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Paleontologist Nyborg provides museum lecture on Saturday

What appears to be just an arid wasteland of desert sage, creosote and an abundant assortment of flora on the Mojave Desert floor, Death Valley National Park and surrounding areas, contains a veritable treasure trove of historical artifacts that would stir the interest of nearly every paleontologist on the planet.

That fact was never lost on Dr. Torrey Nyborg from Loma Linda University.

Nyborg is tomorrow’s guest speaker for the Pahrump Historical Museum’s lecture series.

Museum Director Marilyn Davis said Nyborg’s fundamental research interests are in paleontology, sedimentology and the stratigraphy of depositional environments.

“His current research is focused on the paleontology of Death Valley and the surrounding area,” she said. “Dr. Nyborg will be speaking about the fossil vertebrate tracks of Death Valley National Park, including birds, cats, dogs, camels and mastodons.”

Davis noted that surprisingly, not a lot of people who live the area are familiar with the abundance and diversity of mammal and bird tracks within the park.

“The tracks suggest a large animal population existed in Death Valley eons ago,” she said. “Ongoing research looking at the mammal and bird track diversity will enable a better understanding of the animal populations in Death Valley.”

After receiving his undergraduate degree, Nyborg spent time with geologists in the park program, where he gathered Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) points for the fossil track locations in Death Valley National Park.

His PhD research focused on a lake deposit in the park that preserved 1,800 meters of lake sediment containing a rich record of mammal and bird tracks.

Tomorrow’s lecture is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Admission is free.

The Pahrump Valley Historical Museum is located at 401 East Basin Avenue, just west of Highway 160.

For additional information contact the museum at 775-751-1970.

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