Welcome to the Dallas Paleo Website

The Dallas Paleontological Society was founded in 1984 for the purpose of promoting interest in and knowledge of the science of paleontology.  It was intended by the founding members that the Society would be a network for the exchange of data between professionals and serious amateurs in this field.

Next Meeting: July 13th Speaker Bill Morgan, and Mark McKinzie

Two Authors For the Price of One!

The DPS will meet at 7:30 pm on July 13th at Brookhaven College Geotechnology Institute, Building H on Brookhaven College.  Mark McKinzie, geologist and long time DPS member, will give a short mini-presentation on “Collecting Paw Paw Formation Decapods”.  Mark is an author of several books well known to DPS members, including Fossil Collector's Guidebook to the North Sulphur River (DPS Occasional Papers volume 4, with Ron Morin and Ed Swiatovy) and Pennsylvanian Fossils of North Texas (DPS Occasional Papers volume 6, with John McCloud).



             Mark McKinzie                                                             Bill Morgan             

For the main presentation, Bill Morgan will speak on "Texas Cretaceous Echinoids".  Bill Morgan has been a member of the DPS since 1985.  Although he could not attend monthly meetings, people may recognize him from Fossilmania, which he chaired from 1993 through 2010 (except for 3 years), and still oversees the table reservations.  Bill holds a PhD in anatomy and physiology from Indiana University in Bloomington, and was a neuroscientist and teacher at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio for over 40 years until he retired in 2011.  Since then he has authored two books - Collector's Guide to Crawfordsville Crinoids and Collector’s Guide to Texas Cretaceous Echinoids.  The latter will be very useful to collectors of the Texas Cretaceous, with excellent color photographs and a thorough explanation of the anatomy and distinguishing characteristics of echinoids.  In his book Bill recognizes fewer distinct species, resulting in a simplified classification.

Bill will have his echinoid book (as well as a few of his Crawfordsville books) available for sale at the meeting.  Mark's books are already for sale through the society and online.  Don't miss this chance to learn from these two knowledgeable authors, obtain their books, and perhaps get your copies signed!  Meetings are always free, fun, and open to the public.  Everyone is encouraged to bring their echinoid (and other) finds for identification and admiration.



           Location of Brookhaven                                         College Map of Campus

         Click Here for Enlarged Map                                 Click Here for Enlarged Map

Coming in July from our friend Bill Morgan

Coming June 2016 Collector’s Guide to Texas Cretaceous Echinoids provides Texas Cretaceous Echinoid enthusiasts the tools to identify and understand these abundant rich fossils.

With much of the scientific literature decades old, Collector's Guide to Texas Cretaceous Echinoids will be of interest to the beginner or advanced collector as well as the new student of invertebrate paleontology who seeks detailed and up-to-date insight into the morphology, classification, and identification of Cretaceous age echinoids. The abundance, quality of preservation, and aesthetic ornamentation of these fossils make them widely sought after by collectors and paleontologists alike.

Readers are given a brief description of the climatic events believed responsible for the formation of these marine deposits followed by an introduction to the morphology and biology of echinoids including the unique features which separate regular from irregular forms.  

Key features:

  • ·       More than 350 high-quality color photographs, many featuring major profiles of each species
  • ·       Glossary of key terms; new terms are bolded in text and brief definitions provided in first appearance
  • ·       Extensive bibliography provided for those seeking deeper research

About the Author: William W. Morgan holds a PhD in anatomy and physiology from Indiana University in Bloomington. For forty years he was a neuroscientist and a teacher in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, where he was a professor from 1981 until his retirement in 2011. Morgan is the author of Collector's Guide to Crawfordsville Crinoids.

Arriving in bookstores June 2016--Preorder your copy today at http://www.schifferbooks.com or call 1-610-573-1777 to speak to a customer service representative.

Exquisite wings encased in amber are some of the best bird fossils ever found

By Sarah Kaplan June 28 at 12:00 PM Washington Post

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: A compound microscope images shows interlocking barbs and barbules on the bird’s flight feathers. A view of a feather suspended in amber. A fossilized skin flap shows the follicles where feathers insert into the flesh. the leading edge of one wing, including the tiny claw at the wing-tip. (RSM/ R.C. McKellar)

It was like nothing Ryan McKellar had ever seen.

Two tiny bird wings were encased in amber. They were 99 million years old, but they looked as though they could take flight any minute: delicate bones were arched in the middle of the wings and branched into fingers at the wing tips; a network of veins was woven through the preserved flesh; every barb of every feather was visible in the rich, brown plumage. In his whole career working with creatures caught for millennia in amber, no bird specimen ever stood out like this.

"It gives us all the details we could hope for," said McKellar, a who is curator of invertebrate paleontology at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Canada. "It's the next best thing to having the animal in your hand."

An analysis of the two fossils conducted by McKellar and his colleagues was published in the journal Nature Communications on Tuesday. They are the best remains of Cretaceous wings scientists have ever found, and they offer some surprising insights into the lives of these ancient animals, as well as the evolution of the birds we know today.

That's important, because traditional fossils from ancient birds are few and far between. Because bird bones are hollow, they don't mineralize very well. And feathers almost never survive the fossilization process. Most of what we know about prehistoric feathers comes from other amber fossils, but usually those contain single feathers, which don't mean much out of the context of the creature they belonged to.

Compound microscope image of barbule pigmentation in the fossilized bird feathers. (RSM/ R.C. McKellar)

The two new specimens, which were discovered in amber extracted from mines in Burma, illuminate details that scientists don't often get to see. They include the network of veins that supply the fleshy part of the wing, the follicles where feathers attach to the flesh, the pigmentation of the feathers, the complicated microstructures called barbs that "zip" flight feathers together so they stay firm and perfectly arranged.

The owners of these wings were members of an extinct group of hummingbird-size creatures called Enantiornithes. Coming along about a third of the way through bird history (the earliest avialan, which includes birds and bird-like dinosaurs, lived about 160 million years ago) these fossils show that the Enantiornithes were already far more similar to their modern bird relatives than to their dinosaur ancestors. The last vestiges of their reptilian origins are teeth in their beaks and claws at their wing tips.

An artist's reconstruction of a Enantiornithine partially ensnared by tree resin, based on the "angel wing" specimen. (Chung-tat Cheung)An artist's reconstruction of a Enantiornithine partially ensnared by tree resin. (Chung-tat Cheung)

The wings reveal another key difference between Enantiorithes and modern birds — something that paleontologists had a hunch about but haven't been able to prove until now: Enantiornithes were born basically fully developed.

"They were coming out of the egg with feathers that looked like flight feathers, claws at the end of their wing," McKellar said. "It basically implies they were able to function without their parents very early on."

By comparison, "modern birds are lucky if they're born with their eyes open" he joked. Most birds are born naked and utterly helpless. Even "precocial" creatures — ones that are able to move around almost immediately after hatching — come out of the egg with fluffy down feathers that eventually molt and are replaced by the feathers needed for flight.

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"But we're not seeing any signs of molting in these specimens," McKellar said, "which suggests that may have been a secondary development in modern birds; it happened later in evolutionary time."

The owners of the amber-encased wings probably died when their feathers caught in the resin, or not long after. Their species would live another 33 million years, until the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs killed them off as well.

But their wing tips would survive, along with the amber that contained them. Their discovery is entirely thanks to the substance's incredible preservative powers. It starts as sticky resin, which injured trees secrete to stop insects from boring into them or bacteria from invading. It's intensely acidic, so it dries things out quickly, and potently anti-microbial. And it polymerizes as it ages, changing from a sap-like substance into what McKellar calls "nature's plastic."

"It basically seals things in" he said. "Like a time capsule."

Join us now

Come and join us for a great time at our next meeting, and click below to become a member.  Individual and Family memberships are available, and kids can participate in the PIT Crew (Paleontogists In Training).


Buy DPS Books Online

You can now buy books from the DPS online by clicking the "Store" button on the navigation bar at the top of this page.  If you buy online, and we ship the books to you home you will have a shipping charge and tax.  If you buy the book at a meeting, you will not have to pay the shipping fee or tax.  Check out this new service.

Estate Sale of Fossils June 19th a Success


6/19/16  Longtime DPS member Jimmy Green’s fossil estate sale was a complete success and EVERYTHING was sold by this afternoon. His widow Karen would like to personally thank everyone who came out today and took time from their Father’s Day holiday to make a purchase. Thank you all!

Be the Dinosaur

Step into the world of 65 million+ years ago and "Be the DinosaurTM" in Grapevine from June 3 - September 18 in the Grand Gallery.

"Be the DinosaurTM" is a groundbreaking fusion of state-of-the-art video game technology and traditional exhibits, featuring full-size dinosaur bones, a paleontology field station, a Safari Jeep and more. Visitors of all ages can enter into the largest and most complex restoration of an extinct ecosystem ever created.

Visitors will be able to see a complex and far-reaching restoration of dinosaurs that include some amazing features. 

For More Info Click Here

DPS now has a YouTube Channel

Go Here and click on the Youtube channel and then subscribe to see all the videos we post on Youtube.  Thanks to Kathryn Zornig who is now handling our social media.

About Us and Our Monthly Meetings

The Dallas Paleontological Society normally meets the second Wednesday of every month at 7:30 PM at Brookhaven College, unless we have something special happening that month. Please check our Calendar for exact dates.  Come meet with us, hear a speaker, learn about paleontology, and bring your unidentified fossils and unique finds to share with the group.  You will be welcome, and we will enjoy meeting you. Beware of big words!  For a map of our meeting location Click Here.


Questions For DPS?

If You have any questions about the Dallas Paleo Society feel free to:

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SVP 2016 October 26-29 In Salt Lake City

The PIT Crew

The Paleontologists In Training is a program of the DPS that is open to kids from age 7 to 15.  If you are interested in fossils, want to have fun on field trips, and like learning about our beautiful world, come join us at one of our meetings, or field trips.  You will find it educational, and fun at the same time!

For more information, Click the link here or click the link under the home page called "For Kids - The Pit Crew" , to see policies, upcoming events, announcements, and how to sign up to take advantage of this new program.

Upcoming events

Who we are

The DPS is a group of professional and amateur paleontologists that want to exchange information, interact, and continue their education in paleontology.  We meet once a month on the second Wednesday evening of the month at Brookhaven College, Building H.

What we do

If you have a question, if you have a fossil that you cannot identify, or need a site investigation, contact the Fossil Bureau of Investigation for help.

Contact Us at 817-355-4693 or send an email to rffarish@verizon.net.


Why join us

We have fun.

We learn stuff.

We go cool places.

We find interesting things.

We make new friends.

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