Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pitt Student Discovers New Genus, Species Of Ancient Amphibian

Date:
November 18, 2004
Source:
University Of Pittsburgh
Summary:
While on a geology class trip, an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh came across a previously unknown genus and species of a 300-million-year-old amphibian. Now he is reveling in the international attention he is getting for his discovery.

PITTSBURGH -- While on a geology class trip, an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh came across a previously unknown genus and species of a 300-million-year-old amphibian. Now he is reveling in the international attention he is getting for his discovery.

Adam Striegel, a Pitt senior liberal studies major from White Oak, Pa., found a fossilized skull of an ancient meat-eating amphibian with a vicious set of teeth. The fossil is only the third 300-million-year-old amphibian skull ever found in the world, according to David Berman, curator of vertebrate paleontology at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

“In all my life, I’ve never found anything nearly as nice, and I’ve never seen anyone else find anything nearly as nice,” said his instructor, Charles Jones, lecturer and undergraduate advisor in Pitt’s Department of Geology and Planetary Science, who last March led his class on a field trip to a newly cut road near the Pittsburgh International Airport. As Jones pointed out the different layers and types of rock that revealed the area’s history, he told his students to look for other clues to the environmental characteristics of the region as well, like plant fossils.

Striegel picked up a rock about the size of a grapefruit on which he thought he saw the imprint of a fern and showed it to Jones. Inspecting the rock, Jones immediately knew that what Striegel had thought were fern fronds was actually a double row of jagged teeth—and the rock was actually a skull. “I knew at that moment that this would be the nicest vertebrate fossil that I would probably ever touch,” said Jones.

In May, Jones and Striegel took the fossil to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. “The paleontologists were all very enthusiastic, jumping up and down and doing back flips because it’s just such a solid fossil—so well preserved, so uncrushed,” said Jones.

Coincidentally, Berman had discovered one of the only other two such amphibian skulls of that age 20 years ago in New Mexico; the other was found in Kansas.

“I was quite startled, mainly because it’s so nicely preserved—it’s almost perfectly preserved,” said Berman. “It’s missing a few parts, probably only because it was broken off a complete skeleton.”

Scientists from the museum went back and searched the area where Striegel had found the fossil, hoping to find the rest of the amphibian’s body, but they didn’t find it. “We’ll do it again in the spring, when the vegetation’s down,” said Berman. “I hate to think that we left the rest of the animal in the roadside.”

Striegel agreed to donate the fossil to the museum. After the museum’s scientists finish preparing it and publish their findings, either the genus or the species will likely be named “Striegeli.”

Striegel will receive a cast of the fossil. He intends to keep it on his desk when he becomes an elementary school teacher. “I would use it as a way to get the students interested when we get to fossils,” he says. “I think some kids would find it really interesting that there’s a whole species [and genus] named after their teacher.”

Until then, though, he’s still a college student, enjoying his 15 minutes of fame.

“I’m ecstatic,” he says, beaming. “I love it. It’s great. I think it’s the coolest thing that ever happened to me.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Pittsburgh. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Pittsburgh. "Pitt Student Discovers New Genus, Species Of Ancient Amphibian." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 November 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041117001144.htm>.
University Of Pittsburgh. (2004, November 18). Pitt Student Discovers New Genus, Species Of Ancient Amphibian. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041117001144.htm
University Of Pittsburgh. "Pitt Student Discovers New Genus, Species Of Ancient Amphibian." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041117001144.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

AP (July 30, 2014) River otters were hitting the water slides to beat the summer heatwave on Wednesday at Ichikawa City's Zoological and Botanical Garden. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins