Staff of Charleston Fossil Adventures
The face, primary tour guide, and mastermind behind Charleston Fossil Adventures, LLC is Ashby Gale. Ever since he was in the stroller, Ashby has had a connection with South Carolina's shorelines and the fossils collected along our beaches. Ashby is a graduate of Appalachian State University where he earned a degree in Environmental Science. In 2014, he took a job with SCPRT as the Interpretive Ranger at Edisto Beach State Park where he curated their collection of Pleistocene vertebrate remains and became the Park's leading authority on paleontology. From 2014-2020, Ashby worked with his parents to publish A Beachcomber's Guide to Fossils, which sold out prior to its publication date. Ashby has presented at numerous conferences on his research, both regionally and internationally (Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Brisbane, Australia, 2019). It's hard for Ashby to pick just one favorite fossil in his collection, but his top three currently are a tooth from Saurornitholestes (a small raptor), a baby mammoth molar, and an articulated set of eagle ray teeth with feeding wear facets.
Dr. Robert (Bobby) Boessenecker, is a vertebrate paleontologist specializing in the study of marine mammals. Originally from the San Francisco Bay area, he collected marine fossils as an amateur fossil collector in high school, and then studied those same fossils as part of his B.S. and M.S. research at Montana State University (2003-2011). Bobby worked in the doctoral program at the University of Otago in New Zealand (2012-2015), researching eomysticetid baleen whales -- similar to fossils from Charleston! Since 2016 Bobby has intensely researched fossil cetaceans from the South Carolina lowcountry, resulting in many new species being named: the toothless dwarf dolphin Inermorostrum, the giant killer dolphin Ankylorhiza, and three species of the toothed baleen whale Coronodon. Bobby has taken great pains to make paleontology in Charleston accessible to the public and strongly believes that amateur 'citizen' scientists have an important, and underappreciated role in paleontology. He is also a natural history artist, painting marine animals and fossils. Bobby's favorite fossil is a partial skeleton of a pregnant fur seal he discovered in Santa Cruz (CA) while in college, found with associated bones of a near-term fetus.
Mike Stoller comes to the CFA team as someone who wears quite a few, colorful hats. He earned his B.S. in Geology from Indiana University, focusing primarily on the field of Paleontology. Over the years he’s studied and worked with everything from 450 myo Ordovician deposits in Ohio, to Pleistocene proboscideans from dig sites all across the globe. He’s even spent some time crawling around in caves, collecting fossilized owl pellets from a small island in The Bahamas. Mike has worked in various labs and museum collection spaces (IU, UofM Museum of Natural History, GRC San Salvador, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art). Mike's enthusiasm for the natural world and the SC Lowcountry is contagious, and a definite highlight during any adventure he leads! When he’s not in a kayak or hiking some backcountry trail, he spends most of his spare time drawing, painting, and dabbling in the art of photography. His favorite fossil is a partial mastodon tooth collected right here in SC at one of our favorite sites.
The silversmith behind CFA's fossil fine art jewelry line "MORPHOLOGIE" is Tracy Burlison. Tracy started out working with polymer clay jewelry in 2000, later transitioning to the torch-wielding art of silversmithing in 2007 after taking private lessons. Her previous work sold in the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC. After a short hiatus, she resumed her metal work in 2018 after a chance conversation with Ashby on Folly Beach, and thus, MORPHOLOGIE was born! Tracy's favorite fossils include a horse tooth that was "playing in the waves" at Folly, a near complete capybara molar, and a piece of bone chewed by a rodent prior to fossilization!