Elmer’s first fossil, #1001

I recently spent a week at Chicago’s Field Museum looking through historic photographs and fossils from the Captain Marshall Field Paleontological Expedition to Argentina and Bolivia, 1922-1927. Together with Sergio Vizcaino, an Argentine paleontologist who specializes in fossil mammals, and Bill Simpson, Collection Manager, I looked at every fossil collected by Elmer S. Riggs & his colleagues in the Santa Cruz beds of southern Patagonia. We found many gems, including field number 1001, the first fossil collected by Riggs and recorded in his field notes.

Elmer's first fossil, a distal left tarsometatarsus of Psilopterus australis collected at Killik Aike. Photo courtesy of Bill Simpson.
Elmer’s first fossil, a distal left tarsometatarsus of Psilopterus australis collected at Killik Aike. Photo courtesy of Bill Simpson.

Sergio also took a picture of me with Elmer’s first fossil.

A bird in the hand....
A bird in the hand….