Blogging from A to Z

Blogging from A to Z is an April challenge in which bloggers use the letters of the alphabet as the driving theme for 26 of the 30 days of the month. Some may just write daily on any old thing, just so long as it begins with the proper letter. Others choose a theme and use that for determining what the daily topics will be.

Assigned days for each letter of the alphabet in the April 2013 A to Z Blogging Challenge

I chose a theme. Each lettered day, I will write a little blurb about a Paleocene mammal genus that begins with that letter. I will focus on genera that were found in my Ph.D. research collections (A study of the Torrejonian-Tiffanian NALMA boundary in The Breaks), and will showcase some of my old notes and SEM images. I had 72 different species in my dissertation collection, so I had hoped that I could cover most of the letters with that alone. Alas, I could only manage about half the alphabet with my own collection. I filled in the rest mostly with other mammalian genera that probably coexisted with the mammals I studied. There were still a few leftover letters that I filled with Paleocene mammals from around the globe. (It turns out that ‘Q’ is a unusual letter to start a genus name.)

Here are the genera I’ll cover. As the posts go live, I will link them here as well.

“A” is for Acmeodon

“B” is for Baiotomeus

“C” is for Chiromyoides

“D” is for Dissacus

“E” is for Elphidotarsius

“F” is for Fractinus

“G” is for Gelastops

“H” is for Haplaletes

“I” is for Ictidopappus

“J” is for Jepsenella

“K” is for Krauseia

“L” is for Litocherus

“M” is for Mixodectes

“N” is for Nannodectes

“O” is for Oxyclaenus

“P” is for Ptilodus

“Q” is for Qatranitherium

“R” is for Ragnarok

“S” is for Stygimys

“T” is for Tetraclaenodon

“U” is for Uintacyon

“V” is for Viverravus

“W” is for Wanolestes

“X” is for Xanclomys

“Y” is for Yuesthonyx

“Z” is for Zanycteris

Not all of these are valid taxa (anymore). I’ll make note of any changes of the naming scheme as I go along. My hope is that with brief discussion of these 26 genera, readers can gain some insight into how paleontology works and how species names are assigned. It will also help readers understand how we use fossils for assigning ages to rocks and what some of the pitfalls and problems are with doing this.

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