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Our Meetings

Guests are always welcome to the meetings if you would like see what we're all about. Meetings start at 7:00 pm and usually take place the first Saturday of the month, unless there is a holiday, then it's on the second Saturday of the month. Located at the USF Behavioral Science Room #103.

After the speaker finishes we have a short break. Then we draw for door prizes and some raffle items as well. We finish with any final announcements.

Upcoming Meetings and Guest Speakers (2020-2021 season):
NOTE: All meetings are the first Saturday of the month at 7:00 pm unless otherwise clearly noted.

Sept. 11 - Dr. Jonathon Bloch, Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology, FLMNH
Paleocene-Eocene Fossils of Wyoming
We will attempt to live stream the in-person meeting. If the stream is successful, you'll be able to re-watch it here on YouTube

Dr. Jonathan Bloch’s research involves the study of fossil mammals from the Paleogene (65 to 25 million years ago) in order to address paleoecological, phylogenetic, and biogeographic questions surrounding the first appearance and early evolution of Primates and other mammals of modern aspect.

The origin of primates represents the first clear step in the divergence of humans from the rest of mammals, yet our understanding of this important period in evolutionary history remains limited. A major emphasis is the interval from the terminal Cretaceous through the early Eocene, which includes the evolution and diversification of “archaic” mammals following the extinction of the dinosaurs and the first appearance of nearly one-half of the modern orders of mammals, several appearing coincident with rapid, large-scale, global warming at the Paleocene -Eocene boundary. Primary data supporting this research come from active paleontological fieldwork in the Paleocene-Eocene of the Clarks Fork, Bighorn, and Crazy Mountain basins of Wyoming and Montana, and northern Colombia (South America).

Dr. Jonathan’s peer-reviewed papers include anatomical descriptions and analysis of the first primate radiation based on remarkably complete skeletons. Using data from high-resolution X-ray CT imaging methods, he has revolutionized this field by revealing detailed aspects of the anatomy of the skull and evolution of the brain in fossil primates. Based on these studies, he has demonstrated that the fossil record of Primates is well represented in the Paleocene, effectively extending the fossil record of that group by 10 million years beyond what had previously been thought.

Dr. Jonathan’s research projects on Paleocene-Eocene mammals from Wyoming and Montana have been funded by four grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) since 2003. With this funding, he is studying the response of vertebrate and plant communities to climate change, as well as the phylogeny, evolutionary morphology, and paleoecology of small mammals, especially primates and their relatives, using some of the most exquisitely preserved mammalian skulls and skeletons yet known for this time interval. Dr. Jonathan has also received funding to collect and study late Pliocene (4 million years old) mammal fossils from Florida, and another to work on early Miocene (20 million years old) fossils from the Panama Canal.

Oct. 2 - David Letasi - Terror Pigs and Walking Whales!
We will attempt to live stream the in-person meeting. If the stream is successful, you'll be able to re-watch it here on YouTube

David Letasi has been interested in fossils and pre-historic times since he was eight years old and thus has had many years’ experience searching for fossils all over North America and Asia. By age twelve, he had discovered three archeological sites that are recorded in the Michigan State Archeological Site Survey. In addition to dinosaurs, Letasi has studied prehistoric man, ancient world history, and archeology.

After serving in the Navy, he decided to travel around the United States to collect specimens from well-known fossil sites in Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Florida, as well as Canada and several countries in Asia. After he married his wife, Suzanne, in 1972 she began to travel with him. In 1976 they moved to Florida where it was possible to collect saber-tooth cat fossils, his main field of interest.

Dave worked for Great Explorations Museum in St Petersburg and assumed a number of duties, including designing and curating exhibits and later worked at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Tampa. While at MOSI, he led cave explorations for children and adults to the Dames Cave in the Withlacoochee State Forest, as well as fossil-collecting trips to mining sites in Polk County. Since retiring from MOSI in 2007, he has been active in projects with the Historic Hernando Preservation Society.

His lengthy résumé includes being the lead archaeological project coordinator with the Historic Hernando County Preservation Society, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and the Gulf Archaeology Research Institute of Gainesville. Some interesting projects he’s worked on include searching for the eighteenth-century capital of the Seminole Nation and the exploration of the Bayport Civil War shipwreck site.

Dave’s presentation will discuss “Terror Pigs and Walking Whales", the convergent relationship between the Cetacea and primitive Artiodactals. This lecture will follow the research and paleontological history of the discovery of vertebrate fossils of early whales and their cousins the Entelodonts.

Nov. 6 - TBFC Ben Waller Memorial Auction with Dr. Bob Sinibaldi as auctioneer
There will be no live stream or recording for the auction.

TBFC’s November meeting will host our annual Ben Waller Memorial Scholarship Auction. This will be your best opportunity to pick up all sorts of “paleo” related goodies for your favorite fossil hunter. Or, what the heck, to keep for yourself! And it’s all for a good cause. Proceeds will help benefit the numerous scholarships TBFC awards throughout the year.

There will be lots of “paleo” items available in the auction from all of the generous folks who donate to this worthy cause. So, if you have a bunch of those pesky meg teeth laying around, or too many mammoth molars to fit under your bed, consider donating them to this excellent cause! If you don’t have any fossils you’re ready to part with yet, a big heart and an open wallet is all you need. What makes the Ben Waller Memorial Auction a success... is YOU! TBFC’s auctioneer extraordinaire will once again be our very own Dr. Bob Sinibaldi. His booming voice and silly anecdotes keep the auction interesting and a show not to be missed.

Please keep in mind that we haven’t had an auction in a long time. We need these funds to operate and pay scholarships to students in the geosciences. If you haven’t attended an auction in the past, please consider coming to the November meeting. Dr. Bob has made the auctions as funny and entertaining as they can be. If you attend, I promise you’ll have a good time whether you bid on any fossils or not.

We’ll have lots of great paleo-items to auction off including a good supply of legally collected artifacts. And... to make it easier for you to purchase items from TBFC’s auction and paleo store, we take checks, credit and debit cards, and gold doubloon!


Jan. 8 (Second Saturday!) - Ice Age Florida: In Story And Art, Dr. Bob Sinibaldi and Artist Hermann Trappman

TBFC is excited to host the book release event for Ice Age Florida, In Story and Art. Dr. Bob Sinibaldi and noted artist Hermann Trappman collaborated on the perfect blend of story, and art, for a new look at Florida’s Ice Age. Dr. Bob’s presentation will focus on aspects of the book and the multiyear long effort to get the book in print.

In a day and age when fewer and fewer books are being published, the struggle to get this type of book published may have been as arduous as writing and illustrating the book. Join us as we celebrate the release of yet another great paleo literary work by Dr. Bob and artist Hermann Trappman.

Dr. Bob will have copies of the book available at the meeting at a significant price reduction.

Ice Age Florida, In Story and Art. Sinibaldi and Trappmenn, 2021. Dorrance Publishing Co., Pittsburgh, PA. 300 Pages, ISBN: 978-1- 6480-4356-7, Retail price: $70, eBook $10.

Feb. 5 - The Non-Aquatic Residents of Fossil Lake, Wyoming: Joe Branin, Bachelor of Science, Geoscience

The Green River Formation is a well-known and important fossil location, most famous for its abundant fossil fish. These fish are nearly all perfectly preserved, down to the smallest scale. While there have been over one million such perfectly preserved fossils uncovered from this formation, far less frequently found are the other residents of an ancient Eocene lake system. These include birds that inhabited the tropical trees along the edges of the lake, and much more uncommon are the terrestrial animals that ventured too close to shore and were swept out to their deaths. While bird fossils are found occasionally, mammal or terrestrial reptile fossils are so exceptionally rare that maybe one specimen will be uncovered every decade. Since the beginning of excavations in the Green River Formation over a century ago, less than 20 of these terrestrial fossils have been uncovered, averaging one such animal every 5 years. Within one year of each other, two such specimens have been uncovered: an undescribed pine martin-like mammal, and a nearly complete extinct tapir ancestor.

This presentation will focus primarily on these most recent finds, with never-before-seen excavation and preparation pictures, including an overview of the other rare species found in the Fossil Lake quarries, how to find them, and how the professionals excavate and prepare them once they are found.

Mar. 5 - Fossils in the Schools: Dr. Bruce MacFadden, Florida Museum of Natural History

On the UF Faculty since 1977, Dr. MacFadden is currently a distinguished professor at the Florida Museum of Natural History (FMNH) at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and his Ph.D. in geology from Columbia University, with a specialization in paleontology.

Dr. Bruce has been a mainstay in Florida paleontology going on 50 years now. He has been involved with most of the initiatives prompting Florida paleontology from the fieldwork, all the way over to the financing side. Many of the programs, exhibits, and discoveries in Florida are due to Dr. Bruce’s continued good work.

He is the author of 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles and 1992 book on Fossil Horses (Cambridge) and has been principal investigator on more than 50 external grants, mostly from the National Science Foundation totaling nearly $40 million. In 2009-2010 he was a Program Officer in the Education Directorate at NSF and in 2015- 2016 was a Visiting Scientist at the Santa Cruz County Office of Education in California.

Many fossil clubs and societies communicate knowledge and enthusiasm about fossils for the benefit of K-12 schools. Over the past decade the Florida Museum has undertaken several innovative projects that bring fossils and scientists into Florida schools for teaching and learning. Dr. Bruce will be discussing these initiatives, including the "Scientist in Every Florida School" program. This will include a video, PowerPoint presentation, and discussion. And as always, Dr. Bruce will bring updates from the museum and collections.

Apr. 2 - To Be Announced

May 7 - To Be Announced

View Our Past Virtual Meetings

COVID-19 has forced us to adapt!
Since in-person meetings are not possible during this time, the club will continue to host Virtual Live Meetings on our YouTube channel.
Subscribe to the channel to get notifications when we go live!

All our club live stream meetings will be saved and can be re-watched anytime!
You can view past virtual meetings in the playlist below:

TBFC Events Calendar TBFC Meeting Location and Info FossilFest Flyer Download Peace River Adventure Flyer Download