A recent area of focus in terms of fieldwork has been the fantastic sequence of strata in the Laguna del Laja area of Chile. These rocks, which are set against a backdrop of a beautiful lake and a picturesque volcano, preserve a diverse array of mammal fossils. We have collected several hundred specimens from the area during our four years of fieldwork there, many of them excellently preserved. We published an overview of this fauna in 2008 and are now in the process of describing various components in greater detail. Based on the many radiometric dates we have obtained for Laguna del Laja, this remarkable region records at least five different time slices during the Miocene epoch that range from about 20 million to 10 million years in age. A PhD student at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Dan Luna, studied the endemic ungulates of this site (mainly interathere and hegetothere notoungulates) for his thesis and presented an abstract on this research in 2013. We hope to publish the results of his investigations in the near future.
For more information see:
- Flynn, J.J., R. Charrier, D.A. Croft, P.B. Gans, T.M. Heriott, J.A. Wertheim & A.R. Wyss. 2008. Chronologic implications of new Miocene mammals from the Cura-Mallín and Trapa Trapa formations, Laguna del Laja region, south central Chile. Journal of South American Earth Sciences 26(4):412-423.
- Shockey, B.J., J.J. Flynn, D.A. Croft, P. Gans & A.R. Wyss. 2012. New leontiniid Notoungulata (Mammalia) from Chile and Argentina: comparative anatomy, character analysis, and phylogenetic hypotheses. American Museum Novitates 3737:1-64