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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
( August 3, 1998)
DAUGHTER OF FLEMINGTON RESIDENTS DIGS FOR FOSSILS WITH SOUTH DAKOTA PALEONTOLOGISTS AT “ BIG PIG DIG” IN BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK
Christian Maloney Cicimurri, a graduate student at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology ( SDSM& T) in Rapid City, South Dakota, is spending her summer digging for 33- million year old fossil mammals at a site known as the “ Big Pig Dig” in Badlands National Park. Chris, who is pursuing her Master of Science degree in vertebrate paleontology at SDSM& T, is the daughter of Lyn and Bob Liesch of Flemington, NJ.
A partnership between the National Park Service ( NPS) and the SDSM& T Museum of Geology, the “ Big Pig Dig” is funded by Canon Corporation��s “ Expedition into the Parks” program and NPS fee demonstration funds. Canon Corporation recently donated $ 50,000 to Badlands National Park to excavate the unique fossil site and to foster public education about the importance of preserving the valuable fossil resources in the park.
Over 5,000 fossil bones have been removed from the site, which researchers have concluded was a watering hole over 33 million years ago for early pig- like mammals, rhinos, horses and deer- like mammals. Over 26 individual animals have been found at the site to date. Two graduate theses and several scientific reports have been published based on field work at the Big Pig Dig site.
After excavating and mapping the location of each fossil, Kathy and her fellow SDSM& T researchers jacket each specimen with tissue paper, plaster and burlap. The specimen jackets are then carefully transported to the SDSM& T Museum of Geology, where they are prepared and curated.
“ I was hired to work at the Big Pig Dig site the crew supervisor for SDSM& T,” said Cicimurri in describing her participation in the field dig. “ I have obtained good experience in learning how to run a quarry site.”
Each summer SDSM& T’s field paleontology program attracts students, teachers and others from across the nation. The public can participate on a limited, space- available basis. To obtain additional information about SDSM& T’s field paleo program, individuals should contact Dr. Philip Bjork, SDSM& T Museum of Geology, at 1- 800- 544- 8162, ext. 2467, or via email: pbjork@ msmailgw. sdsmt. edu.
Photo Caption: Christian Cicimurri ( foreground) works with her SDSM& T colleagues in excavating 33- million year old fossil mammals at the Big Pig Dig site in Badlands National Park. The field excavation is a partnership between the National Park Service and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City, South Dakota. ( Photo Courtesy of SDSM& T University & Public Relations)
( i: univ\ pressrele\ 0898\ Big Pig Dig Flemington NJ)
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