New Petrified Forest Superintendent Emphasizes Importance of Scientific Research in the Park Including Paleontology

From the Holbrook (Arizona) Tribune:

'Scientists have been unearthing something on the order of one to two new species a year at Petrified Forest National Park for the past few years, and that has new Park Superintendent Brad Traver excited and focused.
“In the last 10 years, we’ve added several new species to science through discoveries at this park. The things found here are influencing the field of study surrounding the Triassic Period. The work of the scientists here is significant,” said Traver, who officially took the helm at the Petrified Forest on May 22.

Traver, who has been with the National Park Service for 30 years, has taken up a permanent post at Petrified Forest, where he served as interim superintendent a few years ago.

“I’m thrilled to be headed back to Petrified Forest where I spent a few months in 2007 that were a highlight of my career,” said Traver.

Speaking of what he thinks is significant about the Petrified Forest, Traver said, “Each national park has its unique characteristics. The Petrified Forest has its own scenic beauty, but it isn’t highly scenic on the order of the Grand Canyon, or highly recreational like some of the other parks in the national system.

“This park has primarily a scientific story to tell, and our mission is to produce good science,” he said.

Traver said that mission is being accomplished through increased study of the park’s archeological and paleontological resources by on-site staff along with research partners from various universities and organizations.

Traver anticipates the park’s expansion to encompass the wider boundaries approved by Congress in 2004 will yield even more significant archeological and paleontological finds, including fossils of plants and animals dating 225 million years into the past.'
I am excited to be part of this recent surge in our understanding of the park paleontology and geology and hope that we continue to accomplish this essential mission. From day one in the summer of 2001 one of our goals in properly managing the paleontological resources was to build a successful and professional scientific program at the park as well as encouraging and supporting research by partner institutions. Ten years later, park staff and colleagues have published more than 30 papers on the park geology and paleontology, and currently there are more than a dozen institutions conducting detailed paleontological and geological research in the park providing excellent data that allow us to have insight in the approximately 20 million years of history preserved in Chinle Formation strata in the park. In my opinion it is an important and extremely interesting story currently documented by over 800 papers, abstracts, and theses with many more on the way and the potential for hundreds more.

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