Fossil Lake - Death to Discovery

How the amazing fossils of Wyoming’s Fossil Lake came to be.

July 2nd (Tuesday), 6 p.m., Teton Co. Library Auditorium – Open to Public. Presentation: “Death to Discovery: How the amazing fossils of  Wyoming’s Fossil Lake came to be, Presented by Arvid Aase, US Park Service.

Fossil fish from Fossil Lake are collected, prepared and sold around the world. The specimens that enter the commercial fossil trade are usually beautiful specimens that look as though a photograph was applied to a rock. This collection bias gives the false impression that all fossils found in Fossil Lake are perfectly articulated, perfectly well preserved. The story, as told by the rocks and the fossils they contain, is much more complicated. Taphonomy, from Greek meaning law of the grave, refers to what happens to an organism after it dies until it no longer exists. In Fossil Lake, taphonomic processes, while not completely understood, hint at complex factors remaining stable for tens of thousands of years, being interrupted and then stabilizing again to preserve fossils for many more thousands of years. Each time this cycle repeats the fossils have a distinctly different character. Not all fossils were created equal, during this presentation you will see the good, the bad and the ugly (and a smattering of the exquisite).