A Century of Fossil Discovery and Research at Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon has a remarkable 160-year history of fossil research. The Utah Geological Association in cooperation with the National Park Service sheds considerable light on that research in a new 343-page document (463 pages including appendices) comprising 13 articles – listed below (Figure 1). The manuscript was edited by Vincent L. Santucci and Justin S. Tweet, both of the U.S. National Park Service.
In her foreword Jeanne A. Calhoun’s (Division Chief, Science & Resource Management, Grand Canyon National Park) summarizes the text brilliantly, “A series of experts presents the inventory of life in the canyon’s fossil record, from the very earliest life forms starting around 1.25 billion years ago in the Precambrian era (stromatolites and microfossils), through explosions of ancient life, punctuated by extinction events, in the Paleozoic era from the Cambrian (~541–485 million years ago) up into the Permian (~270 million years ago), as seen by the diversity of fossils (trilobites, brachiopods, mollusks, corals, fish, sharks, horsetails, seed ferns, clubmosses, conifers) preserved in these rocks.”
For those interested in fossil lifeforms this is an excellent book loaded with details and insights into the paleontology of Grand Canyon National Park and the broader Colorado Plateau. The manuscript is available online for viewing or download at the Utah Geological Association. Printed copies are not yet available.
Vince Santucci lays the groundwork in the first article, ‘The Paleontological Heritage of Grand Canyon National Park’. Earle E. Spamer synopsizes paleontological research at Grand Canyon from the Ives Expedition of 1857 to 2019. Tim Connors and others document the stratigraphy of the Park (Figure 2). The Precambrian paleontology is aptly described by Justin Tweet. Paleozoic-age fossils are treated in 5 articles, congruent with the abundance of fossiliferous Paleozoic strata. There is a chapter on Mesozoic paleontology by Adam Marsh and others, and a chapter by Jim Mead and others on Pleistocene/Holocene cave fossils.
Appendices A, B, C, and D - comprising 62 pages sandwiched between p. 104 and 105 - detail fossil finds from Paleozoic units documented by select museums (e.g., Grand Canyon National Park Museum) and from the paleontological literature. The final 76 pages includes a compilation of Grand Canyon National Park paleontological supplemental information.
Contents: Titles, Author(s) and Page Numbers
(Note: appendices total nearly 100 pages but are not included in the Table of Contents.)
- The Paleontological Heritage of Grand Canyon National Park, Vincent L. Santucci 1-10
- History of Paleontological Work At Grand Canyon National Park—Up and Down the Long Federal and Ngo Trails of Paleontology in Grand Canyon National Park, 1858–2019, Earle E. Spamer 11-32
- Stratigraphy of Grand Canyon National Park, Timothy B. Connors, Justin S. Tweet, and Vincent L. Santucci 33-54
- Precambrian Paleontology of Grand Canyon National Park, Justin S. Tweet 55-72
- Paleozoic Invertebrate Paleontology of Grand Canyon National Park, Linda Sue Lassiter, Justin S. Tweet, Frederick A. Sundberg, John R. Foster, and P. J. Bergman 73-104
- Paleozoic Vertebrate Paleontology of Grand Canyon National Park—Research History, Resources, and Potential, John-Paul Michael Hodnett and David Kenneth Elliott 105-118
- Paleozoic Paleobotany of Grand Canyon National Park, Cassi Knight 119-130
- Paleozoic Invertebrate Ichnology of Grand Canyon National Park, Anne E. Miller, Lorenzo Marchetti, Heitor Francischini, and Spencer G. Lucas 131-170
- Paleozoic Vertebrate Ichnology of Grand Canyon National Park, Lorenzo Marchetti, Heitor Francischini, Spencer G. Lucas, Sebastian Voigt, Adrian P. Hunt, and Vincent L. Santucci 171-204
- Mesozoic Paleontology of Grand Canyon National Park—Trace Fossils, Stratigraphy, and Regional Correlations, Adam D. Marsh, William G. Parker, And Anne E. Miller 205-220
- Pleistocene/Holocene Cave Fossils from Grand Canyon National Park—Ice Age (Pleistocene) Flora, Fauna, Environments, and Climate of the Grand Canyon, Arizona, Jim I. Mead, Justin S. Tweet, Vincent L. Santucci, Benjamin Tobin, Carol L. Chambers, Shawn C. Thomas, and Mary C. Carpenter 221-240
- Grand Canyon National Park Paleontological Resources Management and Protection, Diana Boudreau, Vincent Santucci, Klara Widrig, Mark Nebel, Anne Miller, Ronnie Colvin, Kim Besom and Colleen Hyde 241-266
- Grand Canyon National Park Paleontological Supplemental Information, Complied by Vincent L. Santucci and Justin Tweet 267-343
Citation: Santucci, V.L., and Tweet, J.S., editors, 2021. Grand Canyon National Park Centennial Paleontological Resources Inventory — A Century of Fossil Discovery and Research: Utah Geological Association Special Publication 1, 343 p.