Project Title

Reburying a Mastodon: A Digitization Workflow for Vertebrate Paleontological Spatial Data

Authors' Affiliations

Matthew Bushell, Department of Geosciences, College of Arts and Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN. Chris Widga, Department of Geosciences, College of Arts and Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN.

Location

Ballroom

Start Date

4-12-2019 9:00 AM

End Date

4-12-2019 2:30 PM

Poster Number

32

Faculty Sponsor’s Department

Geosciences

Name of Project's Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Chris Widga

Type

Poster: Competitive

Classification of First Author

Undergraduate Student

Project's Category

Paleobiology

Abstract Text

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can be a powerful paleontological tool. This project’s goal was to digitally reconstruct a large, mostly-articulated mastodon (Mammut sp.) excavated from the Gray Fossil Site during the 2015 to 2018 field seasons. This was done by compiling total station survey data, field notes, sketch maps, and cataloged specimen data within ArcGIS Pro. Field drawn sketch maps were geo-referenced to relevant survey points. Then, a polygon layer was created by tracing the spatially referenced field drawings. Each polygon was given the specimen’s designated field number and connected to a table containing all associated field data. The result was a polygon layer that displayed all major bones and bone fragments of the mastodon which was linked to museum catalog information. Researchers can use this digital product to interpret site taphonomy, examine the distribution of skeletal elements or fossil taxa, or potentially identify areas of interest for future excavations. This workflow will streamline future specimen digitization efforts at the Gray Fossil Site.

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Apr 12th, 9:00 AM Apr 12th, 2:30 PM

Reburying a Mastodon: A Digitization Workflow for Vertebrate Paleontological Spatial Data

Ballroom

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can be a powerful paleontological tool. This project’s goal was to digitally reconstruct a large, mostly-articulated mastodon (Mammut sp.) excavated from the Gray Fossil Site during the 2015 to 2018 field seasons. This was done by compiling total station survey data, field notes, sketch maps, and cataloged specimen data within ArcGIS Pro. Field drawn sketch maps were geo-referenced to relevant survey points. Then, a polygon layer was created by tracing the spatially referenced field drawings. Each polygon was given the specimen’s designated field number and connected to a table containing all associated field data. The result was a polygon layer that displayed all major bones and bone fragments of the mastodon which was linked to museum catalog information. Researchers can use this digital product to interpret site taphonomy, examine the distribution of skeletal elements or fossil taxa, or potentially identify areas of interest for future excavations. This workflow will streamline future specimen digitization efforts at the Gray Fossil Site.