Primitive Sharks and Advanced Ammonites: Permian and Cretaceous Paleontology Fieldwork

Raised of $900 Goal
Ended on 11/27/17
Campaign Ended
  • $59
  • 7%
  • Finished
    on 11/27/17

About This Project

David Peterman and I are both Paleontologists who work field sites on private property in northern Texas. My research is focused on marine shark communities of the early Permian Period, while he is working primarily on Cretaceous Ammonites. We hope to visit a pair of sites that we have been to before at least one last time before exploring other localities elsewhere in the United States.

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What is the context of this research?

My locality ultimately fits into a study that should provide global insight into the evolution of marine vertebrate communities during the early Permian. This locality is crucial to that understanding in that it unifies sites in Russia, and in Bolivia.

The locality Dave is interested in exploring should provide samples that will help him to better understand and analyze the various types of shell ornamentation used by ammonites and how ornamentation affected the ability of the shell to move though the water. He is also interested in understanding the broad scale macroevolution of this group and their shells.

What is the significance of this project?

My research should help to illuminate marine fish communities from a period of time that is significant in that it is both poorly studied, and crucial in our understanding of the evolution of later marine faunas for the next 200 million years.

David's research outline the tools for understanding the hydrodynamics of ammonites, as well as other ammonite relatives, and if successful should provide future researchers with the tools to analyze the biomechanics of over a thousand fossil species whose movements though the ocean are still debated.

What are the goals of the project?

In the Permian, my goal is to do one final survey of the site, and bulk sample for microfossils at a few crucial layers. In the Cretaceous, Dave is hoping to collect specimens for study, as well as develop an understanding of the stratigraphy and depositional events which led to the accumulation of marine fossils at the site.


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As Ph.D candidates, we both own our own tools for this project and are fairly used to self funding research and collection trips. Having this round of research funded externally will allow us to move farther north during our next found of summer field work- which would open up new sites to future study, as well as expand the scope of both of our projects.

Endorsed by

Little is known about the Permian marine communities of Texas and their regional correlation/significance. This research has implications to better understand these fauna that are paramount to the evolution of vertebrates and seem to have a unique biogeographic history. The funding goal is quite cheap considering the amount of work to be done. Ryan Shell is well-qualified for this project due to his detailed research on this subject for the past three years.

Project Timeline

We hope to complete this field work sometime before mid February of 2018, thus freeing up the summer field season for us to explore new localities in the Western Interior Seaway. We will probably leave from Wright State in early 2018, however this will all be heavily dependent on local weather conditions.

Oct 13, 2017

Project Launched

Feb 03, 2018

Arrive in Texas to begin fieldwork

Meet the Team

Ryan Shell
Ryan Shell
Ph.D Candidate


Wright State University
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Ryan Shell

I originally graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2013, with a small paper in Dinosaur tracks. I've since moved my focus to marine vertebrates, and am working on manuscripts to that effect at Wright State University, where I am in the 3rd year of my Ph.D. program.

Project Backers

  • 4Backers
  • 7%Funded
  • $59Total Donations
  • $14.75Average Donation
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