The Miocene of the Dominican Republic is probably best known for the amber deposits. These have not only produced beautiful amber, which is used in jewelry, but also a number of fossil taxa have been described based on remains entombed in the amber. These fossils consist mostly of invertebrates, however, several vertebrates have been described as well, including anoles, frogs, and an insectivore. This gives us a glimpse into the smaller fauna that inhabited the island during the Miocene, in contrast to what is known from the same age in Puerto Rico and Cuba where most of the vertebrate fossils of that age consist of larger animals (sloths, rodents, primates, sirenians, crocodylians and turtles). A good summary of the vertebrates known from the Tertiary of the Greater Antilles can be found in table 1 of MacPhee et al. (2003) (free download here).
One of our first excursions into the Miocene was on a Wednesday afternoon. We spent the morning collecting the last samples from one of the outcrops of the Hatillo Limestone and some rudists from near the entrance of a cave in that same limestone unit. We then headed west towards the Monte Plata Province where we knew there was a new road cut exposing units of Miocene age.
The first outcrop of the Miocene that we visited. This is actually one of the best Miocene outcrops I've seen in a while.
By the time we got there it was near the middle of the afternoon, which meant we didn’t had much sunlight left. We stopped in the first large outcrop we saw (Picture above) and it was worth it! We quickly started finding turtle shell fragments, and occasionally we saw cross sections of turtle shells that went into the outcrop. I decided to collect one of these. It was not big, and as I found out after prep work, not too good (see pictures below). However, it was worth going there, as there is more material to be found and collected!