Lake Superior State University
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Conodont Reasearch...

ChurchillAlex Zimmerman, Sault High School senior, took an LSSU Into to Physical and History Geology class from Dr. Lew Brown last year as a Dual Enrollment student. Dr. Brown noticed Alex because he “blew the top off the grading scale.” Lew asked Alex what his interested in geology were and Alex replied, “Paleontology.” That was all Lew needed to know – “You’ve got the right person, that’s my interest too.” Lew was looking for someone to conduct research on “conodonts” and when asked, Alex was excited about the thought of professional research on a college level. In visiting with Lew at his office and lab, he found out that conodonts are microscopic, phosphatic, hard part of a long-extinct salt water animal that looked something like a lamprey eel. Dr. Brown is one of the only 2 active conodont researchers in the Midwest.

Under Lew’s direction, Alex conducted the research by identifying project specimens. Alex then assisted in interpreting the results and writing the first draft of an abstract for a scientific conference presentation. It is anticipated that the final abstract will be submitted in the very near future for acceptance by the Indiana Academy of Science. The collaborative research of Dr. Lew Brown, Alex Zimmerman, and a Dr. Carl Rexroad, a paleontologist with the Indiana Geological Survey, will then be published and presented by Alex at the annual spring conference.

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