Accession - the process a museum uses to legally acquire a specimen.
Basin morphotype - a morphotype that has passed the quality test
and is well-preserved enough to be formally named and compared across multiple quarries.
Bin – a collection of leaf architectural characters. Bins are used
to separate large numbers of fossils into manageable groups based shared characteristics
Locality – a place where a fossil was collected. At DMNS, each
locality gets a memorable name, a field number and an institutional number. We record
our coordinates in decimal degrees and use NAD27 as the datum.
Morphotype – in simplest terms, this is a description of the "body
plan" of a leaf, seed or other part of a plant. There can be multiple examples of
a morphotype but each must share a set of common, diagnostic characteristics. A
holomorphotype is the single specimen that most completely documents the diagnostic
features of the morphotype.
Morphotypes are informal and act as proxies for formal species while they are being
studied. Note that when the study is completed, a species
may be represented by more than one morphotype. For example, on a single tree, some
Sassafras leaves are lobed while others are not. The lobed and non-lobed varieties
have different "body plans" so they are considered different morphotypes using the "body plan" definition.
Once the lobed and non-lobed varieties
are found attached, they are recognized to
be from the same species and are regrouped into one morphotype with a range of leaf
architectural characteristics. Although finding lobed and non-lobed leaves on a
single tree is rare, all morphotypes (and species) have a continuum of variation
in their character states. For this reason, we strive to collect enough specimens
from one quarry (300-500 specimens) to document the variation of the most common
Quarry holomorphotype - the single specimen that most completely documents the diagnostic
features of a morphotype within a quarry.
Basin holomorphotype - a quarry holomorphotype that has passed the quality test
(HQI ? 4) and is well- enough preserved to be formally named and compared across
Quarry – a distinct hole in the ground that produces fossils. A
typical DMNS quarry is about 5 square feet. The thickness depends on the outcrop
but is typically less than 1 foot thick.