Talk:John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

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Good article John Day Fossil Beds National Monument has been listed as one of the Geography and places good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
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Coordinates[edit]

The coordinates given are for the Painted Hills Unit, but there are three units to the JDFBNM. I added the other two but it messes up the page. I'm not sure what to do about it. Cacophony (talk) 04:15, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Looks fine now. You might want to add the unit names to the coords. Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 20:04, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Geology question[edit]

How can a single area be a good fossil gathering place for thirty million years? --BlueNight (talk) 04:26, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Video clip[edit]

I reverted the inclusion of the video clip mainly because it violates the Wikipedia layout guidelines at WP:MOS#IMAGES. For example, one of the guidelines says, "Avoid sandwiching text between two images that face each other, or between an image and an infobox." Readers who want to see more images of the fossil beds can click through to the Commons via the link provided at the bottom of the article in the "External links" section. Finetooth (talk) 22:09, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Painted Hills panorama[edit]

Original (used in article now)
Version with enhanced colors

Since images are important for an FA candidate, does anybody have a strong opinion on whether the panorama of the Painted Hills at the bottom of this article should be the original image (right) or the brighter version (bottom right)? Jsayre64 (talk) 05:55, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

Cacophony's original looks fine to me. The "enhanced" version looks washed out. In addition, six reviewers supported promotion of the article in its present form (with the exception of a few things you've added since). No one faulted the images. One reviewer opposed on grounds that the article was not comprehensive, with which opinion I strongly disagreed. Finetooth (talk) 17:41, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

No mosasaurs, etc.[edit]

This claim, recently added to the "Geology and palentology" section is not supported by the source: "Other discoveries in the Painted Hills include fish scales and parts of reptiles such as the shark-like ichthyosaur, the marine lizard and snake ancestor mosasaur, and the avian pterosaur." Bishop and Allen, when describing these discoveries, refer to sediments laid down west of Mitchell (but not in the park) prior to the eruption of the Clarno volcanoes. To the best of my knowledge, those sediments are not exposed in the park. The creatures, ichythosaur and so on, have not been found in the Painted Hills, as far as I know. Finetooth (talk) 18:19, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

I guess I misinterpreted the book. On page 192 of Hiking Oregon's Geology, the text mentions the geology of an area west of Mitchell, and then says: "Wood chips and fish scales appear in the sandstones and shales along the highway. Fragments of an ichthyosaur, mosasaur (marine reptile), and pterosaur (avian reptile) have been reported from these rocks." So you're right, those fossils have not been found in the Painted Hills. Jsayre64 (talk) 05:56, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
Bishop covers the same west-of-Mitchell stuff in more detail in Chapter 5, "Cretaceous", in In Search of Ancient Oregon. If you're interested in Oregon's geology, I think you'd like this book. Finetooth (talk) 20:49, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Further reading[edit]

I have seen reviewers at FAC and elsewhere question the usefulness of "Further reading" sections. Their reasoning seems to be that if a work is important enough to list as "further reading", it is important enough to cite in the main text. If it's cited in the main text, it will be linked to a citation in the "Reference" section. Furthermore, if any relevant work appears in a "Further reading" section, why don't all relevant works appear in that section? Why list one book and not another? What about important articles not cited in the main text? I agree with reviewers who think this way. I see no use for "Further reading" except as a courtesy extended to other editors, perhaps, who might want to add something to articles that are incomplete. My opinion is that this article is already complete (comprehensive). Thus far, only one person in the world has disagreed. Finetooth (talk) 18:32, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

All right, if you feel that way, remove the "further reading" works as you wish, but I think it would be best to consult somebody at FAC about the additions when/if this article goes back there. My intention was to give readers links to books available online with some information about the fossils found in and around the monument. Jsayre64 (talk) 05:56, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
I'll leave it alone for the nonce. I've been thinking some more about FAC in general as well as this article in particular. It's been about three months now since the article did a belly-flopper at FAC. Two of the interlibrary loan materials I mentioned have arrived, and neither can resolve the FAC disagreement, mostly because they are highly technical discussions that the vast majority of English speakers would not find lucid or interesting. I am at the moment staring hopelessly at the language of Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic Mammals of North America, reading passages suggested by the index listings for "John Day fauna", "John Day region", "John Day Formation", "Clarno flora", and "Clarno formation". I will give you a little sample from page 327: "Bridgerian faunas can be contrasted with those of the Wasatchian by having the last pantodonts and the first leptochoerid artiodactyls, along with a radiation of dichobunids, a diversity of sciuravid rodents, omomyid and notharctine primates, hyaenodontid creodonts, and brontotheriids, along with oxyaenid procreodi, tillodonts, helaletid tapriroids, and hyracodontid rhinos." The whole of this 391-page book, one of many possible sources of information about the fossil beds, is similar to this sentence in its use of specialized jargon and references to other texts familiar perhaps to professional paleontologists. My opinion, expressed during the FAC, was that this sort of thing is out of place in a general encyclopedia article about a public park. I haven't changed my mind. The problem here is not with our article, which is of featured quality, but in the FAC process. (I don't know how to fix the process.) In this particular case, the bar for promotion was set unreasonably high, and "consensus" was interpreted to mean "absolute unanimity". After stewing about this for weeks, I've come back to considering the fixes needed for promotion as doubtful, possibly destructive, and perhaps impossible. That said, I think the article is equivalent to FA and shouldn't need much future tinkering. Trying to get it through FAC successfully is probably just a waste of time (though you are certainly welcome to try). Finetooth (talk) 21:42, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
The concerns raised at FAC were valid, the geology section while generally covering the basics of the park geology, are rather muddled in the details and missing a number of notable points. The units as they are labeled here, are distinct Formations, the paleoecology, paleoclimate, etc were all very different.--Kevmin § 17:54, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
I was very upset about the failed FA, but I've gotten over it. My words above are like cranky e-mails that get loose and can't be snatched back. If you think you can improve the article, please do. Finetooth (talk) 22:41, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Is it possible to give a more complete summary of the geology and paleontology without violating WP:SYNTH? If so, can you say how this can be done? Finetooth (talk) 20:25, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

Recent changes by Iceagecaver[edit]

After trying to figure out what to do about the many recent changes by User:Iceagecaver, I reverted them all. That doesn't mean they are all wrong, just that taken as a whole, they made the article worse rather than better. For example, the lead is to be a summary of the main text; therefore, new information should not be added to the lead unless it summarizes something new in the main text.

Every significant claim in an article needs to be supported by a reliable source. Inserting a new unsupported claim in the middle of a paragraph otherwise supported by a reliable source or sources is particularly damaging because the reader is thereby led to believe that the new material comes from those source(s). Here's an example: "This stretch can experience extremely low water levels in summer due to alfalfa irrigation in the John Day River valley but it is County controlled so the river does not dry up in this area entirely." This set of claims was inserted into the existing text and appears to be supported but is not. I don't see anything in the cited sources about alfalfa irrigation, county control, or water levels within the park.

A new or unregistered user will not be familiar with Wikipedia's internal guidelines and may add things with the best of intentions. The best way for a new editor to proceed with a GA or FA article, heavily vetted by many editors already, is to discuss significant additions or corrections here on the talk page one by one before making them. I'd be happy to discuss these, and I think others might chime in too. Finetooth (talk) 20:40, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

Not hearing from Iceagecaver, I went ahead with modifications to the article based on his or her original changes, several of which were quite helpful. Finetooth (talk) 20:09, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

Caps or lowercase?[edit]

Shouldn't "Federal" be lowercase where it occurs in the sixth paragraph of History and in the first paragraph of Activities? Also in that Activities paragraph, perhaps "Presidents Day" should be "Presidents' Day" with an apostrophe. Or maybe it should be changed to "Washington's Birthday" because that's the title of the article. Jsayre64 (talk) 00:35, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

Thanks. Yes and yes to the first two questions. I think not "Washington's Birthday", though. The birthday article should probably be updated by changing its name, IMHO. I'm still planning to add something about Goose Rock, the Cretaceous, and the Age of Dinosaur thingies found near Mitchell but not in the park. Probably won't get to that until tomorrow. Finetooth (talk) 02:37, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
OK, and unfortunately I won't get to review my edits from Jan. 2012 until after tomorrow. I've got a lot of things going on. Jsayre64 (talk) 05:38, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
No problem and no hurry. I just wanted to incorporate as much as I could of Iceagecaver's work before too much time had passed. Iceagecaver is unregistered and may or may not see these notes; he or she might well be miffed at my initial blanket revert. Going through the changes one by one, then giving explanations in the edit notes seemed like the best course. Goose Rock, etc., is the last of the batch. Finetooth (talk) 17:25, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
I included mention of the Cretaceous rocks and fossils as Note 4. Finetooth (talk) 20:09, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

West-of-Mitchell discoveries[edit]

So I just had the chance to review my additions from 2012, and I was about to add this:

{{#tag:ref|West of Mitchell, not within any unit of the park, field work has also revealed animal remains such as fish scales; the [[mosasaur]], a marine lizard and an ancestor of the snake; the shark-like [[ichthyosaur]]; and the avian [[pterosaur]].<ref name=Hiking192/>|group=n}}

immediately following the text, Fossils found in the John Day Strata include a wide variety of plants and more than 100 species of mammals, including dogs, cats, [[oreodont]]s, saber-toothed tigers, horses, camels, and rodents.<ref name="geology fieldnotes"/><ref>Bishop and Allen, p. 87</ref> in the 3rd para. of the paleonotology section, but I noticed, Finetooth, that you had already added a similar note about the same area. Do you think it would be better to combine the notes or something, or should I go ahead with the edit that I almost made? Jsayre64 (talk) 03:54, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

Combined, I think. I'd like to keep most of mine because it includes the time frame and rock types and mentions Goose Rock, and it expands on the geology. Additionally, the fossils you mention are not in the John Day Strata but are so old they are not even on the chart along the right-hand edge of the page. What would you say to expanding my note with your fish scales and bits of mosasaur and your descriptions like "avian", keeping my note positioning, and adding your RS as well as mine? Finetooth (talk) 22:03, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
Done. And in case there is ever more paleontology information that needs to be added, here's a webpage that I'd like to hold on to because it would probably be useful: [1]. Jsayre64 (talk) 03:44, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
Looks good. Did you notice that the OPLI website you've saved was designed by Ellen Bishop (whose books we cite), who also took the photos? Multi-talented, she is. Finetooth (talk) 04:16, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
I did not notice that. I enjoyed reading her and Allen's hiking guide, especially the parts about Eastern Oregon places like Leslie Gulch. Jsayre64 (talk) 04:38, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

Abbreviation[edit]

I removed the JDFBNM abbreviation use from the article — unlike FBI, NASA or NAACP, it's not a frequently-used or well-known abbreviation, and has very little usage in the real world. Even NPS sources tend to prefer their own in-house abbreviation, "JODA" rather than a full initialism. Given that we're a digital encyclopedia, we don't really need to save space so badly that we would consider such an abbreviation desirable. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 04:18, 3 August 2014 (UTC)

Thank you. I agree. The Manual of Style section on abbreviations, MOS:ABBR, advises against uncommon abbreviations because readers may find them puzzling rather than helpful. Finetooth (talk) 17:37, 3 August 2014 (UTC)