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Field Experience with Fossils

Sara Oser has studied paleontology as an undergraduate at UC. Paleontology is the study of what fossils tell us about environments and ecologies of the past, and UC’s paleontology program is ranked No. 6 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

As a UC student, Sara conducted important field work in Cincinnati, in Montana and even as far away as Mongolia.

  • At the Mother’s Day dinosaur site in Montana, Sara carried out an independent project to document the limb bones of sauropods. In the process, she confirmed evidence to challenge the prevailing view that the site was a place where dinosaurs became mired in what was once a muddy, shrinking waterhole. Instead, she confirmed evidence that portions of dinosaur skeletons from 150 million years ago washed up in the area due to debris flows.
  • In the Shine Jinst region of Mongolia, Sara was able to conduct first-hand comparisons between the geology of that region to the fossil-rich geology of Cincinnati. She identified small- and large-scale sea-level changes recorded in 450 million-year-old rock strata. What Sara helped determine was that the materials and development of the earth in this region of Mongolia was primarily formed by periodic, global changes in sea level, with some instances of tectonic activity. In this regard, this area of Mongolia is like Cincinnati, where global changes in sea level influenced the rocks which formed.

  • Near her hometown of Harrison, Ohio, Sara worked to measure fractures in the rock, help with research to determine if the corduroy terrain (linear hill formations) was formed by glaciers or by the structural influence of the very gentle uplift (known as the Cincinnati Arch) that came about due to the rise of the Great Smokey and Blue Ridge mountains. The findings from this work should be published in the near future. Faculty that Sara worked with on this research are David Nash, professor of geology, and the late Kees DeJong, professor of geology.

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  • Ashley Kempher, videographer and editor
  • Travis Estell, website editor
  • Kelly Rossberg, narrator

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