Earth Sciences in Angola

A graduate student and a postdoctoral researcher in SMU’s Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, along with Professor Louis L. Jacobs, are conducting research in Angola in southern Africa during summer 2012. They are members of an international scientific program called the PaleoAngola Project, which seeks to discover and study Angola’s vertebrate paleontology and learn about the environment in which prehistoric creatures lived. Readers also can follow their work at

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A run-in with modern-day mammals

An update from Scott and Ricardo:

One of the baby rats we removed from behind the glovebox

As we were driving into Cabinda City this morning to make arrangements for our flight back to Luanda on Wednesday, Ricardo noticed that the ownership and insurance documents for the rental truck were missing from the glovebox. We immediately returned to search our rooms, but we soon discovered that our friendly local rodents had built a nest behind the glovebox on top of the AC filter.

Scott donned latex gloves and pulled a mess of shredded paper, plant debris, bones and plastic bags from inside the dashboard, as well as three baby mice. Luckily, the rental documents survived relatively intact. This explains why the car smelled less than fresh when we turned on the AC. Now we drive with the windows down instead.

We finally finished measuring the stratigraphy to the north of Malembo Point, and we managed to correlate the rocks we measured today with those at the more northern localities. The stratigraphic measurements are more or less done at this point, and we plan to spend our last day in the field tomorrow collecting more fossils from the Malembo locality in the hopes of finding more mammal material.

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