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Summer Paleontology Field Classes

GEOL 120: Paleontology Field Discovery (4 credit hours)

Excavating Fossils from the Triassic, the “Dawn of the Age of Dinosaurs,” in New Mexico.

June 7-11, 2021
July 26-30, 2021

Cost: $750 includes:

  • Full tuition and college fees
  • Use of tools and field materials
  • Transport to and from the excavation site
  • Lunch and beverages through the day
  • Reception party
  • Barbecue dinner
The field classes take place in the Redonda Formation dating from 200 Million years ago (the late Triassic Period) in an area approximately 25 miles from Tucumcari. Participants will search for vertebrate fossils from the “Dawn of the Age of Dinosaurs,” record all pertinent data, excavate finds, begin examining, cleaning, and assembling finds in the lab. The area of exploration is one of only a few locations in the Southwest that have yielded abundant remains of vertebrates from the Late Triassic time period, just before  a mass extinction wiped out several lineages of the then dominant reptiles on Earth and paved the way for the subsequent 130 million year reign of the dinosaurs.
Previous field class participants have recovered numerous fossils in the field area, including two skulls of the crocodile-like phytosaur Redondasaurus, armor plates and postcrania from a new heavily armored aetosaur, remains of a large predatory rauisuchian, and several hip and limb bones of one of the earliest dinosaurs. The class kicks off with a reception party at the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum on Sunday evening. The following week participants will drive to the field site in the early morning and return to the paleontology lab for a variety of museum tasks in the afternoon. Customized digs for organized groups may also be arranged.