2023-11-11 Washington’s fossils—Nesbitt and Williams


Co-authors Elizabeth Nesbitt and David B. Williams discussed their new book, Spirit Whales and Sloth Tales:  Fossils of Washington State. They provided background on what inspired them to write their book on fossils in Washington state, why they chose the fossils they did, and some of the new science that has allowed paleontologists to tease out the 500-million-year long story of life in this region. They connected the geology with fossils and illustrated how/why we have certain fossils, such as those brought in on accreted terranes and where our oldest fossils are located.

On Sunday, November 12th they presented a complementary version of this talk for the Port Townsend Marine Science Center at the Fort Worden Chapel. It  focused on the marine organisms, such as the whales, and faunas of methane seeps.

David Williams is an author, naturalist, and tour guide whose award-winning book, Homewaters:  A Human and Natural History of Puget Sound is a deep exploration of the stories of this beautiful waterway. He is also the author of Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography, Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology, as well as Seattle Walks: Discovering History and Nature in the City. Williams is a Curatorial Associate at the Burke Museum and writes a free weekly newsletter, the Street Smart Naturalist (https://streetsmartnaturalist.substack.com/ – by clicking the “No thanks” you may access the previous newsletters). More information about David’s books may be found at www.geologywriter.com

Liz Nesbitt is Curator Emerita of invertebrate paleontology at the Burke Museum for Natural History and Culture, as well as, associate professor of Earth Science at the University of Washington. Her distinguished scientific contributions to the marine paleontology of the Pacific Northwest have earned many awards and honors, including having a tiny fossil snail and a fossil whale (Maiabalaena nesbittae) named for her, .

She is currently working with Burke colleagues on measuring the health of Puget Sound waters using microfauna in bottom sediments.

3 thoughts on “2023-11-11 Washington’s fossils—Nesbitt and Williams

  1. Geologists have conjured up enormous times for all fossils and geological events. For instance, the Cenezoic era is considered to have an age of 66 million years and this has pushed back all prior fossil ages. The soft tissue found in dinosaur fossils in Montana proves that they existed up to the K-T extinction which occurred ~ 4000 BC. The North American continent was tidally moved from its contact with Europian and African continents to its current position between ~ 3687 and 687 BC by the indirect tidal drag of a planet repeatedly captured and released in a geostationary above Mt. Kailas in the Himalayas. All of the interesting geology of northwest USA took place at these ninety-nine captures and releases of the continent. See Miracle: The Creation of the Earth

  2. 1955-1956 My first high school paleontology class was at the L.A. Museum of Natural History on the 3rd floor with Dr. Theodore Downs. Long time ago but the fondest of memories.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *