Selecting field samples...
Now, the whole process begins with the field selection of appropriate specimens. This is a satellite photo of the northern Gulf of California. This is Sonora and Baja, California, the Imperial Valley is up here somewhere. You'll notice there's no river flowing really anymore. This is the former Delta. It's a very, very large delta. And essentially what we're looking at here are the most extensive mud flats in the world, we think. We've been asking other geologists to essentially come up with mud flats that are larger. Mud flats on the North Sea of Germany, they're not even close. These things are huge.
This is Isla Montague which is a large island--and I should say island in quotes--it's about maybe five feet above sea level. At high tide it's not much higher. But it used to divide the flow of the river. We concentrate our field collecting and our field work in this region of Sonora all the way down the coast of Baja. If you're familiar with a map of Baja, this is not very much of the peninsula. This is right up at the very tip where nobody goes. As far as we know, when the Tucson research group started going out here in 1992 I think was the first trip, they were essentially the first humans to have gone out there in I think about 70 years and they're probably only the second humans to ever have gone out there. We very well could be the last when we finish this project.