24 April 2008
GSA Release No. 08-20
History and Innovation: The Diverse Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
Boulder, CO, USA – The significance of the Florissant fossil beds has been widely recognized for more than a century. A new book from the Geological Society of America unearths a wealth of information on the area and is a must-have for geoscientists and national monument enthusiasts alike.
Fossils reflecting more than 1700 species of plants, insects, spiders, fish, and mammals make Florissant, Colorado, USA, one of the world's greatest paleontological sites. Combine that with the Thirtynine Mile volcanic center; an ancient lake, stream, and floodplain system; and a petrified redwood forest, and you have a location sure to excite the imagination and inspire minds, young and old, toward understanding and discovery. The Florissant area has drawn visitors and scientists for more than 130 years.
Editors Herbert W. Meyer, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument’s park paleontologist, and Dena M. Smith, the University of Colorado’s invertebrate paleontologist, explain that the "breadth of the papers in this volume not only illustrates the importance of Florissant, but shows how this site continues to contribute to our understanding of paleoecology, macroevolution, and taphonomy."
Chapters in Paleontology of the Upper Eocene Florissant Formation, Colorado, cover
* A detailed account of the history of fossil studies at the site, from the 1870s to today
* Microbial mats and the remarkable preservation of fossils in lacustrine shale
* Climate and ecosystem interactions and similarities with modern forests
* Fossil spider identification by comparison to more than 200 spiders living today
* Interactions between plants and insects in the fossil record
* A summary of the site's mammalian fauna, including new occurrences of rodents and small herbivorous mammals
* Examinations of the Petrified Forest, which preserves some of the largest-diameter fossilized trees in the world, along with conservation strategies
* Efforts toward creation of a new database to inventory the fossils and synthesize data about their taxonomy.
This volume is partially generated from a 2004 GSA Annual Meeting special topical session and field trip, and it reports many of the newest advances in our understanding of Florissant during the past decade.
Individual copies may be purchased through the Geological Society of America online bookstore
or by contacting GSA Sales and Service,
Book editors of earth science journals/publications may request a review copy by contacting Jeanette Hammann,
Paleontology of the Upper Eocene Florissant Formation, Colorado
Herbert W. Meyer and Dena M. Smith (editors)
Geological Society of America Special Paper 435
2008, 177 pages, US$60, GSA member price US$42