GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - When it comes to understanding the fossils of the Grand Canyon, a new book produced by the Grand Canyon Association may be a great place to start. Dave Thayer's newest book, An Introduction to Grand Canyon's Fossils, is designed for readers of all ages and is smartly detailed with photographs and diagrams explaining the area's rich fossil history. Thayer is the author of numerous Grand Canyon-related books, including A Guide to Grand Canyon Geology along the Bright Angel Trail, Field Guide to Geology along the Bright Angel Trail, and Checklist of the Wildlife of the Grand Canyon. His newest book, published by the Grand Canyon Association, was released in January.
"It's a book about all the Grand Canyon layers. Except for the bottom one they all have fossils. It's an introduction to all of those fossils that tries to show people kind of what they were like in the different ages that they lived," Thayer said.
The book offers readers a chance to understand the dynamic that changed a sea to the Grand Canyon, and much of the life that existed then. The book covers stromatolites in what's known as the Grand Canyon Supergroup, trilobites in the Kaibab Formation, and much more. It is available at most South Rim bookstores and through online retailers such as
Thayer majored in fossils and paleontology in college. He went to Arizona State University for a degree in geology, with a specialization in paleontology. It was his love for the field that brought him to the Grand Canyon area. He currently operates Canyon Dave Tours. Thayer runs the tour company with his wife Dora, nicknamed Dora the Explorer. The family moved to Williams about five years ago from the Grand Canyon, after his wife left her position with the National Park Service.
"We moved to Williams and we've been very happy here," Thayer said. "I've lived my whole life in Arizona."
Thayer said his background, and prior books he wrote on the Grand Canyon, made preparing for the fossil book an easy task.
"I don't really have to be prepared too much, because I taught geology at Yavapai College for about eight years. All of it just comes naturally, because I taught courses in all these topics," Thayer said. "I taught all the information and it was pretty easy to put it down and make a book out of it."
Nor is Thayer a stranger to the Canyon's rugged landscape, having hiked over 3,000 miles of terrain there over the years.
"What I like best is my history with the Grand Canyon. I've been hiking the Canyon since I was a kid. I kept a log of over 3,000 miles that I had hiked or backpacked down into the Canyon. I've just done it all my life," Thayer said.
His tours, which he offers from numerous locations, provide an ecological perspective to visitors in the area.
"We pick people up here in Williams, or also in Flagstaff of at the Grand Canyon, and take them on a nice tour of the Grand Canyon. It's very educational. We consider it somewhat of an eco-tour, which is a tour that emphasizes the natural history, the plants and animals and geology, and also pays attention to the native people. We go down to the Navajo Reservation," Thayer said. "We also have a tour of Sedona, which is very similar."