Summer Peccary Trip Collects Hundreds of Fossils
The Webb Schools’ Summer Peccary Trip expedition returned Saturday, August 6, after a two-week journey through Utah and Wyoming to explore our planet’s past. The 22 students and Webb/Alf Museum team collected hundreds of fossils that will provide new insights into the animals and plants of Wyoming between 90 and 80 million years ago.
“Students also experienced the unique bonding of days on the road, in the field, camp cooking, national park vistas and everything else that makes these Peccary Trips so special,” Alf Museum Director Dr. Andy Farke said.
Trip highlights included searches through anthills for tiny bones and teeth, with students braving the sun and “bity ants” to find tiny fossil mammal teeth, shark teeth and more.
The Webb team was joined for two days by researchers from the University of Michigan, in the start of a collaborative project to better understand the age and prehistoric environments of the rocks within which the fossils are found.
“It was great for our Webbies to see the cooperative nature of science in action – and how critical geology is to understanding our world,” Farke said.
Andy Fu ’23 made an exciting discovery of a new site with lots of dinosaur bones, teeth, and other surprises. He also found an incredible tyrannosaur tooth.
The team collected many, many fossils from a site in the Frontier Formation outside of Cody, Wyoming – an area that has never been documented previously in the scientific literature. The fossils will be studied by students in Webb’s Honors Museum Research and Advanced Studies in Paleontology classes.
“On the camp life side, our food was amazing,” Farke said. “The classes took turns prepping our evening meals and we had everything from breakfast burritos to burgers.”
Farke said other milestones included campfire singalongs, introducing students to the joys of Taco John’s Potato Olés and spotting pronghorn in the distance.
Alf Museum and Webb staff – including Will Allan, Olivia Calvi, Billie Guerrero, Bailey Jorgensen, Mairin Balisi and Jared Heuck – joined the team as fieldwork professionals, logistics coordinators and more.
Students on the trip included: 10th-graders (Class of 2025): Kenny Clay; Frannie Hinch; Luke Smith; Hector E. Vargas; Christina Young; 11th-graders (Class of 2024): Emily Berg; Perry Bush; Oliver Butcher; Priscilla Centeno; Annie Han; Ray Kan; Jackie Shugert; Dayun Suh; 12th-graders (Class of 2023): Alfonso Alvarez-Seara; Emilia Bordage; Jonah Canty; Riley Fass; Andy Fu; Valeria Gonzalez; Aidan Helgeson; Zac Wang; and Terrence Wu.
Webb’s fossil digs were conducted under permit from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management-Wyoming. The fossils collected will be housed in the Alf Museum’s collections, where they will be available for study by outside researchers, Alf Museum scientists and Webb students.