I see something on the internet, and I drop a link. It is a bad habit, to be sure, but so it goes. There are times like these when I will discourse about my day, and maybe include some little of my psyche. Think of it as a cross between a documentary and any plot-driven (as opposed to character-driven) television show: You need to think in order to understand me. I know that my close friends are typically my only readers, but I like to think that I can speak to a greater audience than the people who are closest to me. We all want to be known, and the blogging revolution has given everyone their own 15 digital minutes of “fame.” barring the fact that most of the world does not have this ability.

If you don’t already know, I am currently a Masters student in Geology at the University of North Dakota, in Grand Forks. I plan for my focus to be in vertebrate paleontology, but it is only my first semester here and I am taking classes to make up for not having taken them during my undergrad, which was at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY (that’s up-upstate, 18 miles from Canada, in case you don’t know) where I received a BS in Geology.

My Honors thesis at SLU was entitled “An analysis of multiple trackways of Protichnites Owen, 1852, from the Potsdam Sandstone (Late Cambrian), St. Lawrence Valley, NY,” and can be found at SLU or by contacting me directly. Essentially, I studied an outcropping of ~500 ma Potsdam Sandstone in northern New York which contained a collection of what have been interpreted as early arthropod trackways. Since the Potsdam is a beachfront formation, the question arises of whether or not these (and similar trackways found in southern Quebec and Ontario) were produced subaerially (i.e., on dry land) or underwater. This is an important point to consider because the oldest known terrestrial (land-dwelling) animals stem from approximately this point in the history of the earth, and so there was a fairly serious change in lifestyle occurring for the organisms in question: the transition of species from marine (or even fluvial/lacrustrine) to amphibious to fully terrestrial settings. To make matters more interesting in the field, no body fossils have yet been discovered in this formation, leaving our idea of what produced these trackways up to a combination of imagination and “best guess” according to what data we already have from other localities around the world and throughout the rock record. Finally, if this isn’t enough, the ichnogenus (“ichnos” = trace or track) Protichnites was first described in 1852 (by Sir Richard Owen of the British Museum), and has since encompassed a very wide variety of forms, many of which bear little resemblance to one another!

While my current educational goal is not to focus on this research, it remains an ongoing interest of mine.

wondrous (part II)