Teacher, J. Carpenter, Authors Articles about Discoveries from a Virginia Fossil Site Dating Back 50+ Million Years Ago

Mr. Jeffery Carpenter coauthored two articles and cited as a contributor to a third. All three articles are about discoveries from a Virginia fossil site called the Fisher/Sullivan site which is located in the Nanjemoy formation. The Nanjemoy formation is the accumulation of sand and mud on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean 53 million years ago. The Earth was so warm there were no polar ice caps and the Atlantic came up to the fall line or roughly I-95. The site is about 5 miles east of the fall line, so it would have been off shore. Mostly, you find marine animals, but occasionally you find terrestrial animals, birds or fresh water animals as is the case with two of these discoveries.

The first article was published in Volume 27 of the Northeastern Naturalist and titled “Bony-Tongue Fishes (Teleostei: Osteoglossomorpha) from the Eocene Nanjemoy formation Virginia” By Dr. Eric J. Hilton (VIMS) and Jeffrey Carpenter. It discusses the discovery of a bone called a parasphenoid, like the roof of the mouth, from a fresh water fish similar to a modern day arowana.

The other two articles were published in Volume XI of The Mosasaur: The Journal of the Delaware Valley Paleontological Society. The article I co-authored was titled “An additional Bird Fossil from the Fisher/Sullivan site, Eocene of Virginia” by Jeffrey Carpenter and Dave Parris. It discusses a bird bone called a tarsometatarsal that I did not discover but identified as a significant bird bone. It belonged to an early stem form of parrot called a Pseudasturides.

The article I contributed to was titled “Additions to the bonyfish fauna from the early Eocene Nanjemoy formation of Maryland and Virginia” by Dr. Robert Weems. Among many other things it discusses the left half of an upper jaw of a marine fish I discovered. It is the first record of the family Velifer (Sailfin Moonfish) in the Western Hemisphere.