PaleoAngola Field Season 2011 Entry 1

June 30, 2011 - PaleoAngola 2011

Sunset on the Skeleton Coast.

Polcyn and Jacobs spent the last week of June, 2011, in northern Namibia to view the Skeleton Coast, examine

rocks of the Etendeka region for comparison with those exposed in southern Angola, and to visit the fossil

collections at the Geological Survey of Namibia.

Entering Skeleton Coast Park.

Driving from Windhoek to Walvis Bay, we then headed north along the coast to Torres Bay, finishing the circuit

with a  drive inland through the incredibly beautiul and geologically interesting Damaraland. A quick drive through

the Etosha game preserve was in order before we headed south to Windhoek.After our Namibian stop, we flew

to Luanda, the capitol city of Angola. A few days of outfitting and getting permits and we were on our way to

localities near the northern village of Iembe.


Iembe is where Angolasaurus and Tylosaurus iembeensis as well as the sauropod dinosaur Angolatitan were found.

PaleoAngola has also discovered and collected additional specimens of Angolasaurus, and at least two other taxa

higher in the section, one of which appears to be a basal halisaurine mosasaur!  In 2009 PaleoAngola found a fossil

turtle at the type locality of Angolachelys, but did not have the time or tools to excavate it at that time.

Angolachelys jacket containing the skull and some postcrania, ready to remove.

This year, Jacobs and Polcyn did excavate the fossil, which is very likely another specimen of Angolachelys. The new

specimen preserves the skull with a significant amount of the postcrania including limbs and girdles and will provide a

lot of new anatomical data for this interesting taxon. We concluded the trip to Iembe by prospecting for more of the

little halisaurine, but no more was found. We did however, collect some vertebrae of another mosasaur specimen high

in the section.

Fossil locality at Landana.


Again after a stop in Luanda for supplies and permits, we were off to the norhtern Province of Cabinda.

This is the third trip to Cabinda for PaleoAngola. The purpose was to re-visit the mammal locality of Malembe

(as it has been called) on Malembo Point. An additional mammal tooth and shark and ray teeth were collected.

Samples were taken for pollen and stable isotope analyses.  We also collected samples from the older locality

of Landana, including shark and ray teeth, crocodylian teeth and a large crocodylian coprolite.  A new locality

was discovered, bringing to four the number of stratigraphic levels that have been sampled in the Cabinda section.

All in all, off to a good start. Today we are heading south to Barro do Cuanza, to collect previously discovered

specimens of crocodiles and whales. More updates to come.


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