bio

 

ist list: paleontologist, geologist, biologist, environmentalist, computerist, istlistist

Playing pool, Plain Dealing, 2009

On Rush Creek, East Texas, 2007

Good friend: Laika, Golden Retriever (b. Sep 1999, d. Mar 2013)

In a Nutshell

 

I was raised in northwestern Louisiana, in the small town of Plain Dealing, Bossier Parish, which forms part of the region called the Ark-La-Tex. Early life was filled with fun experiences in the pine forests of the rolling hills and in the farm lands of the Red River Valley. My interest in science was a natural, but took a little "discovery." When I took a freshman geology class in college, I reacted with consternation: "Why didn't somebody tell me all this stuff!"

 

I taught at Centenary College of Louisiana, Lamar University, Texas A&M; Commerce, and the Univ. of Colorado at Denver. Presently, I work in software and media development, and have fingers in a few research pies.

Education

 

Ph.D., Geology, University of Texas at Austin, 1992

 

M.S., Geology, Southern Methodist University, 1984

 

B.S., Geology, Centenary College of Louisiana, 1981

Professional and Community Service

 

Big Thicket Association, Board Member, 2004-2009

 

President, Golden Triangle Audubon Society, 2006-2007

 

Vice President, Golden Triangle Audubon Society, 2004-2005

 

Clean Air and Water, Inc., Board Member, 2004-2006

 

Texas Academy of Science Annual Meeting Host Committee, 2006

 

Dinosaur Day (a hands-on community science education event), Helped out with Dr. Jim Westgate, Lamar students, local teachers and students, in this fun event held at the Texas Energy Museum, Beaumont, TX; attended by 1000-2000 children and parents each October, 1992-2008.

 

Chair, Geology Section, Texas Academy of Science Annual Meeting, 2003

 

Vice-Chair, Geology Section, Texas Academy of Science Annual Meeting, 2002

 

Chair, Systematics and Evolution Section, Texas Academy of Science Annual Meeting, 1995

Research Interests

 

Biology

 

This subject was always a big interest for me, but at the age of 45 I decided to get serious, and while still teaching geology full-time, dove into graduate biology coursework, which I enjoyed thoroughly. It has made me a much more confident thinker. "Modern" human-caused problems have been on my mind for years, and certainly were the focus when teaching Environmental Geography and Geology. It became evident to me that I might be effective at working on these problems, starting with the knowledge I have about the evolution and diversity of Life, and about such things as computer mapping and sedimentary geology, if knowledge about biology, especially field biology, is added to the mix. The coursework helped me learn so much about plants, animals, and ecology. During that period I hiked the units of the Big Thicket, and became especially familiar with the new northern units along the Neches River south of Town Bluff, and the lands to the west along Rush Creek.

 

Computer Programming and Mapping

 

I learned to program in C and C++ when working for a computer mapping company during graduate school, having had a little coursework in school (PL/1 and Fortran). That work involved writing software to help geologists map underground rock layers in the effort to find oil and gas deposits, mineral deposits, and water resources. After graduating and beginning my academic career, C and C+ were replaced by Java for programming efforts. Most recently programming work has extended to Python, especially for data manipulation and production of illustrations. For several years I've focused Internet work on Zope and Plone, which are web software systems, both written in Python. In 2009 I made my way into Objective-C and PyObjC for Mac OS X programming, and after that discovered the impact of javascript, node.js, and software systems built for web programming, where I now spend much of my time.

 

Stratigraphy

 

Much of my academic research has involved the study of sedimentary rock layers and their correlation using well logs, surface data, and fossils. One project, an offshoot of Master's thesis research, concentrated on mapping underground layers of anhydrite (similar to gypsum) in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Another involved the description of the Glen Rose Formation on outcrop across the central part of Texas, into Oklahoma and Arkansas. The distribution of dinosaur footprints on layers within the Glen Rose Formation and adjacent rock units was a big part of my dissertation, from which several research projects continued. Recent teaching has revitalized an appreciation for knowledge of local geology.

 

Paleontology

 

Most of my paleontological work has involved dinosaurs and other vertebrate animals. I have worked on significant excavations of hadrosaur bones from Upper Cretaceous rocks in Chihuahua, Mexico and of sauropod bones from Lower Cretaceous sandstone southwest of Fort Worth. I have also studied fossils from the Cretaceous of southwestern Arkansas, and from the Cretaceous of Colorado. Most recently, collections were made of Cretaceous shark and fish teeth from Arkansas. Several computer programming projects target items for biology and paleontology, notably a simple program called PhylogeneticTree, used for making web pages that show evolutionary history diagrams.

 

Vertebrate Ichnology

 

I started studying dinosaur footprints during Master's thesis research in Arkansas, when I found thousands of sauropod dinosaur ("brontosaur") footprints on limestone layers in an active gypsum quarry. Work on fossil footprints became a specialty, and in addition to Texas and adjacent states, this research has taken me across the American West, especially Colorado and Utah, and Mexico. In Mexico I worked as far south as Puebla, south of Mexico City. Most of this ichnological research has concerned the footprints of dinosaurs, but I have also investigated Permian fossil footprints from West Texas, made by pre-dinosaur age land animals.

Selected Publications

 

Pittman, J. G., 2005, Illustration Types in Plone, North American Plone Symposium, July, 2005, New Orleans, Louisiana. See the software folder of this website and the plone.org/products area for various software projects related to this presentation.

 

Pittman, J. G., 2005 (abstract for the Texas Academy of Science meeting March, 2005): A Python Program for Analysis and Plotting of Ecological Data.

 

Pittman, J. G., G. Bell, and Westgate, J. W., 2003, The Tokio Formatiom at Nashville, Arkansas. Texas Academy of Science 106th Annual Meeting, Nacogdoches, TX, Program and Abs., p. 66.

 

Pittman, J. G., Bell, G., Cifelli, R., Langston, W., Jr., 2002, Cretaceous Vertebrates of SE Oklahoma, SW Arkansas, and NE Texas, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Field Trip Guidebook for Annual Meeting.

 

Pittman, Jeffrey G., and Westgate, J. W., 1999, New Permian Footprint Localities at Twin Buttes Reservoir, San Angelo, Texas, Texas Academy of Science Annual Meeting; abstract.

 

Pittman, Jeffrey G., and Lockley, M. G., 1994, A review of sauropod dinosaur tracksites of the Gulf of Mexico Basin, in GAIA: Revista de Geociencias de Museu Nacional de Historia Natural, Lisbon, a special volume called "Aspects of Sauropod Paleobiology," p. 95-108.

 

Lockley, M. G., and Pittman, Jeffrey G., 1994, On the common occurrence of manus-dominated sauropod trackways in Mesozoic carbonates, in GAIA: Revista de Geociencias de Museu Nacional de Historia Natural, Lisbon, a special volume called "Aspects of Sauropod Paleobiology," p. 119-124.

 

Meyer, Christian A., and Pittman, Jeffrey G., 1994, A comparison between sauropod track-bearing facies of Portugal, Switzerland, and the Gulf of Mexico Basin, USA, in GAIA: Revista de Geociencias de Museu Nacional de Historia Natural, Lisbon, a special volume called "Aspects of Sauropod Paleobiology," p. 125-133.

 

Pittman, J. G., and D. D. Gillette, 1989. The Briar Site: a new sauropod tracksite in Lower Cretaceous beds of Arkansas, in Dinosaur Tracks and Traces, D. D. Gillette and M. G. Lockley, eds., Cambridge University Press, p. 313-332.

 

Pittman, J. G., 1989. Stratigraphy, lithology, depositional environment, and track type of dinosaur track-bearing beds of the Gulf Coastal Plain, in Dinosaur Tracks and Traces, D. D. Gillette and M. G. Lockley, eds., Cambridge University Press, p. 313-332.

 

Pittman, J. G., 1989. Stratigraphy of the Glen Rose Formation of the western Gulf Coastal Plain. Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Transactions, v. 247-264.

 

Farlow, J. O., J. G. Pittman, and J. M. Hawthorne, 1989. Brontopodus birdi , Lower Cretaceous sauropod footprints from the U.S. Gulf Coastal Plain, in Dinosaur Tracks and Traces, D. D. Gillette and M. G. Lockley, eds., Cambridge University Press, p. 371-394.

 

Pittman, J. G., 1985. Correlation of beds within the Ferry Lake Anhydrite of the Gulf Coastal Plain. Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Transactions, v. 35, p. 251-260.

 

Pittman, J. G., 1984. Geology of the De Queen Formation of Arkansas. Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Transactions, v. 34, p. 201-209.

Courses Taught

 

Physical Geology

Historical Geology

Integrated Science I & II

Structural Geology

Petroleum Structural Geology

Stratigraphy and Sedimentology

Physical Geography

Computers in Geology

Scientific Computing Using Python

Paleontology

Vertebrate Paleontology

Dinosaurs and Evolution

Dinosaurs of Texas

Environmental Geography and Geology

Natural History of the Big Thicket

Coastal Environmental Geology

Our Endangered Planet

Field Geology of Texas

Summer Field Camp (Sed-Strat/Mapping part)

Oceanography

Meteorology

Current Topics (Reading Seminar)

Computer Languages Used

 

1970s

 

PL/1, Fortran -- had classes in the late 1970's

 

1980s

 

C -- for general programming, and for DOS GUI, as proof of concept before turning to C++ and X/Motif

C++ -- for computer mapping and X/Motif GUI

Proprietary Macro -- for driving large gridding, grid operation, contouring, and display jobs in computer mapping

 

1990s to mid-2000s

 

Java -- for a substantial desktop app and Java Server Pages development

Visual Basic -- for a business app, and for programming Microsoft Word for dissertation

 

mid 2000s - Present

 

Python for general purpose and scientific programming, for Pyramid, Kotti, Kivy, etc.

Javascript -- mainly with SproutCore and Thoth

Node -- with Thoth and command-line tools associated with SproutCore development

Coffeescript -- for build tools for SproutCore development, for node.js command line tools

Objective-C -- for development of Mac and iOS apps before turning to Swift

Swift -- for current (2014-2016) development of Mac and iOS apps