Thursday, May 2, 2019

DEAL: New page on land plant life cycles

Diagram showing the life cycle of a homosporous land plant

A land plant must pass through two phases, or generations, to complete its life cycle: a haploid gametophyte phase and a diploid sporophyte phase. My new page on the Digital Encyclopedia of Ancient Life website explains the life cycle of land plants, homospory and heterospory, and the seed habit!

See it here:

Friday, March 15, 2019

DEAL: First plant page posted

Bee on echinacea flower head.

The first land plant page of the Digital Atlas of Ancient Life has now been posted! The page deals with angiosperm pollination and gives a brief overview of what we can glean from the fossil record. Visit the page here:

Friday, November 9, 2018

DEAL at the GSA Annual Meeting, Indianapolis

Image of a chambered nautilus by J.R. Hendricks from DEAL

A presentation on the Digital Encyclopedia of Ancient Life (DEAL) was given at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, by Dr. Jonathan R. Hendricks. The DEAL continues to expand, with a new chapter on cephalopods recently released! Work on the land plant chapter has commenced, although none of the plant pages are available yet. Stay tuned for updates.


Hendricks, J.R., E.J. Hermsen, and E. Hauf. 2018. The Digital Encyclopedia of Ancient Life (DEAL): An open access paleontology textbook. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Indianapolis, Indiana (talk). doi:10.1130/abs/2018AM-318607. LINK

Related links:

DEAL main page

DEAL Cephalopoda chapter by J.R. Hendricks

Virtual teaching collection on Sketchfab (models by E. Hauf)

Monday, July 30, 2018

Botany 2018

Modern Azolla sporophytes, cultivated

The Botany 2018 meeting was held from July 21-25 in Rochester Minnesota. I was involved in two projects presented at the meeting:

"Taxonomic composition of the Neogene Gray Fossil Site carpoflora (Tennessee, USA)" was presented and authored by E.J. Hermsen.

"An organismal concept for fossil Azolla from the early Paleocene (Danian) Salamanca Formation, Patagonia, Argentina" was presented by Nathan A. Jud (Cornell University) and authored by Jud, F. De Benedetti (Museo Paleontol√≥gico Egidio Feruglio), E.J. Hermsen, and M.A. Gandolfo (Cornell). It was part of the colloquium "Fossil plants at the intersection of evo-devo and phylogeny: Celebrating the contributions of Gar W. Rothwell to biodiversity and evolution."

Monday, June 18, 2018

Hermsen Lab at the 35th Midcontinent Paleobotanical Colloquium

Cedar Falls, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

The 35th Midcontinent Paleobotanical Colloquium took place in Athens, Ohio, from June 1-3, 2018. Scientific presentations took place in Porter Hall on the Athens campus on June 2nd. Dr. Kathleen Pigg of Arizona State University opened the scientific session with a keynote presentation on "Forty years of fun with paleobotany." This presentation was followed by 14 contributed talks. The Hermsen lab was represented by three speakers: Zack Quirk, who gave a presentation entitled "Neogene Corylopsis seeds from eastern Tennessee;" Caroline Siegert, who gave a presentation entitled "Structure and affinities of a novel type of endocarp from the Gray Fossil Site, Tennessee;" and Liz Hermsen, who gave a presentation entitled "The Digital Encyclopedia of Ancient Life (DEAL): An open-access, online paleontology textbook."

Monday, March 19, 2018

Visit to Gray Fossil Site

Alligator brickwork at Gray Fossil Site, Tennessee.

Over spring break, I visited the collections of the Gray Fossil Site and Museum with Hermsen lab member Zack Quirk. The Gray Fossil Site represents an ancient lake that filled a sinkhole. Fossils preserved in the sediments of this ancient lake are about 4.5 to 7 million years old, much younger than the surrounding rock. Because of this, Gray Fossil Site offers us a unique opportunity to study a relatively young fossil assemblage in the Appalachian region.

Gray Fossil Site is especially well known for its diverse vertebrates, which include animals like alligators, red pandas, mastodons, and tapirs. There are also plant remains at the site, mostly in the form of seeds and fruits. Some plants that have been described from Gray Fossil Site include grape, tupelo, hickory, bladdernut, and Chinese moonseed. More discoveries coming soon!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

35th Midcontinent Paleobotanical Colloquium Website

Logo for the 35th Midcontinent Paleobotanical Colloquium

The website for the 35th Midcontinent Paleobotanical Colloquium is now live! Find information and preregister for the meeting here.