Over 100 years ago, the first report was made of 30-40 myo vertebrate fossils located in the Gravelly Range of southwest Montana at sites up to 10,000 feet in elevation . The first collection was made in the late 1940s by a crew from the Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) at Harvard University. In the 1980s, Malcolm McKenna ’48 and others representing the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York also made important collections in the Gravelly Range.
However, almost all of these specimens were never studied.
About 15 years ago. McKenna told Alf Museum Director Don Lofgren about the area, and in 2016, Gravelly Range mammals became a research project for Webb students in the Advanced Studies in Paleontology (ASIP) course. Many additional specimens were collected by summer crews that included Webb students & alumni, and museum trustees. These fossils and specimens borrowed from the MCZ and AMNH were studied by students in ASIP, and now three years later, their work was published in the March 2020 issue of Paludicola, a journal by the Rochester Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology. The paper has ten Webb student coauthors; Jackson Bibbens ’18, Isabella Kong ’18, Andrew Tarakji ’18, Isabel Gerard ’19, and current seniors Liam Gerken, Frank Hu, Aspen Helgeson, Cecilia Li, Emily Li, and Jill Ji.