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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pittsburgh Comic Finds a 300 Million Year Old Fossil. No Joke.


Sept. 7, 2010
Posted By - Frank Murgia
Source Credits - Shaun Blackham, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review/Mary Pickels, Pittsburgh Live.com, WTAE-4, The Pittsburgh Channel.com

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Shaun Blackham is known by many as a very funny and popular comedian based in Pittsburgh.  A recent Kayak run in the river became no laughing matter as he discovered a 300 million year old fossil.  Below you will find the local Pittsburgh coverage from the Tribune-Review and WTAE-4.

Tree Fossil Pittsburgh, Shaun Blackham, Comedian 
Shaun Blackham of Delmont points out the Lepidodendron fossil 
he found while kayaking the Kiski River eariler in July. 
The fossil is located about 4 miles east of Apollo.
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review

Tree fossil found by Delmont man nearly 300 million years old.
By Mary Pickels
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, September 6, 2010

Shaun Blackham was paddling his kayak on the Kiskiminetas River in Armstrong County in July when he spotted a snapshot of history imprinted on a rock.

"There it was, staring me right in the face," said Blackham, 45, of Delmont.

It was a plant fossil, 3 to 4 feet long, 10 to 14 inches wide, and, he soon learned, about 300 million years old.

The next week, Blackham kayaked back to the site, adjacent to the Roaring Run Trail, and photographed the fossil, which is embedded in a rock that faces the river.

Recognizing its rarity, he e-mailed the photos to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.

"It's one of those things in life," Blackham said. "I'm a spontaneous person. Sometimes unexpected things come about. I thought I should pursue it."

The photos made their way to museum geologist Albert Kollar, who recognized the fossil as bark from a now-extinct lepidodendron tree.

"It was a pretty interesting find," Kollar said.

He and Kollar biked to the site, nearly 4 miles east of the trailhead in Apollo, on Aug. 7.

Story Continued, Read More at:
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_698152.html

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Kayaker Finds 300 Million Year Old Fossil On Kiski River
Shaun Blackham Snaps Photo Of Ancient Tree Visible Only From Water

DELMONT, Pa. -- It looks like the imprint of a pineapple, but the photos Shaun Blackham snapped of a rock along the Kiski River actually show something incredibly rare.

Blackham, of Delmont, said he was kayaking in Armstrong County in July when he spotted the strange pattern on the rock.

The 45-year-old, who said he grew up watching "Land of the Lost," told Channel 4 Action News' Jennifer Miele that he knew he had found something special.

"It's not too often you find something 300 million years old in your own backyard," Blackham told Miele.

The water level of the Kiski River has been very low due to lack of precipitation. That, paired with Blackham's good eye, contributed to this unique discover, Miele reported.

Blackham, who is also a stand up comedian, joked that he thought he was the only fossil he would ever see. But the specimen he found is the real deal.

"I'm 45 years old and I found something that made me feel like a kid," said Blackham.

After sending photos to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Blackham learned the 4-foot-long fossil, which is embedded in a rock adjacent to the Roaring Run Trail, is bark from a now-extinct lepidodendron tree.

Blackham said the fossil isn't visible from the trail and it's located close to some rapids. He speculated that boaters are likely focusing their attention on the water and have missed spotting the rare find.

Story Continued, Read More and VIEW VIDEO at:
http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/news/24899050/detail.html


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