Studying the past and defining the future in the Great Northwest
31 May 2013
The Mammoth Prairie
Mammoths & Sabertooth Cats (Zdenek Burian)
For several years now, I have been based in Oregon, first as a grad student and then as an instructor. This blog, originally intended as a way of staying in touch with friends in family in a pre-Facebook age and subsequently evolving into a sounding board for my thoughts on paleontology, has always been written from an Oregonian perspective (hence its name). However, I was fortunate enough to get a postdoc at Cornell College in Iowa, where I will be moving later this year. I have only just started getting back into blogging and it's something I want to not only continue, but to do more of. I intend to keep this site going, and at this same URL, but as Iowa is a long way from Eugene or Roseburg and since the Oregon Trail began one state to the south of where I'll be, the current title of this blog will clearly need to be changed. I'm currently leaning towards 'The Mammoth Prairie" as a tip of the cap to the mammoth fossils uncovered near where I'll be living (and in recognition of the fact that mammoths and mastodons are likely to become a stronger focus of my research over the next few years) as well as to the tallgrass prairie ecosystem that historically covered most of Iowa. I also like the name because it has echoes of the 'mammoth steppe,' the name coined to describe the dry tundra environment of Arctic North America and Eurasia during the Pleistocene and a phrase that I've always found highly atmospheric. Before I make the change, though, I thought I'd field thoughts on the name and alternative suggestions from whatever is left of my reading audience, so let me know what you think.