It’s been about a year since local Forest Service scientists removed the fossilized remains of a 220 million year old, ocean-going reptile called a Thalattosaur from the rocky shore of Western Kupreanof Island. Geologists believe it is the most complete fossil of this species ever found in North America. A specialist with the University of Alaska Museum in Fairbanks has been slowly, painstakingly working to remove the fossil from the hard stone that surrounds it. Tongass National Forest Geologist Jim Baichtal says it’s not a simple process, but it was that stone that preserved the extremely rare find. Baichtal will be giving a talk in Petersburg tonight about the fossilized reptiles found in Southeast. He’ll also discuss how the regions shorelines have changed over time, and how that knowledge is helping scientists look for evidence of early human habitation. He spoke with KFSK’s Matt Lichtenstein, who asked what fossils like the Thalattosaur reveal about what this regions ocean was like 220 million years ago:

Geologist Jim Baichtal’s presentation takes place in the Petersburg Lutheran Church Holy Cross House tonight (Thursday) at 7.