Thursday, February 26, 2009

Grant Opportunity for Graduate Student Research in Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest National Park
Graduate Research Grants in Natural and Social Sciences
Applications due April 1, 2009

Petrified Forest National Park is pleased to announce two (2) research grants available to graduate students in the natural and social sciences. The goal of this program is to encourage graduate research in National Parks and provide opportunities for graduate students to publish research in NPS and scholarly journals. Awards of up to $4,000 each are available for one (1) natural resource research project and one (1) cultural resource research project for resources available within Petrified Forest National Park. Field research must take place within Petrified Forest National Park’s administrative boundary and fieldwork must be completed by September
15, 2009. Delivery of final report is subject to the nature of the research, but is due within 18 months from the start of the project. Field based research projects are strongly encouraged, although archival projects utilizing existing collections will also rank highly. Research projects should address issues of interest to the larger scientific community, under- or seldom-studied resources, or new approaches and methods. Research projects that directly contribute to the applicant’s M.A., M.S., or Ph.D. research will be favored.

Petrified Forest National Park contains an abundance of natural and cultural resources including: the largest expanse of recovering short-grass prairie in the Colorado Plateau and associated fauna, reptiles, and one of the most diverse concentrations of birds in Northern Arizona, paleontological resources, historic resources, ethnographic resources, and archaeological resources. The park’s paleontological resources span the Late Triassic and include reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, petrified wood, and other plant fossils. The park’s cultural resources include archaeological remains from nearly every major time period from Paleoindian through Proto-historic periods, including Pueblo and Navajo materials, evidence of early Spanish explorers and missionaries, U.S. westward expansion in the 1800’s including the 35th parallel railroad route, Great Depression Era Civilian Conservation Corps works, and historic Route 66.

Eligibility: Must be currently enrolled in an accredited M.A., M.S., or Ph.D. program with at least TWO full semester of course work completed by summer 2009.

Housing: Housing will be provided at no cost in apartments located on park or in Holbrook (location subject to availability).

Application: Short research proposals (4 pg max, 12pt, single spc.) should include the following:
  • Title and category of proposal (Natural or Social Science)
  • Contact information and university affiliation: applicant and graduate advisor
  • Research Question / Statement of Issue
  • Proposed Methodology & Scope of Work (include if collections are necessary)
  • Broader impacts and public purpose.
  • Proposed budget with justification

Application packets must also include:
  • Current Curriculum Vitae
  • Graduate & Undergraduate Transcripts (unofficial is OK)
  • Letter of Support from graduate advisor or Department Chair.

Award: Award recipients will be announced May 1. Funds will be distributed in four (4) equal installments, three (3) throughout fieldwork, and one (1), 25% of the total project funds, withheld until submission of final report.

For more information contact:
Archaeologist, Jason Theuer: (928) 524-6228 ext. 268,
Paleontologist, William Parker: (928) 524-6228 ext. 262,

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Happy Birthday George

Today is George Harrison's birthday.
Happy Birthday George!!

The Inner Light
George Harrison (1968)

Without going out of my door
I can know all things on Earth
Without looking out of my window
I could know the ways of Heaven

The farther one travels
The less one knows
The less one really knows

Without going out of your door
You can know all things on Earth
Without looking out of your window
You could know the ways of Heaven

The farther one travels
The less one knows
The less one really knows

Arrive without traveling
See all without looking
Do all without doing

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Abstract reminder: 8th Conference on Fossil Resources

Just a quick friendly reminder that abstracts for the 8th Conference on Fossil Resources are due March 1, 2009, 6:00 pm (MST). Details can be found in the second circular.

Looking forward to seeing you all in May!

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Monday, February 23, 2009

Earl and Apatosaurs louisae

This is the third article in a monthly series featured in the Vernal Express celebrating 100 Years of Discovery at Dinosaur National Monument, written by Dinosaur National Monument Park Guide Matthew Greuel. You can read his first article here, and the second article here, both on the Vernal Express website [my previous blog link1, 2].

It was a beautiful sight
by Matthew Greuel (02.11.09)

"At last, in the top of the ledge where the softer overlying beds form a divide, a kind of saddle, I saw eight of the tail bones of a brontosaurus in exact position. It was a beautiful sight.”

Earl Douglass wrote this in his diary on Aug. 17, 1909. Earlier that day he laid eyes on eight tail vertebrae of what was popularly known as Brontosaurus but today is known as Apatosaurus. He had found the dinosaur so dearly desired. The entire fossil animal totaled 76 feet long and 15 feet tall when reconstructed. This specimen was so complete that it is the type specimen of Apatosaurs louisae – the specimen against which all other Apatosaurs louisae are compared. It was named after Andrew Carnegie’s wife, Louise.

Removing this first dinosaur proved time consuming, but efficiency improved as Douglass and the crew became more familiar with their tasks. Douglass would remark that “…during the last ten months we have taken out much more than during the previous twenty months.” Part of this increase in efficiency was the mapping of the quarry face. Douglass would paint a grid-lines on the rock [see picture], then draw the locations of fossils a scale model grid on paper. Each fossil had an alpha-numeric code written on it. This system, still in use today, made it possible for the dinosaurs to be reconstructed upon arrival at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

There was barely a road to the new fossil quarry for transporting the bones, let alone for visitors to travel for a glance at the work being performed. Douglass and the crew, however, welcomed around 400 visitors annually the first few years of work. Douglass wrote of the visitors the first Sunday after discovery, “Today two loads of people came from Vernal to see the Dinosaur and there were several loads from other places…For a time the rocks that never had the impress of a woman’s foot and seldom that of a man swarmed with people of all ages. Mothers and grandmothers ascended the steep, almost dangerous slopes, with babes and there were men and women well along in years…” The power of dinosaurs to capture the imagination of scientist and non-scientist alike was on display....."

Keep reading the article here.

Original article © Vernal Express; photo of Earl Douglass © the Special Collections department of the University of Utah, Marriott Library Earl Douglass Photography Collection.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Rocky Mountains and the Colorado Plateau: Canyons, Resources, and Hazards

The American Institute of Professional Geologists is hosting "Rocky Mountains and the Colorado Plateau: Canyons, Resources, and Hazards" October 3-7 this year in Grand Junction, Colorado. The meeting is co-hosted by the Grand Junction Geological Society and Mesa State College and includes a variety of field trips. The meeting invites posters and talks on all aspects of geology and paleontology of the region and registration is open to all (it is not strictly an AIPG member meeting). Please consider submitting an abstract and feel free to forward this to others who may be interested. Abstracts are due May 1.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Murphy facing more charges

The Great Falls Tribune reports that Nate Murphy plead innocent Thursday to federal charges of stealing fossils from Bureau of Land Management land between August of 2006 and August of 2007. Details about what kind of fossils and how many are unknown at this time. Murphy faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, an additional three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine for the federal charges of theft of government property, as reported by the Great Falls Tribune on Thursday. The federal trial date is set for February 25, 2009.

The federal charges are in addition to state charges that were filed in Phillips County in September of 2008. These charges stem from the claim of theft of fossils (a small theropod) from private land outside of Malta, Montana. The state trial is slated to begin on March 18, 2009 in Malta, as reported by the Great falls Tribune on Friday.

Please check out the full stories at the Great Falls Tribune (by By Kim Skornogoski, a Tribune Staff Writer)for Thursday and Friday for complete details. You can also find details as this situation has progressed here.

Original story © by the Great Falls Tribune. Dinochick Blogs © ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Friday, February 20, 2009


Where does you mind go to when you hear someone, or yourself, called an amateur? Are you offended? Are you indifferent? Do you smile and say, "Yes I am, thank you!"?

A post tonight on the Perogative of Harlots blog got me thinking....For those of you who are members of the Vert Paleo Listserve you may have noticed the recent outburst of arguing (friendly debating?). For those of you who are not on the list, a bit of background: Post have been going back and forth recently about the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act [information at the SVP site can be found here]. Some members of the list are worried that this bill will take away the rights of "amateur" fossil collectors and/or think more trouble than good will come from it (rangers taking kids fossils away, rangers throwing people in jail/fining them for collecting fossils they will still be able to collect legally because the ranger is not properly trained on what can and can not be collected, peoples private property being seized if they are found to have illegally collected fossils in their possession, ect....).

I, personally, think some of these issues are making a mountain out of a molehill. They may spring from a misunderstanding of the bills wording, a misunderstanding or general lack of information/knowledge regarding current policies and practices, general suspicion of anyone who is a paid paleontologist, someone who may have had a bad (or many bad) experiences, others with (what appears to be) a very large chip on their shoulder.....this list could go on, and I just call it as I see it.

As much as you try to help them see the light or explain how things are now and what the bill will or will not change, it does not seem to mater. It is always something. And there are certain people you just cannot please, no mater what you say. They should, in my opinion, be sent the direct answers to their questions, without screwing with their head and creating a feeding their frenzy of back and forth emailing. Just answer them and let them go. If they keep pushing, hit delete. Let it go. Don't let it get to you. If people would stop pushing their 'buttons', they would stop pushing back. (Hopefully.)

My question is, WTF is the big deal with the whole "Amateur" vs. "Professional" crap anyway?

What defines a "Amateur?" What defines a "Professional?" Why do we even need to be classified? Why do people get so mad about being called one or the other!?

I am not going to refer to Wikipedia for my definitions. Why would you cite a source where you can go in and create the definition you want in the first place? Lets start with "Amateur," from Webster:

One entry found.
Main Entry: am·a·teur
Pronunciation: \ˈa-mə-(ˌ)tər, -ˌtu̇r, -ˌtyu̇r, -ˌchu̇r, -chər\
Function: noun
Etymology: French, from Latin amator lover, from amare to love
Date: 1784

1 : devotee , admirer
2 : one who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession
3 : one lacking in experience and competence in an art or science

Two of the three definitions here are positive! What is wrong with being a devotee of fossils?! An admirer of fossils?! One who engages in the pursuit, study, science, or sport of paleontology as a pastime rather than as a profession!? Sounds pretty sweet and stress free to me! No need to worry about what school you are going to/went to. No need to worry about getting that one to five jobs that come up in a year, competing against the 500 students who are currently members of SVP and will be looking for jobs in the very near future (not to mention all the un/underemployed PhD paleontologist out there looking for jobs). You could go on digs, collect fossils, research, anything you love that has to do with fossils at your leisure! Sounds pretty nice! And to quote an amateur "I consider myself to be a kind of dedicated amateur. I am here for the love of it." ~ Priscilla McKenna. I think that sums it up and is what it should all be about. What is so wrong with that!?

So why do people get all offended about being called an amateur? Why do they immediately have to zone in on the negative definition of the word?

and the next...

Main Entry: pro·fes·sion·al
Pronunciation: \prə-ˈfesh-nəl, -ˈfe-shə-nəl\
Function: noun
Date: 1811

one that is professional ; especially : one that engages in a pursuit or activity professionally

So basically a "professional" paleontologist is one that engages in the pursuit or activity of the studying fossils professionally. But what does the act of being professional include:

Function: adjective
Date: 1606

1 a: of, relating to, or characteristic of a profession b: engaged in one of the learned professions c (1): characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession (2): exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace

2 a: participating for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs b: having a particular profession as a permanent career c: engaged in by persons receiving financial return

3: following a line of conduct as though it were a profession

So a professional engages in their learned profession, that is characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession (such as member of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology agreeing to uphold the ethics statement of the organization). Or paleontologist exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace. Or "professional" paleontologist who make money being paleontologist and doing research/teaching/field work/pursuit/study...of paleontology. To me this does not imply that to be a "professional paleontologist" you need to be a professor or curator of a museum. Professional paleontologist, in my book, include those people, but also include the technicians, collections managers, preparators, grad students, post docs, researchers (federal, state and private), consultants -anyone who studies fossils and gets paid to do so.

I think this last definition is really what heats up the debate. From my perspective, some people are not happy that they either a) do not make money doing paleontology (they are possibly doing something they had not planned on doing/do not like/or are "just getting by" in order to make a livelihood?) or b) feel as though a individual or group of "professional" paleontologist are trying to keep them from making money doing paleontology. I do not understand where all the mean spiritedness and down right hatred comes out though, and why people feel the need to fight and argue about this. It is simple - if you feel the need to be defined as a "professional" paleontologist then get the training (though school, experience, whatever) and get a paying job doing paleontology. If it really bothers you that much. Otherwise, be cool with what you do and quite worrying what defines you (and you probably already know this).

When I look in the mirror, I do not know how to define myself. I am not even sure I need to be defined when it comes to being a paleontologist. I know that I am one, and that is all that should mater to me. I am not sure what others see when they look at me. A amateur paleontologist? I feel as though I am devoted to paleontology and admire fossils. I can fit that description. A professional paleontologist? I make my livelihood at the moment working with fossil. I hope to do this for the rest of my life. Do I have a Ph.D. No. Did I go to college to become trained and better educated in geology and paleontology. Yes. Do I have a degree. Yes. Does it mater? To some yes, to others no. I know several people in paleontology who have contributed greatly to the science and do not have advanced degrees. I look at the armies of volunteers that keep many museums afloat and contribute highly to the field. Without them paleontology would be years behind where we are now. They do not get enough recognition.

This is also not the first time, and sure to not be the last time, the "Amateur" vs. "Professional" debate will happen on the Vert Paleo List. Funny how these people will duke it out online, but get them together in a room and they do not talk about it. At the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meetings I have attended, while all have been great, I have noticed a voluntary separation that seems to occur. Mammal people hang out with Mammal people. Triassic people hang out with other Triassic people. The Chicago people hang out with other people who went to school in Chicago. The paleo art people group up. The Ornithischian people form herds. The groupies flock after their lords......(generalizations of course).
You get the picture. Some of this is understandable. They may be colleagues you only see once or twice a year, people who have similar interest, school mates.... It is not that it is really a big deal. But if you want people to consider you "part of the group" and not some outlier (or "evil amateur") who no one wants to talk to, you have to jump in there. I wish people would talk about this "Amateur" vs. "Professional" bullshit at the meetings. Maybe meeting face to face and working this crap out would help people. Or lead to some interesting fights. But hopefully it would help, talking face to face. Maybe SVP should have a round table on that!

Why did I not post this on the Vert Paleo list? Because I do not want to bother everyone with my rambling rants like some others there do. If you made it this far, thanks for reading. Let me know what you think!!

(Sorry for the long rant. Thanks to Ville at Dots in Deep Time for the link to the video - a proud amateur himself!
Sorry to the light post as of recently (and in the near future). I have my hands full with my sick cat who I am still feeding through a tube. Hopefully when she is better I will have more time to post. )

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What is a Paleontologist?

This is the second in a monthly series of articles in the Vernal Express celebrating 100 Years of Discovery at Dinosaur National Monument, written by Dinosaur National Monument Park Guide Matthew Greuel. You can read his first article here, on the Vernal Express website [my previous blog link]. Look for the third article coming soon.

So, what is a Paleontologist?

by Matthew Greuel (01.28.09)

"Start talking paleontology, dinosaurs and other fossils, and often certain images pop up: men in laughably clean khakis and pith helmets removing bones with paintbrushes at digs in remote and exotic desert locations.

Jim Jensen with Supersaurus scapulocoracoid (Jensen 1985). Khakis? Pith helmet? Paintbrush? Remote/exotic location? Depends on your definition of Colorado. I give a partial check.

Scientists tell us that a paleontologist is someone who studies fossils, the remains of long-dead animals.

The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology defines a paleontologist as “a person who studies fossils … Fossils are any naturally occurring objects that tell us about ancient life. They can be bones, teeth, shells, leaf impressions, footprints, insects trapped in amber, or any number of other sorts of things.”

However, what does it really mean to be a paleontologist?

Paleontology, like many other sciences, is a combination of skills and disciplines. Geology, chemistry, biology, botany, math and engineering are among the dominant disciplines.

Fossils are a large and very important chapter in the history of Earth, telling us about different environments and changes that have occurred. Paleontologists use these disciplines to help read fossils and ancient landscapes – read the stories and information they hold, and interpret them and what they mean.

One of, if not the most well known fossil that paleontologists study are dinosaurs. Dinosaurs can be considered a gateway fossil: They have unparalleled power to capture imaginations, especially the imaginations of children, and lead to interest in and study of other sciences.

Think back to when you were young – did dinosaurs not evoke some kind of response? Totally change what you thought is possible in the world? Maybe give you a nightmare or two?..."

Keep reading here.

Original article © Vernal Express; photo1 from SVPOW and Jensen, James A. 1985. Three new sauropod dinosaurs from the Upper Jurassic of Colorado. Great Basin Naturalist 45 (4): 697-709; photo2 from Apropos of Something.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More info on the Second Annual Fossil Preparation and Collections Symposium

The Tate Museum has updated their website with more information on the Second Annual Fossil Preparation and Collections Symposium (June 5-7, 2009). From the website:

"The 2009 Tate Conference will be a three-day event: a day of lab workshops on Friday, and day of talks on Saturday, and a field trip day on Sunday to the local White River Formation. The conference also includes a keynote speaker with dinner on Friday evening. Registration forms can be found here."

The list of speakers includes:

KEYNOTE: Mike Getty Utah Museum of Natural History. The trials and tribulations of collecting in the Grand Staircase- Escalante Wilderness Area.

Greg Brown, U of Nebraska. Cyclododecane.

Melissa Connely, Tate Museum. Wax molds for re-shaping casts of distorted fossils.

Eric Lund, Utah Museum of Natural History. Recognizing and preserving dinosaur skin

JP Cavigelli, Tate Museum, “For the Love of Carbowax”.

Kathy Hollis, University of Colorado. Storage of fossils.

Andrew Bland, Oregon, Prepping out of concretions.

Kelli Trujillo, Uinta Paleontological Associates, Inc. How to become a preparator.

Kenneth Bader, U of Kansas. Recognition and Preservation of Insect Traces on Fossil Bone

Jim McCabe, Royal Tyrell Museum, Drumheller, B.C., Quantitative Consolidant Comparisions

Pete Reser, retired preparator, “A Technique Using Cyanoacrylate And Ground matrix
Exclusively In The Preparation And Restoration Of Late Triassic, Chinle Formation, Fossil Material”

Darren Tanke, Royal Tyrell Museum, Drumheller, B.C., “Techniques for finding and identifying lost and unmarked quarries in Dinosaur Provincial Park”.

Matt Brown, Petrified Forest national Park, "Professional development in the field of fossil preparation: a roadmap."

Workshops include:
1) Making a two-part silicone mold… Friday Morning, Friday evening and Saturday morning.
2) Carbowax… Friday morning.
3) Lab ideas or comparisons roundtable discussion (details to be announced). Friday afternoon.
4) Air-abrasives. Friday afternoon.

I am getting very excited about this meeting! Don't forget to register. I hope to see you there!

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hepatic Lipidosis

Sorry for the non-Paleo post, but I think this is something everyone should know about:

Have you heard of Hepatic Lipidosis? I hadn’t. And now my cat, Kelty, may have it. Basically it can occur when your cat eats 75-50% its normal amount of food. When this happens a “fatty liver” develops and can cause liver failure. If you have cats, please keep reading.

First, I am not a vet. I am just summarizing information given to me. Please see the references at the end of this post for sources and more information. Always consult your vet immediately if you think there is anything wrong with your pet!

So how can you tell if you cat might have or be developing Hepatic Lipidosis?
The normal cat is middle-aged, was once over weight (or obese) and has lost 25% of its original body weight, has a poor or absent appetite, an upset stomach (38% will have vomiting, diarrhea or constipation). Electrolyte imbalances and vitamin deficiencies may be additional problems due to the liver disease (read more about Hepatic Lipidosis at the end of this post).

In our case, Kelty, is 6 and a half years old, she was 15.80 pounds at the end of October and today weighs 10.75 pounds. So she has lost 1/3 of her body weight. I knew she was loosing weight, but I did not realize she had lost that much! She had not been eating much recently, but we thought it was in protest due to the kitten (she had done this in the past when other cats had been in our home). I guess it is possible she had been eating so much less that we just did not notice. But who would guess that if your cat is eating 75% of its normal diet that it could get sick! She had been puking, but I did not notice that it had gotten so bad until I was home with her all day yesterday and noticed that she cold not keep any of the water she drank down.

I had also let her go outside yesterday to enjoy the sun and I noticed that her lip looked slightly yellow in color (it is normally a healthy pink in color, see picture [ or this picture for a better example]). This set off red flags in my head, so I immediately emailed a friend in vet school, Ewan, who was able to tell me very quickly that this was probably a jaundice issue related to the liver and that we would need to get her to the vet as soon as possible. I ran into a vet tech friend who runs the local cat foster group we work with and she confirmed this and suggested I also look at her ears or eyes for signs of yellow (see picture below). She had both of these and I feel horrible that I missed it. It now seems so obvious (the ears at least)! I immediately called our vet and left a message to find out if they were open today. He was awesome enough to call me back on a Sunday and say yes, they were open, talk to me about the symptoms, and told me to bring her in first thing this morning.

This morning we brought her in, he confirmed that it was jaundice indicating a liver issue. It could be anything from the fatty liver disease, liver failure, an autoimmune issue or a type of cancer. He decided to treat her immediately for the fatty liver disease. If it were also the autoimmune issue he said this would be the same treatment. If they find out it is cancer or liver failure, the prognosis is, obviously, really shitty. He took blood and sent that off to find out, and we should have the results tomorrow. Today he also inserted an esophagostomy tube. He had to sedate her to do this, and it involved sticking a small tube into her throat though a incision on the left side of her neck. It has a cap on it and we are able to send water, food and medication down this tube (see pictures below, click to enlarge). We have to start of slow, but build her calorie intake up fast to get her back where she needs to be. We were given a special prescription food that is high in protein to feed her, along with antibiotics and stomach soothing drugs. We really need to get her weight back up (to at least 12 or 13 pounds) and get her to eat and drink on her own again before they can remove the tube. This could be about 2 weeks, maybe longer (typically 4 to 6 weeks).

Remember the signs:
- your cat may not be eating or not eating as much
- jaundice indicators: yellowish eyes (the part that is normally white), ears and gums.
- Upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation

I really wish I had known about this and these signs and maybe I would have been able to get Kelty treated more quickly! I hope you never have to go through this, but if you do, you can take away from my experience the signs to look for and be able to get a good jump on getting it treated!

More information on Hepatic Lipidosis:

It makes since when you think about it. [simple version] Cats are carnivores/predators that evolved eating small meals multiple times throughout the day. Their physiology is geared to a completely carnivorous diet, where, in the wild, they would live lean and never have a chance to get “fat.” Unfortunately, the however many years since we have been domesticating cats has not allowed them to fully adapt to their “new” environment of seeming luxury. If your cats are anything like mine, they sleep, a lot, and do not play or move around that much. This often leads to our fuzzy friends becoming a bit on fluffy bellied side. This usually is not a problem every day, but it can become VERY bad if the cat becomes sick, gets lost, or stops eating with a large amount of weight loss occurring. During starvation fat is moved from the bodies’ storage areas to the liver where they are processed into “lipoproteins.” Unfortunately, the cat liver was never intended to handle excessive/large amounts of mobilized fat, and when this happens, it can fail. To make things worse, protein malnutrition develops fast when cats do not eat.

So why would a cat stop eating in the first place? If it is something easy like your cat was lost or starving for a few days, you know. Otherwise there are a variety of interesting factors. Cornell University looked at 157 cats with lipidosis to see what conditions were primary:

28% had inflammatory bowl disease
20% had a second type of liver disease (usually cholangiohepatitis)
14% had cancer
11% had pancreatitis
5% had social problems (new cat, new home, threatening animal or person – this is Kelty’s case we think/hope, with the new kitten and dog around all since November)
4% had some kind of respiratory disease
2% were diabetic

The key to treatment of lipidosis involves aggressive nutritional support (a high protein diet to reverse the metabolic starvation). If this is done carefully the recovery rate approaches 90%! If you are unable to unwilling to feed your cat through a tube there are other options. Consult your vet! Cats that show an improvement within 7 to 10 days are statistically likely to survive!

They important thing is to get high protein food into your cat and go to your vet immediately! It is treatable with nutritional support but without this aggressive nutritional support most cats will die. Please keep an eye out for the signs and be proactive!

References & other Information:

Most of my information comes from: My vet gave me a print out about it, but it is a member only, protected site that I can't link to.


Other References:

Cornelius, LM; Bartges, JW; Miller, CC. CVT Update: Therapy for hepatic lipidosis. In Bonagura, JD (ed.) Current Veterinary Therapy XIII. W.B. Saunders Co. Philadelphia, PA; 2000:686-90.

Day, DG. Diseases of the liver. In Sherding, RG (ed.) The Cat: Diseases and Clinical Management. Churchill Livingstone. New York, NY; 1994: 1312-16.

Dimski, DS; Taboada, J. Feline idiopathic hepatic lipidosis. In Dimski, DS (ed.) The Veterinary Clinics of North America Small Animal Practice: Liver Disease. W.B. Saunders Co. Philadelphia, PA; 1995: 357-73.

Johnson, SE; Sherding, RG. Diseases of the liver and biliary tract. In Birchard, SJ; Sherding, RG (eds.) Saunders Manual of Small Animal Practice. W.B. Saunders Co. Philadelphia, PA; 1994: 749-51.

Twedt DC. Feline liver disease. Veterinary International. 1994 (3):33-43.

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

50 Women in Science Blogs

Kelly from Phlebotomy Technician Schools notified me that I was listed on her "Women in Science: 50 Must Read Bloggers." I am in very good company there and suggest you take a look at this long list. There are some great blogs listed there.

Happy Presidents Day everyone!

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Palaeo-Art Challenge

Traumador the Tyrannosaur has asked me to pass this information along:

"Based on the success of not just Brian's Boneyard carnival, and in particular the popularity of Glendon (the flying trilobites) Palaeo-Art themed boneyard it was realized there are many on the web who enjoy recreating all things prehistoric. As of such a couple of us at Prehistoric Insanity came up with the idea of starting a regular internet event (we're calling it a virtual art gallery, but basically a carnival) for the artists out there to participate in.
We're calling it ART Evolved: Life's Time Capsule, and our first theme is ceratopsian dinosaurs. This first "gallery" will be hosted over on the Prehistoric Insanity blog on March. 1st. We are looking for entries from anyone and everyone. No matter the quality or medium of their recreated horned dinosaur(s). Details are here..."

Check it out!

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

Be sure to send your favorite paleo nerd a card - check these out

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A few new blogs

I thought I would post a few links to blogs that have recently appeared on my radar -

This has already been mentioned on Chinleana, but I thought I would plug it here as well: The Theatrical Tanystropheus

I forget how I found out about this blog, but it is really great! Chris is the new vertebrate paleontology collections manager at Yale, and his post center on museum issues: Prerogative of Harlots

Fun paleo postings from Ville Sinkkonen, an amateur paleoartist and paleo enthusiast who is currently a geology/biology student at the University of Helsinki, Finland: Dots in Deep Time

Kyle is a self-proclaimed "wise-ass PhD geologist." I like him already. Check out his blog(s) where post on "...useful tips for integrating digital tools and techniques into your geologic workflow in the field and in the office..." Great blog title as well: Geologic Froth/Geologic Frothings

Cruise on over and see what is "shaking" at the blog organized by the Lamont-Doherty Cooperative Seismograph Network: Shaking Earth

All are awesome blogs and worth checking out! Also see my blog lists on the right for updates and many other wonderful blogs I enjoy reading (and I hope you might as well)!

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Darwin Art

Ok, I give in and attempt a bit more effort for Darwin Day. All "art" below was created by yours truly at Obamicon.Me

Which is your favorite?

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My contribution to Darwin Day

This is my contribution to Darwin Day - sorry for the lack of effort. I know there will be an overload of serious Darwin related post today, so I will just offer something entertaining.

The groups Mission Statement:

To increase the Darwinian fitness of the world's poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-energy, internet-enabled velociraptor with content designed for collaborative, practical, self-empowered survival.

Thanks to Andy for the link and heads up! Matt also posted this back in November! Check out the reality behind the parody. And I am so buying a shirt.

Happy Birthday C. Darwin & A. Lincoln!

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster, above logo © of 'One Velociraptor per child', Darwin art © Ray Troll

She is almost there!

She is almost there folks! Amanda is at #4 and we really need to do the big push and get her to the #1 spot by Sunday (when the contest ends). As you may remember from previous post, Amanda is participating in a scholarship contest hosted by Brickfish called "My Favorite Toy." The winner gets a $500 scholarship. Amanda is planning on going to school full-time next year and needs all the help she can get, especially during this bad (no, horrible!) economic times. The contest has going for 2 months and her entry has stayed in the top 5! Right now, she is in 4th place! The contest ends on February 15th (this Sunday) so lets get her up to #1!! Thanks again for your help. Please feel free to send this on to any friends who can help or post it on your blog. Thanks again for your help!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Final Push - the Paleontological Resource Protection Act needs your help!

The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology sent out this press release today (sorry I can not find a link on their site for it at this time):

"We’re very pleased to inform you that the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act (PRPA) is included as a part of S. 22, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009. S. 22 has already passed the Senate and we understand that it will be taken up on the House floor this week.

It’s critical that you write your Representative today to urge that they vote in favor of S. 22, and that they vote against any move to amend or recommit S. 22. In order to expedite routing your letter to the correct staffer we have compiled a list with the e-mail addresses of the appropriate staffers. If you don’t know who your Rep is you can search for that information at the following link, which will also have a general e-mail address for your Rep in case we don’t have a staff contact name.

We have attached a model letter that you may use, or adapt to a more personal letter.

Please be sure your letter encourages your Representative to vote in favor of S. 22 and against any move to amend or recommit.

If you have any questions about the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act, or S. 22, please contact Patrick Leiggi, Chair of the SVP Government Affairs Committee ................"

Please take the time to send a letter to your representative!! YOUR letter could be the tipping point to get this bill passed! YOU can help make history! Your age matters not, but your opinion matters greatly! So send that letter!!

Keep your fingers crossed and your hopes high that this bill will pass! Thanks for the help! Now quite reading and go send that letter! ;)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Hey Fishface!

Ray Troll has written a song for Darwin Day called "Hey Fishface!" Click here to take a listen to it. Troll also encourages you, as I do, to take a look at "The Evolutionist's Prayer" written by Matt Celeskey (of the Hairy Museum of Natural History) and Ray Troll. If you never have been by Dr. Troll's website, check it out. All sorts of awesome things can be found there!

Hey Fishface... written by Ray Troll, 2008

"Just another vertebrate" phrase was how Marion Bonner, renowned Kansas fossil hunter, referred to himself.

Hey Fishface
I know who you are
Hey Fishface
You ain’t no superstar
Hey Fishface
Did you forget who you are?

You’re a lobefin just like me

Just another vertebrate
getting in the way
Just another vertebrate
with nothin’ to say
Just another vertebrate
getting’ through the day

You’re a lobefin just like me

Big brained monkey
you do it all wrong
Keep mucking up this place
It won’t take long
Your time on this earth
will be gone gone gone…

The above art and music are © Ray Troll

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Preparator

Greg Brown posted this great quote over on the 'Vertebrate Paleontology Preparation and Conservation' group on facebook (you should join), and I just had to share it with you all:

"This is from a review (written by Gilbert Stucker, 1977) of A. E. Rixon's prep manual...thought it was interesting and worth sharing:

"The trouble with fossils is that they are found encased in rock. An elaborate technology -- one might almost call it a 'mystique' -- has grown up around the need to remove this rock, while still preserving its contents. [Rixon] shares membership in that dedicated body of workers referred to facetiously by the late D. R. Barton as 'the Jimmy Valentines of Science' -- the middlemen through whose hands a petrification must normally pass before it can be properly evaluated as a scientific object. Known to the profession as 'preparators', their job specifications read like those of a jack-of-all-trades -- stonemason, prospector, expedition organizer, cook, mechanic, blacksmith, chemist, and, sometimes, artist. The work can be ardous and is usually of painstaking character, requiring infinite patience, skill, and a knowledge of animal osteology."

On a related note, don't forget about the Second Annual Fossil Preparation and Collections Symposium* which will be held this year at the Tate Museum on Friday, June 5th (2009). Start making your plans!

*previous blog post on the meeting

Thursday, February 5, 2009

High Point Meme

It appears that Callan over at NOVA Geoblog started this one. I like mountain climbing (although I am not a high pointer as you will see) but I thought I would play anyway. Here's the tallest points in each of the 50 United States, with Puerto Rico's and Washington, DC's highest points thrown in for good measure. Elevations are in feet above mean sea level. I've bolded the ones I have personally stood atop:

Cheaha Mt., Alabama 2,405'
Mt. McKinley (Denali), Alaska 20,320'
Humphreys Peak, Arizona 12,633'
Magazine Mt., Arkansas 2,753'
Mt. Whitney, California 14,494'
Mt. Elbert, Colorado 14,433' (I now have a mission)
Mt. Frissell, Connecticut 2,380'
Fort Reno, Washington, DC 429'
Ebright Azimuth, Delaware 448'
Britton Hill, Florida 345'
Brasstown Bald, Georgia 4,784'
Mauna Kea, Hawai'i 13,796'
Borah Peak, Idaho 12,662'
Charles Mound, Illinois, 1,235'
Hoosier Hill Point, Indiana 1,257'
Hawkeye Point, Iowa 1,670'
Mt. Sunflower, Kansas 4,039'
Black Mt., Kentucky 4,139'
Driskill Mt., Louisiana 535'
Mt. Katahdin, Maine 5,267'
Backbone Mt., Maryland 3,360'
Mt. Greylock, Massachusetts 3,487'
Mt. Arvon, Michigan 1,979'
Eagle Mt., Minnesota 2,301'
Woodall Mt., Mississippi 806'
Taum Sauk Mt., Missouri 1,772'
Granite Peak, Montana 12,799' (I hear this one is nasty)
Panorama Point, Nebraska 5,424'
Boundary Peak, Nevada 13,140'
Mt. Washington, New Hampshire 6,288'
High Point, New Jersey 1,803'
Wheeler Peak, New Mexico 13,161'
Mt. Marcy, New York 5,344'
Mt. Mitchell, North Carolina 6,684'
White Butte, North Dakota 3,506'
Campbell Hill, Ohio 1,549'
Black Mesa, Oklahoma 4,973'
Mt. Hood, Oregon 11,239'
Mt. Davis, Pennsylvania 3,213'
Cerro de Punta, Puerto Rico 4390'
Jerimoth Hill, Rhode Island 812'
Sassafras Mt., South Carolina 3,560'
Harney Peak, South Dakota 7,242'
Clingmans Dome, Tennessee 6,643'
Guadalupe Peak, Texas 8,749' (nope, but I have been on Emory Peak, the second highest)
Kings Peak, Utah 13,528' (must find)
Mt. Mansfield, Vermont 4,393'
Mt. Rogers, Virginia 5,729'
Mt Rainier, Washington 14,410'
Spruce Knob, West Virginia 4,861'
Timms Hill, Wisconsin 1,951'
Gannett Peak, Wyoming 13,804'

So my list is just sad lol. I have been up a 14er here in Colorado, and many high ones in Montana and Alaska, but I guess just not the highest ones. A good map and comprehensive list of these high points can be found at Which ones have you visited?

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Misinformation regarding the Paleontological Resources Preservation bill

Sorry for the disappearing act. I have been pretty busy with work this week. A story in my local news paper is spreading some incorrect information that I wanted to point out really fast. The story that came out on Monday is entitled "Paleontology provisions threaten bill that includes Dominguez conservation area" - big mean paleontology is picking on the poor conservation area eh? No. Not really. The story is referring to S. 22, Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009; Title IV, Subtitle D - Paleontological Resources Preservation, Sec. 6301 - 6312. The author of the story states "Salazar [Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo, the brother of our new Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar] said language restricting the recovery of arrowheads, fossils and other historical materials from public lands has deeply divided the House committee entrusted with approving the public-lands bill....He said unless the House can muster up a supermajority to suspend House rules and remove the language, the bill’s passage could be delayed or the entire bill could be left in limbo.

“It could be put on the back burner for who knows how long,” Salazar said....The provisions would require a permit to remove any fossils from public lands or Indian reservations and could, Salazar said, bar members of the public from searching for arrowheads or other items."

This is where I get upset. Obviously John Salazar has either a) not read the legislation or b) does not understand the difference between fossils and arrowheads, paleontology and archaeology. Either way, it is just flat out NOT GOOD!! Contrary to what is implied in the article, "arrowheads" and "historical materials" are not mentioned anywhere in the paleo bill. Also, permits will not be required to collect fossils on Indian lands by this act; in fact, Indian lands are specifically exempt from the act. Despite what the article states, permits are already required to remove significant fossils and the bill calls for codification of existing rules that allow for hobby collection of fossils.

It would be nice if the author of the article first read the legislation and pointed out these things himself. Just as much as it would have been nice if Rep. Salazar had read it (or understood it)….or if the editor of the paper had checked the facts of the story. Is this to much to ask??

So, instead of just bitching about this here, I decided to try and do something. I wrote the author and pointed out the mistakes/misinformation/misrepresentations, sent him a copy of the legislation, and suggested several paleontologist who are very knowledgeable about the bill that he could speak to if he would like to pursue the story. His response was “Thanks” and a ‘my bad’ on the “…Indians lands provision in the bill.” I appreciate his acknowledgment of my letter. I hope he will take the time to address these issues in print. I will also be sending a letter to the editor (since my phone call was not returned). If you would like to do the same, you can find his contact information here. [edit - the managing editor contacted me this morning (Wednesday) and we had a nice conversation about the bill, the problems with the story, ect.. and she said they would make corrections]

A lot of hard work has gone into getting this bill where it is now. It would be sad to see bad press and misinterpretations of the facts keep this bill from passing though the House. I really want to encourage anyone interested in paleo to please read this bill!! If you can not reach it at this link, please let me know and I will email a PDF of the information to you. It will be so much better if we are all informed about the facts and can tell others the details.

I hope the work of anti-paleo-bill lobbyist does not pay off. My *sources* tell me that there is a large group of paleontology enthusiast and paleontologist who (for reasons incomprehensible to me) want to keep this bill from passing. As far as I can tell from public comments, it has to do with a lack of understanding for what the bill is going to do [see my previous post on this for the details]. Lets hope that having money for heavy duty lobbying also does not derail this bill. I encourage you to write your congressperson and ask them to support this bill!

Thanks for reading!

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster