MVZ Herp Group 50th Anniversary Seminar

It’s a special night and we’re really
pleased to see such a wonderful turnout. You see so many friends. unfortunately
there are a lot of people who want to be here but couldnt be here. We’ll say more about them in a few minutes. This is the 50th anniversary of Herp Group. Marvalee and i started Herp Group in our lower basement. (Marvalee: at the first it was upstairs the living room) Oh that’s right. It was in the living room then moved on to the basement. When we arrived from Chicago in the fall of 1969, Berkeley was still on the quarter system. And we didn’t start until just about the
1st of October and as a result we didn’t start we didn’t start Herp Group till
about two weeks in so this is almost exactly the fiftieth year it was modeled
on something that we did at Chicago where Marbley and I were at different
universities and we had a group we arrived at Berkeley we discovered there
were a lot of herpetologists around who didn’t even know each other and some of
them did weird interacting there were no such things as lab group things
as a result people didn’t have much to bring them together and so we because
everybody was problem oriented in their own ways that was not the issue the
issue was how could we get people who were working on the same animals from
many different perspectives they come together and the first year we would
meet weekly we did meet weekly for oh I suppose 10 years George George George and then he has retired he’s still here Lissa Miller
fellow as well post doc balls he went on to very distinguished career
in very courageous Andres is now at Caltech
Todd is not Villanova and we’ve got people here who receive instruction from
table at Villanova and our back brother phd’s here there she is can go ballet who was was here on
sabbatical and I wasn’t here 1969 know these mainly and ichthyological
paleontologists but also a herpetologist colleague he thinks of himself as arisen non right partner he’s here tonight because Tom in part
because he was a member of Tom’s dr. alchemy and Kent Lightfoot professor of
anthropology who is nominate your professors who thing is back for Nick and Rayna Bell Randall was here as an
undergraduate now she’s back in the area bouncing been a longtime associate museum Brenda so ology were delighted to
have you here in Bob to see editor for theological review and very well known
to her put out what justice around the world
dan Edwards another person does know 25 here in the museum is here from UC
Merced so I’m sure I’ve forgotten many but
those are people who I know right especially wanted to know it and we will
give you long now few items business we’re we have a full program for their
true a week from tonight it’s our next chair group and then we have another one
in two weeks or two weeks F for that and that’s the one that Cal Academy I know
it’s Cal account is two weeks after that so we have three coming up including one
at Cal Academy and we’ll deal with the issues transportation and things like
that the Cal Academy later all right so it’s on to a moment my history of
herpetology and I’m gonna turn not to Ted Pappas versus a way it can’t be here
tonight unfortunately but to Marvel a cool organizer affair group for all
these years and still I actually have the pleasure of giving you several small
moments in history in this case the history of her group when we sent out
the announcement we encouraged people to tell us if they wished what they
remembered about her group and some people did and some of them are
hysterical but first I’d like to say that several people responded and of
course weren’t able to come that they sent there with us tonight in spirit
these are Richard Worcester sue and Eric Lombard tell you more about Eric in a
moment Steve Ireland who’s only leaving for Peru towards the end of
the week Jim Hanken Javier Rodriguez Brad Schaeffer John Losos Aaron Bauer
who noted that his first her group was 37 years ago ray huey who’s backpacking
in ethiopia hey Jana Shawn cook though Craig Moritz Laurie Klosterman Rachel
Mueller indigo Martina Solano Paul Elias Dave Blackburn
Robert Kaplan Mary Somerville Matias stop Chris nighter Martin and Julie
feeders both sent some memories just wait
Gloria worse and a number of others but let me just give you a few of the
memories that people present it first tell you Eric Lombards he claimed the
title and found a graduate student with Wasser say he and Richard came to
Berkeley went Dave and me as States graduate students they both got their
degrees from Chicago and Eric made the point that he carried the group concept
with him and transferred it to Chicago in another guise he formed a group that
became the evolutionary morphology group in Chicago in the mid-1970s and that
group continues to this day and it’s run by the Committee on
evolutionary biology at Chicago Jim Hanken who finished in the late 1970s
had three memories to offer the first one Reina cover your ears
what he was when someone was working with Al Leviton at Cal Academy he
presented the real results of his morphometric study of some species he
wanted to discuss the results of a linear regression analysis of two
variables it was in the early days of computers well before camp packages like
our or even SPSS and a Levitan who is regarded as the Calkins computer expert
had written the program to perform and display linear regression analysis and
the student had used it for his data the time for him came for him to show his
results and he clicked the projector to show the data slide there was the
regression of course but instead of a straight line there was an extended about 10 minutes for the laughter and we
decided to dress as a research animals mine weak attempt to come as a aureus
involved a large sombrero and other Mexican hopeful Dahmer garments but the
hands-down winner was Ted pappenphus who came as a by piece marked of an empty
Clorox bottle of plastic fashion as his head and he used oversized asbestos
gloves to be the hands any facet of fibers and he fastened them had his neck
they were used in the electrophoresis labs
picking out pot beakers and Jim says that was truly inspiring another
extremely memorable moment that night was Leigh van Valen who was visiting
Virginia my Arana singing is dinosaur extinction song solo an acapella Brad Shafer goddess bachelors here at
Berkeley but it was a regular attendee of her group as well he says he began
going at 1975 and he certainly remembers he says vividly individual meetings by
Ray Huey Bob Drew’s dick heightened among others many others
Nancy stove says I have many fond memories of herb group that’s where I
first met David Hillis that’s all she says I was very nervous but have fun
later talking about something the need is flabby contagious behavior taking
bets about which salamander we prevail in agonistic encounters Sean Koopa I miss her proof and mvz very much I
also miss California and I still dream about ensatina and about human levels of
humidity he’s at Ohio now and outstanding affordable burritos Loree Klosterman who was my student in
the mid 70s presented several favorite recollections of her group the young
simon joining in she says parentheses lucky Tom the
special feeling fortunate privilege of having and fun of having a gathering for
real science but on a casual basis with professors and guests and her third
memory is Ted pappenphus just deadness David dardo who completed his PhD in
1988 as memories of her true hoping my 1967 Impala station wagon would make it
up the hill to your house the gathering downstairs in front of the pool table to
Dave tapping on something to call things to order as he attempted to bike my
first term was a mere 39 years ago fond memories
Julie feeder has a great one thanks so much but for me the meeting that stands
out most clearly is when Sam sweet eight-toed legs that I had carefully
scanned and sauteed with butter and garlic in your kitchen when Ted
pappenphus of course put us on to the possibility of hybridization or isn’t
contagious that Darwin Falls and Martin and I went out there and came back with
some putative hydrants Sam was skeptical going so far as to say if that’s a
hybrid I’ll eat it come proof taught me two things and this
one I’m afraid some of you youngsters won’t even have a
context for when the speaker shows up an hour late with four old carousels of
slides be aware how to feign pleasure when sampling a disgusting wine learned
from we wanted to have an appropriate speaker at the beginning
witness Tom gave his first paper a jerk this is about finding that office
we used to have very informal earth groups and people talked about noise
from the field gave observations of what they’ve been doing what’s going on just
dealing quick notes you saw this and when he saw it when he found a diagnosis
on his way home from school he decided he wanted to give a report he
was 7 he later gave some other reports as well including one that he reminded
me the night is still unpublished and yesterday Tom got his PhD here at
Berkeley in the Department of Anthropology working with direction of
campus right foot enzo archaeology and he’s been the UCLA now we’re number of
years he’s no director this archeological research lab and tonight
he’s going to tell us about his work in California I can proudly say I attended
my first group 50 years ago because I was there to see some amazing things
related to her group at my parents house we’ve been Valen stomping around with
his Saurus quite impressive talking to
Stephen Jay Gould about baseball in our living room
also and there plenty of others and you know Pitts cashy wine from horrible but
what I’d like to do today is first thank all of you for coming out and thanks for
having me up to address you it’s a real pleasure and an honor for me and brings
back a whole lot of memories I mean I grew up here in Berkeley I grew up in
this museum I remember running around in the museum before was remodeled getting
under everybody’s toes you know asking questions all the time being out in the
field was great I remember specifically being able to capture lots of
salamanders with my nimble little fingers high energy to the point of
where I would orbit Sam sweet as he would pull over a big log or a rock you
know little kid and Sam’s big yeah lots of fun memories growing up here in the
museum going to high school around here and what i do at UCLA there’s an
outgrowth of when I studied with Kent Lightfoot and can’t go away over the
years too I focus on zoom archaeology you might
ask what is no archaeology are yellow archaeology as I see it is the study of
all animal remains under large umbrella all animal remains that come from
archaeological sites and there’s an important caveat here that bears on
today not necessarily all the bones you find at an archaeological site are
culturally significant in archaeological terms as being sources of foodstuffs
some are important in ritual medicine healing perhaps but it’s it’s hard to
pin down those things most so archaeologists focus on meat
contributions hunting practices resource depression changed her time as maybe
technology relates to the animals that show up at site and I do all that it’s
extremely interesting to me and I like to include ethnographic information
information concerning identity culture culture change and many of my studies
and I’ve you know I my dissertation was at Fort Ross looking at mammal vaults
primarily mammal remain that we excavated over several years
there and Jim and can’t sign my dissertation so I guess it was okay and
one of the you know so I’ve really you know since I’m born and raised
Californian I believe blue and gold I cannot help but be interested in things
California vertebrate zoology ecology California ecosystems are all really
really important to me and I find them fascinating
I have branched out I work in the Neotropics also I’m a research associate
at stri in Panama and I have a long term field project at sitio drago and isla
cologne in Bocas del Toro Panama let’s just I’ll leave you with this image
it’s archeology on the beach and that’s but what I want to focus on today are
results from no archaeological analysis that I’ve conducted at UCLA over the
over the years from archaeological contract analyses or research-based
programs basically people send me collections of bone all types and I’ve
learned I phoned up a lot of money osteology
and I can I feel confident about identifying good Finnish amphibians
reptiles birds and mammals in California in some tropics – not to brag sometimes
it drives me crazy but one of the things that really
interests me is the remains that are not culturally important they’re still there
and I see those as along with the culturally relevant or important
economically important specimens in these assemblages I see those as
representing the Holocene fossil record with a distinct difference in
archaeological sites the the bones are primarily mitigated brought to the site
collected added to the site by humans as part of their subsistence practices
their hunting practices but they’re also these sites also tend to capture local
vertebrates that are on the landscape as well and they get included in the fossil
record so one drum I’ve been beating a lot
lately in terms of conservation biology the biological research is that zoo
archaeological assemblages represent the Holocene fossil record which hasn’t been
paid much attention to yet although it’s becoming more and more important as we
start thinking about the Anthropocene climate change and actions that humans
have had on past environments through the holes as an outgrowth of that archaeological analysis I also began to
pick up paleontological analyses contracts as well because I was
interested and I felt I had to expertise and I wanted to take a look at
Pleistocene Late Pleistocene my in California as well and compare those
two policy microphones again looking for
distributional changes okay the climatic reconstruction and and
so on and so what I want to talk about today are a combination of results from
archaeological analysis and Late Pleistocene analyses seen through a view
of the kind of information that these analysis can provide for biological
conservation reasons first of all I’d like to dedicate this talk to my very
recently deceased friend mentor and colleague for over 30 years
Dwight Simon’s he was one of these guys that knew everything about California
archaeology and I think he would have really enjoyed this talk so it’s really I’m going to talk about seven sites
throughout California five in Southern California see if the laser pointer
works and don’t look at the laser pointer there’s a site at Huntington
Beach which I have published on in 2009 but it got a bunch more material from
its late pleistocene there’s another late pleistocene site here in Chino
Hills I want to talk about then archaeological site at Malibu SBA 53
right in downtown Santa Barbara and then a youngest site which is a real hole
Essene fossil site from the Avenal Creek branch on State Route 41 I also want to
talk about a couple of Northern California sites the famous Emeryville
shellmound Alameda 309 and the Castroville mammoth
site which is these are all quite interesting I’d first like to talk about
the Huntington Beach site or la cm7 679 basically it’s right here right
literally right on the beach this is a sin and a river as it scandalized now
but the Santa Ana River contributed to the development of these estuaries
through the Pleistocene off and on as the the river meanders back and forth
coastal plane zooming in we’re talking about specific city block when I was
there and got to see it as it was being excavated this entire block was there’s
some oil pumpers still there it had been sold and there were rolling kind of back
beach dudes there it looked like a beachfront to me and everyone was there
there was an archaeological site here there were a few burials they better be
buried but they’re also several organic lenses dark soil in these sand dunes
that were pretty compacted and looked promising for paleontology and my friend
colleague and mentor who also recently passed away the spring mark rotor sent
me the remains from Pacific City and a bunch of other sites that I’ll mention
for analysis because you know he was great with fish there’s a excellent fish
analyst and he knew I could handle things with lakes and just for a bit
more perspective this is the Huntington Beach Pier this is Pacific City that’s
where this site lives and these are Santa make the Santa Ana Mountains in
the background so the assemblage from this site dates greater than 48,000
years ago its Rancho Lybrand in period it’s a extinct fauna
associated with it include Memphis bison and Equus there is a paper out waken
rotor to 9 in quaternary research that reports
the first phase of analysis and as I said these samples were from dark
organic soil lenses in stabilized sandy dunes in quote in recent mitigation has
added another 1,200 specimens to the list so now I’ve been able to identify
44 general 31 species representing 32 families in this late pleistocene
microphone they’re three freshwater fish represented three salamanders three
neurons for lizards seven snakes ten Birds and sixteen mammals this is an
extraordinarily rich and diverse it replaced the seen micro funnel
assemblage there are few like it in Southern California the as far as I know
in terms of Rancho Lybrand time phase the only more diverse
assemblage is found at the targets and that’s way more the freshwater fish
found in these these soils include the Arroyo chub ela orchid I three-spined
stickleback which is URI Haley really and caught us a spurt fairly common in
Southern California coastal creeks fishes the salamanders encounter right
at the beach in these dunes include vitreous EPs probably major
Vanitas lugubrious in the first quaternary fossil record for in Cetina
chalta and I was fiddling around with interest
in distributions and what do these locations mean and here’s something from
amphibia web and berkeley mapper showing in blue dots actual collected specimens
in MVC and I guess elsewhere that are on record the oranges expected range for
needies lugubrious and some of these records are a little anomalous but the
red triangle represents Huntington Beach where you could put an e DS on the beach
and I you know if I were more creative I could have come up with an animated
picture of an e DS and portraits on it but that’s that’s related so and I you
know I’m going to show a couple other maps like this to kind of emphasize what
I’m trying to say that it’s part of the Pleistocene and Holocene fossil record
these kinds of sites can add distributional data to our current
understanding of the ranges of these species there were three endurance I’ve been
told it’s okay to say Bufo boria’s ensued a Kris cieariy hypochondriac I
guess but they’re all present in pretty good numbers especially sudeikis so here
is a dense data slide showing the 2009 assemblage and then two additional civil
engines that were sent to me totaling fourteen hundred and fifty nine
Hertz represented you know sticklebacks and the Royal chumps are fairly well
represented the most common salamander is an e DS lugubrious
there’s also ensatina in betray Cosette totes Rana lots and lots of sooo
dangerous and then also a good representation of various lizards
including anniela Bulgaria the usual suspects and a nice representation of
snakes as well including small ones big ones
and some rattlesnake and also some pond turtle as well which surprise surprise
leads me to infer that fifty thousand years ago this area this this this
deposit was a riparian zone in oak chaparral savanna somewhere of course
the the shoreline was probably a few miles further to the west and would have
come up and down because 50,000 years ago was the last interglacial period
for hours so it may the site may exist because the sea level never rose past
that and a redditor the way I don’t know I’m not a geologist or ecologist I can’t
say but I found the Herpetological diversity stunning
they’re also birds clapper rails Abba sets ducks SEO I mean these are all represented
again you know hitting it riparian zones in oak savanna and chaparral things and
the birds include clapper rails and assets so waterfowl are the most common
and then sparrows and other such creatures as well and I have a myth
respect for David Stedman because he he does this that’s what he does he’s an
avian paleontologists Pleistocene policy and
trying to figure out Sparrow distal ulna is hard but there are similarities that
you can pull apart and I don’t know how he does it that does it but this is as
far as I can get now one other interesting thing about
Pacific cities fauna is that there are a lot of mammals including these guys I
outside of cave sites and sample sites that were might be bat roosts I haven’t
identified bats from any archaeological sites and as far as I know they’re
fairly rare and Late Pleistocene paleontological sites – and identified
– Paris trellis mandibles it looks like a desire or another really interesting
thing about this site is the small rodents there’s a pair of Nathan’s
there’s dip Adobe’s probably Angeles in their budget chipmunk teeth and here is
where I could come up with another nice anime of Alvin in board shorts on the
beach with his brothers because they’re chipmunks Beach I do not know which
species they represent but they’re all bowlers so I should come here and look
baby yeah they’re small yeah but so there’s there’s Chipmunks and
salamanders at the beach here’s a list of all the mammals pretty diverse
mamillus image and for those of you who are interested in these data I’m happy
to show or share later I know they can be a bit tedious so I’d like to move on
to another late pleistocene site that dates to about 40,000 years ago called
the rp2 site in chino hills’ it was a storm sewer mitigation project where
they did paleo monitoring they found large extinct fauna bison and Equus and
decided to do soil sampling and that’s where these microphone has come from our
soil samples bulk samples that are washed through fine mesh screens down to
at least point five millimeters and from the rp2 site I was able to identify 15
Gendron of 13 species represent 12 families including one
freshwater fish – salamanders five neurons three lizards and five snakes so
these are the Chino Hills and the the sewer improvements were along here on 57 so all right it’s in a canyon
so probably the right period zone this is what Chino Hills State Park looks
like on the very best day and some of the suspects that we found include Bufo
Boreas Rana great 9 tariqa Carosa fam nofas probably had to die but maybe not
and act enemies or Western pond turtles when I’m at the locality and the
collected specimens versus expected range for three Kota Rossa this is the
map that that came out and the thing I find intriguing is that my dad and I
checked out a couple of these records here in the basin they seemed anomalous
maybe miss Matt because the directions and localities didn’t jive and there’s
this gap between you know Santa Ana Mountains tarika and what st. Gabriel
Mountains tree can and Santa Monica Mountains Trika and chino hills’
specimens sit right in there I don’t know I don’t there there are no records
of tarika from Chino Hills don’t open the last record could be from
but at least we have we can place them there in their expected range at 40,000
years ago again this is a species list they’re 864
perps and a couple fish include fish because I like fish I like to analyze
fish and my friend mentor and colleague Ken go bleh is here and he’s a fish
person not merely a fish paleontologist morphologist and also an archaeologist
because he has identified lots and lots of fish fish assemblages from
archeological sites to the thing that stands out here is the 223 two specimens
I haven’t really identified tarika from any other archeological sites or
paleontological sites in the state other than this one and they are they dominate
and again this this assemblage looks to me like something not unexpected from
the chino hills’ may be oak savannah open grassland and chaparral complex
along bordering a riparian zone now I’d like to move to another late
pleistocene micro faunal site that’s two components and this is often commonly
referred to as the Castroville mammoth site which is actually right here
microfauna site is here a little higher and for those of you who know the giant
artichoke is right here very important place memories we would go there when I
was a kid in Castroville and get deep fried artichoke hearts and we did that
last what the spring and the discovery of the Castroville
manifold was due to happenstance and hinged on natural science education of
the farm owner’s son who was supervising grading operations and noticed that one
of the craters Clank to get something and scraped something and scraped up a
mammoth tooth right and he knew what it was and he knew its importance and
convinced his dad to allow him to call my friend and colleague mark hill comma
district Ranger for California state parks in the area to come down and take
a look at it and Mark came out and it was a big to-do in 2008 a bunch of
people from Foothill College and Santa Cruz and other places converged to
excavate the mammoth and the mammoth is really quite incredible I mean it’s it’s
probably a washed in mammoth of course all the archaeologists were hoping for a
Clovis point sticking out of the mammoth to you but that didn’t happen
but there were other extinct Pleistocene megafauna and it’s a good sample of
mammoths and the matrix that it was in is fine silt and the preservation is so
good that they were able to collect mammoth hair okay so and the things you
can do now with hair are amazing and so the samples of mammoth hair are still
available locked away in a cold safe somewhere in Marc’s basement so I heard about this at the SaaS when
they were in Sacramento and said my of course me Bibi I was like who cares
about a mammoth tiny balls yeah they’re sick yeah yeah come on down so it came
down I had my daughter with me she got to excavate a mammoth in a little pink
dress with she was before so that was awesome
and when I was there rummaging around looking at the site I walked up the
grade a little ways to the mammoth is found here up this great and it’s hard
to see but there’s there’s a rides here and this is a kind of a side cut and
they cut it back to expand this road to give it a better grade and so on and one
of the things I noticed it was shells wait a minute there’s shells it’s sandy
it’s kind of that clean sand that I saw out at the fair meet landfill before and
I went the shells and alarm started going off so I scooped up some matrix
and I found some bones in the matrix ran down and said I wanted as many sand bags
as you can I filled up a bunch of sand bags and then next day the next a week
later we drove up and excavated on one by one unit through this layer which is
stratigraphically below the bloody soap layer that the mammoth flies it so again
this is right along the San Andreas Fault in the Pajaro Salinas River system
and a lot of these low sand hills where they grow amazing artichokes are you know they’re folded and full and
Ford but there’s a really good stratigraphic sequence I hope somebody
drew it of this wall and it turns out that I was able to date an oyster shell
to twenty nine thousand nine hundred which is you know clearly
stratigraphically different stratigraphic unit below the mammoth and
that made march sad because he’s like it’s a different strand of graphic unit
the mammoth could be fourteen thousand years old so actually i have a chunk of
bone being run by Brandon iana at the tech lab at Irvine using new techniques
that might be able to get some collagen out of this mammoth bone some might be
able to directly date the middle and I’m hoping that it comes back fourteen
thousand with hair in I’ll convince mark to read up and NSF grant who knows but the thing that really got
me excited was the matrix and the diversity of these materials and what
did I do once I extracted fish bones I sent them
to Kingo belay who identified three freshwater fish in what looks like
primarily an estuarine assemblage that probably contains washing material you
know high-energy washing that hit some client and then it became Laura G and
all these bones and shells and things deposited right there
but there’s Dooley perch thick tail chub and Sacramento sucker here and these are
all fish that ken has identified earlier in the Papa Rosalina strange from
archaeological sites as well there are a lot of salamanders here all of these are
represented Bini these Niger many lugubrious Petrecca subs and and Tina
Schultz I and I you know playing with with mapper I decided to look at the
collected range of banana bees Niger and then drop in this twenty nine thousand
year old record for Annie’s Niger which is in a flat and well close to the Nick
point but in these rolling hills fairly well out of what is normally considered
the forested preferred habitat of Aditi’s Niger caveat isn’t these bones
were probably washed in from higher I and these are data tables begin the fish
material identified by Ken Doble includes marine yuri hailing and
freshwater fish most of the shells are small Easter’s
clams mud drilling clams and other things that are upper estuary there are
also a wealth of ostracods forums as well and I’d love if anybody I’d love to
find someone who liked to look at ostracods because I’ve got great samples
that are dated and there’s a diverse array of ostracods I feel confident that I was able to
differentiate needies Niger sari from lugubrious
because I found caudal vertebrae of both and compared directly to both species
and found that combo vertebrae of enimies Niger not having a prehensile
tail do not have all the flaring bone and muscle attachments that you would
expect to see and he used lugubrious red lyrium
tail and that’s what I based the different cages and you know there
plenty of perks plenty of mammals and one of the things I want to do is go
back to the site and get more larger bulk samples because this is from about
a cubic meter or maybe a meter and a half of sediment so again the site is
very rich and it’s still there so now I’d like to switch into the
Holocene in the archaeological realm and talk about herps in particular from the
Henryville shellmound how many of you know where the
Henryville shell mount is good quite a few it’s under the IKEA store that’s
where it is now and Emeryville shellmound
is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the western US without a doubt
if not the world this is what the shell mouth looked like in nineteen three that
large heap was leveled and a covered dance floor
the bar was put on top of it for people to come dance by the bay and of course
all of this is all archaeological too but this is a very impressive shell heat
was what at least 30 feet high if not higher maybe 50 feet at its peak before
it’s begun chopped off but this Shell mound
accreted over several thousand years and contained not only habitation debris but
also graves burials of literally hundreds of boulogne people and some kid
Lightfoot’s researchers shown or illustrated that
these coastal shell mounds were certainly central places places of
reference places of where you could anchor your identity where your
ancestors are buried and you know very important features on the landscape
filled with archaeological data and this is right by famous kelp Creek
it must have been a wonderful place to live you know they Bayfront thousand
years ago I mean I’m not gonna wax romantic it wouldn’t been difficult but
there were certainly a lot of resources at the time in unpolluted Bay filled
with sturgeon same sea otters yeah Emeryville shellmound is also known for
being the first real stratigraphic archaeological excavation in north
america if I’m not wrong although I guess Thomas Jefferson drew lines on
some of his maps max EULA dug a big hole in nineteen three and actually drew
these lines in through the stratigraphic and kept that data and paid attention to
the artifacts as they relate into the stratigraphy in the site and was really
the father of modern stratigraphic oriented archaeology in North America
having studied against Warsaw in Europe and this is
what ultimately happened to the Emeryville shellmound in 1924 it was
steam shovel levelled and the soil was screened and sold as garden soil which
explains to me my conundrums as high schooler doing yard work in the Berkeley
Hills when I would find these bits of so you know patches in backyards that had
shale speckles in them what’s going on here but there was a cottage industry
where people would come out and screen all the rocks and junk and not that I
mean it’s junk human remains mortars spearheads pestles tired of facts and
buy sell and trade those and then package up this fantastic soil for yard
soya and you can full row brown and prevent and since
they put a paint factory on it the material I got to analyze which was
excavated in 1999 was excavated by crews wearing full hazmat suits with what in
half thousand respirators they were all hazwoper trained because there’s COBOL
led acid all the stuff in that soil and even with the levelled mound I think
close to 200 human interments were found in terms of the overall purpose template
and again this is this is where I want to focus on not so much the
archaeological aspects of follow remains but the non economically important the
small things the local things that represent the local environment I there
are 14 general and 10 species of hurts representing nine families not including
nine freshwater anatomist fish eight general Evan species for families to
salamander three turns to lizards five snakes and just to show the this this is
an example of analysis of trends over time of economically important animals
at the Emeryville shellmound these are probably the most common large sources
of man man of mammalian meat at the site broken down into these time periods with
bunny rabbits harbor seals canis still unsure whether it’s coyotes or dogs
black hill deer and sea otters and sea otters represent a large proportion
early on of mammal remains and then there’s this
radical change around between 1,500 and 1,300 years ago that times closely jack
brabham and i disagree about a hundred years or so but I suspect this may hint
at a change in hunting technology with arrows send you back bows shown up as
opposed to atlatl darts which may have increased hunting efficiency for deer as
opposed to sea otter and you see deer take off Jack thinks that people were
accessing unused space in the East Bay but this was at a time of demographic
expansion and I would venture to guess that there wasn’t a whole lot of unused
or unoccupied or unknown or uncontrolled space so my argument is technologically
but that’s another talk right this is where the Emeryville shell mound is
right now notice shell mouth street you can go along the railroad tracks here
and still find shells if you look hard enough trying to cover it all but it’s
still there lots of people drive by that everyday now Kim Doble again identified along
with Kelly Hardin identified the fish remains from the 1999 samples at the
Emeryville shellmound and you know it’s it’s Bayfront right so
they’re going to be a lot of marine fish there were but they’re also a lot of
more sensitive than a dermis fish and freshwater fish but included in this
assemblage and it’s important to remember how amazing San Francisco Bay
must have been a thousand years ago in terms of an enormous fish resources
migratory waterfowl and bird resources there were elk here there were pronghorn
here and there were lots of deer sea otters armor seals few sea lions mer and
cormorant rookeries and all the islands there were a lot of sturgeon that were
identified in Henryville and sturgeon are really really nice their caviar is
very nice they’re large tasty fish that provide a lot of meat to an assemblage
and Kate is responsible for these numbers
and they’re fantastic numbers two species of sturgeon represented and then
other than that in this fish of course includes salmon silver salmon steelhead
and king salmon again at large numbers but there are also freshwater fish
represented which makes me wonder if these were caught in local area creeks
or represents maybe a freshwater fish gone up for timís concrete or coder
nieces Creek or Strawberry Creek and the freshwater fish identified include
Sacramento perch Sacramento pike minnow Sacramento split tail thick tail chub
hitch in Sacramento sucker all in low numbers but they’re all represented and these are what they look like split
tail Sacramento perch thick tail chub hitch Sacramento sucker and Sacramento in terms of hers these are the denizens
none of which I would particularly not expect to be here and I wonder also
about abandonment of the shell mount were people always on it or were oak
trees could trees have grown over a period of time it’s it’s hard to say
maybe these creatures came in naturally or with firewood or what-have-you but
they’re all present Ron Aurora and Cetina the Schultz I was an top together
roof laborious meetings lugubrious and Sudeikis are all present and here’s the
numerical data slide one thing I want to point out is that you can see the number
of units these are excavation units some of which
are a couple meters deep that I identified and that these data came out
of and really if they’re very these Herpetological remains are rare in these
archaeological assemblages and Henryville we only have the assemblage
that we do because such a great volume of material was excavated from the site
so as a result of that huge sample we’re able to get at least kind of a hint of
the archaeological diversity at Emory I’d like to briefly stop just inland
from Goleta Slough in downtown Santa Barbara SBA 53 which is a business park
project in the center of town into 2015 and the fine screening at this site
produced 12 Jenner and 10 species of perps representing nine families with
salamander and frog five lizard and five snakes this is a location of the rough
approximate location as base 53 up above and there are two centimeters actually no no no I didn’t find any trace depth
here but I needed some goobers is represented Western pond turtles with a
Boreas these are the data numbers what Andy these five Bufo few puncture holes
surprising number of lizards for this small sample size and several snakes uh we’re almost done I want to talk
about two more sites one which I just had the pleasure of analyzing two years
ago which it was a sample from the site of who Molly wolf or Malibu probably the
largest chiefly village in the Chumash world at the eastern border of their
territory basically Malibu Creek in the Malibu
village site demarcate close to fluid cultural boundary between two banished
and pamba in the LA basin now this site is right on highway 1 a Coast Highway
Pacific Coast Highway it was excavated when the highway was originally expanded
in 1965 again in 1985 and then a part of the site was I was excavated in 2018 to
maintain one of the historic structures a lath house on the site and I would
like to add that this is one of those large mounded coastal shell mounds not
as big as Emeryville but you can actually see the rise when you’re
traveling along PCH and look ocean word of the highway in excavations in 1965
produced one currently protected species the 1985 excavations produced two
currently protected species and the sample I analyzed from 2018 produced
seven currently protected species and this doesn’t have a whole lot to do with
change and protection law it really points up the differential recovery of
this sample related to fine screen sizes and that’s one thing I can’t emphasize
enough all of these samples that I was able
identify were screened through a bare minimum three millimeter mesh most of
them through one millimeter measure and most the archaeological standard in
California throughout much of North America is three millimeter mesh but now
people are at least taking column samples to run through finer mesh
screens to do flotation analysis and collect plant remains in the
standardized fashion but also the heavy fraction you find these these small
bones and you know I’ve heard this mantra it’s been beaten into my head
since grad school days in order to excavate an archeological site you
destroyed so what you do is irreplaceable and I would like to see I
would like to try to promote more fine grained analysis of the sediments that
come out of the ground but again it’s cost prohibitive in terms of budgets
time interest you give me the budget I’ll make the time I have the interest but there’s a lot of utility to doing
this especially now as extinction rates are climbing we have climate change to
deal with and humans are expanding across the landscape the Holocene fossil
record in the Late Pleistocene fossil record offers a real window into micro
vertebrate distribution in California and everywhere now the site this is
Malibu Creek Malibu estuary the site that this was excavated from here this
is Malibu shell mound there’s a house there
let’s be strengthened so it comes from right here one of the interesting things
about Malibu Creek is that it’s one of the most southerly my correct ten
steelhead runs native steelhead runs in the state at least they’re probably some
in Orange County maybe oh we found didn’t you find bones
in San Diego County yeah I found four trout like Libre and the San Diego River
yeah so it kids been working on distribution
and paleo distributions of someone that’s in California for quite a while
which as we know are declining it used to be much more prevalent in the state
and an important food source there’s a dam about here that was placed in put in
a 1925 or so that basically stopped at a steelhead run there is historic
references to great steelhead fishing in Malibu Creek and there’s photos and
accounts of people going up to the dam to go steelhead fishing because it was
great the steelhead would concentrate there because they couldn’t go any
farther and some still did breed in the lower reaches of the creek but can’t
looked at fish remains from up in Melville Creek State Park some some
sites there and that had some steel in them and lo and behold and going through
these sediments a few trout honker incus might just
probably vertebra along with Rhonda Drayton I action Emmys Marv Bharata and
trying to soma blades align a couple diagnostic head bones these are all
protected species certainly California another protected species I found in the
assemblage is this guy a short-tailed albatross they’re represented here as
our southern fur seals in California sea otters and some of the park biologists
in velvet Creek State Park were enthused with some of these results in terms of
you know they can add these findings to some of their reports in terms of
conservation and management programs saying yeah we’ve got old records
psychologically dated records of red legged frogs and even further support
for steelhead in Malibu Creek and one of the big projects that people are really
pushing for now is to remove that dam because it’s silted up completely in his
you know is worthless other than there’s a real push to take that Dan down let
the stream flow naturally with the hope that still haven’t run come back and
steelhead are coming back into the lower reaches quite regularly I’d like to finish up with a site the
Avenal Creek Bridge site that was part of the state route 41 expansion and
improvement project that was managed by Bob Reynolds we might have come to a
hurt group or two I suppose college student here and this assemblage
comes from Avenel Creek this right here is a high enough resolution but this is
about where the creek the state route 41 crosses over Avenel Creek which drains
this section amount and this is part so you see these from highway 5 often the
distance to the west this assemblage dates to 946 years ago
from a direct radiocarbon date on charcoal just prior to the medieval
climatic anomaly in California and the materials here include 28 species three
general they represent 18 families including two freshwater fish salamander
two endurance seven lizards seven snakes eleven mammals and four currently
protected species the fish from a banal Creek include Sacramento perch and hitch
not unexpected but nice to know they’re there I haven’t checked to see if there
are records of these fish from matanov Creek I’m not sure we can do that the
amphibians include Anita’s lugubrious which appears to be in almost every
assemblage look at in California span Hammond died in Bufo Laureus and I went
to mapper again and I’m at collected range or known records of Anita’s
lugubrious on to an expected range of Anita’s lugubrious and the red triangle
represents the needy specimen from Avenel Creek right at the edge of its
expected range but nowhere close to any known records so I would argue that now
you have a known record at the edge of its expected range
substantiating that border other specimens we found or identified include
can’t be alias isla currently very very protected as well as dip Toby’s engines
it was these bones were dibadeaux Me’s and they were giant so I
identified them as the giant kangaroo rat bigger than any others and then a
low ground squirrel as well and these are numbers the there’s some interesting
things about this site that I’d like to wax on for a little bit not too much
the herp diversity especially the reptile diversity in this collection is
really high and these are fluidly deposited sediments that probably hit a
low energy area swirled and settled just happened to be right where the bridge
abutment what’s going to be included the two fish the opinions but quite a few
lizards aired lizards and snakes some less common snakes
archaeologically like hip Selena Rhino kylus but over 200 horned lizard bones and also lots of pocket mice rodents and
things and one thing I noticed about this assemblage a lot of the board
lizard bumps some of the snake bones many of the rodent bones were charred or
kal signed or burned and that kind of flipped a switch and you know a dim
light bulb flickered over my head and went this really looks like something
that could support an inference of a post catastrophic wildfire rain washout
event where you have a a wild fire that burns aggressively over the ground and
kills everything that can’t run faster than it and interestingly enough this
past spring I led an archeological survey class in Santa Monica Mountains
in the Wolsey burn zone doing post fire survey and one thing I noticed in all I
pointed out to all the students were these burnt carcasses of wood rats small
mammals rattlesnakes gopher snakes we found cooked in yella
cooked elk area and so on and that really kind of run this Bell for me even
harder and so you finds like this I are at least a data point or something that
can be discussed in terms of California wildlife wildfire history and effects on
wildlife that aren’t often touched on because people don’t often look at the
micro as opposed to the macro phone and want
to emphasize that none of these assemblages would have been collected
were it not for California Environmental Quality Act California public resources
Code and NEPA National Historic Preservation Act section 106 36 CFR 800
all these environmental laws that were enacted and are under assault now I’d
like to thank you for your kind attention let’s take a few questions
yep since it’s 50 years ago Tandi I guess yes fine when you you just miss a
lot of these herps is not important not culturally important now when you get a
unusual site like the one with MIDI tarika they might have been used for
something well there’s an important distinction here and that has to do with
dating and time of those sites the pleistocene sites that I looked at I’m
convinced are not archeological so they’re Pleistocene fossil record
naturally you know naturally deposited fossil record like the site I just
talked about in the sense of a natural curry Fluval fossil deposit But
notwithstanding archeologists though archeologists do often dismiss animals
that are not the important meat animals as not economically significant and I
mentioned at the beginning there is growing evidence for use of non
economically significant animals in terms of ritual healing in medicine that
is just not very considered by so archeologists there have been a few
studies on use of turtles as turtle shells as rattles certainly rattles in
California yes so you you said that there were anti yellow that were burnt
up guard we we found two IDI the accretive State Park and over on a sear
just burnt good family soil but they just have been killed in a fire or I
think they were killed by they work like ceremonially yes with the archeological
sites micro fauna which is really great
salamanders etc today some of those people part of the actual harvesting of
other species that they’re going after you know admits and other things like
that they’re they’re being brought back into the site’s history there are kind
of part of that whole process they could represent by a catch it wouldn’t
surprise me if it is friend legged frogs were consumed because you know frogs are
yummy now and there’s other things when you think about ethnographic record of
Medicine and ritual in California there are various kinds of poisoning their
various kinds of medicinal treatments and the people who lived here for
thousands of years I’m sure at least some of them were acquainted with the
behaviors of some of these animals toes in Cetina tarika are both tarik
especially very toxic and can kill people
it’s a Tina I mean I know people who’ve seen it in the field but they exude a
stinky Elmer’s glue like toxic substance that is known to seal the jaws of their
a predator fam know if it’s the garter snake close so they they can’t open them
and there’s also a poison so it wouldn’t surprise me if some of these animals
could have been used in some kind of ritual medicinal way just the
ethnographic evidence is scant but if you look at other groups in their use of
these kinds of animals it does occur yes I’m just thinking
about that was wondering if there have been any efforts or going on – there’s
not enough that goes on but but in particular has been working a lot with
local indigenous California groups I try when I can I work with with some to
manage in some time with people and since I do some consulting for them and
and I’m constantly trying to reach out to people in terms of you know offering
this kind of isn’t this cool kind of casual approach look at these weird
things we would have thunk that I found that to be somewhat effective UCLA we
have an open house every year and I also presented to school groups sometimes and
give public presentations around Southern California and I hoped my
enthusiasm is infectious yes that’s something that really
interests me is especially the pleistocene material is looking at you
know for example chipmunks at Huntington Beach why why and I was I would point to
climate perturbations and a different climatic regime at that time but by
getting more data especially on small animals that are affected differently by
climate than large animals we can get a finer-grained understanding of past
climate fluctuations in California and what that might mean for past
distribution of animals and one particularly important theme is
a medieval climatic anomaly in California where around what 1300 ad
1200 ad there were severe droughts severe climatic perturbation such that
many ciarán lakes have what 10 to 20 feet underwater groves of stumps that
represent a hundred year old trees which is indicative of severe drought and
radical decline in water availability and there other inferences you can make
from that may be temperature exposure what have you but there’s there is data
available if we look for it concerning our most recent mega drought
that can certainly inform us for the coming mega drought all right thank you very much DOM and
thank you all for being here tonight help us celebrate the fifties an
outsider to this group since I study things with Iran the thing should go to
view and Marbley for starting this yeah here here

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