Paleontology Society Certification Program

Friday, November 7, 2014 - 8:00am

The Paleontology Certification Class for 2014-2015

About Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Paleontology Society

Visitors to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park are generally amazed and awed at the stark and barren beauty of its badlands. Few realize that these badlands contain a buried treasure of fossils that have opened a window into the region’s ancient past. These fossils tell a story of dramatic geologic and climatic changes. They reveal a time when the western side of the Salton Trough, as far north as modern Palm Springs, was positioned at least 300 km southeast and facing the west coast of Mexico across the very young Sea of Cortez; a time before the current Peninsular Mountains were uplifted, casting their rain shadow over Borrego Valley. The fossil invertebrates, vertebrates, and plants tell us that Borrego Springs was not always a desert. From more than four million to less than a million years ago, a blink of an eye in geologic time, our region received enough rainfall to support mega fauna such as camels, mammoths, and large herds of horses. These and many other animals roamed grassy savannas, lived near rivers and along the shore line of an ancient lake, and sought refuge from saber-toothed cats in local swamps.

The story of the fossil treasures of Anza-Borrego has been revealed slowly through more than a century of research by professional and amateur geologists and paleontologists. For the last forty years ABDSP Volunteer paleontologists have participated in almost all aspects of paleontologic collection and preservation. They find and recover fossils from the field, and they prepare, identify and curate them for the Park’s extensive fossil collection. Educational outreach is another important paleontology program and is run mostly by volunteers.  Several hundred middle school students, most from underserved school districts in San Diego and Imperial Counties, visit the Paleontology Laboratory each year and are introduced, by volunteers, to the Park’s rich natural history. Each year during Borrego Days weekend volunteers conduct an annual open house, where visitors tour an educational exhibit and view important fossil specimens such as mammoth tusks, a giant land tortoise shell, and marine invertebrate shells.
More information regarding paleontology in Anza-Borrego and volunteer activities is available at, a volunteer-created and-managed web site.


Paleontology and geology lectures, fossil curation and laboratory preparation workshops, and field surveys are held each Friday, November through May. Our first class of the 2014-2015 season will be held at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center Discovery Lab, 200 Palm Canyon Drive, Borrego Springs, 8:00 to 4:00 PM on 7 November 2014.

8AM- Introduction to the Paleontology Society
9AM- Lecture: Introduction to the Anza-Borrego Desert Region
12-1PM- Lunch Break
1:15-4PM- Collection Hall, Laboratory and Library             

Help discover, protect and preserve our prehistoric natural resources.
For further information call Dr. Lyndon Murray, District Paleontologist at 760-767-4974
Visit our website at

Other Scheduled Lectures Include:

Nov 7- Introduction to ABDSP Dr. Lyndon Murray
Dec 12- Odontology  Dr. Lyndon Murray
Jan 16-  Osteology  Dr. Lyndon Murray
Feb 13-  Taphonomy Dr. Lyndon Murray
Mar 13-  TBA
Apr 10-   TBA

All lectures are at 9AM in the ABDSP Visitor Center Discovery Lab, unless otherwise noted.