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Archive for Sunday, May 4, 2003

Hays history museum acquires Kansas fossils

May 4, 2003

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— Fossils believed to be the most complete dinosaur ever found in Kansas have found a new home at Fort Hays State University's Sternberg Museum of Natural History.

The Niobrarasaurus coleii was discovered in the chalkbeds of southeast Gove County in 1930 and spent the last several years in storage at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Mike Everhart, an adjunct curator of paleontology for Sternberg, convinced University of Missouri officials to donate the dinosaur to Sternberg, and the fossils were unveiled Thursday in their new home.

Pieces of the Niobrarasaurus coleii, about 60 percent complete, include rib fragments, three of its four limbs, parts of the skull, the pelvis and vertebrae.

Sternberg officials plan to recreate the skeleton of the Niobrarasaurus coleii before putting it on display.

"We've got an opportunity now to put it on exhibit," Everhart said. "Otherwise, it wouldn't have seen the light of day."

Jerry Choate, director of Sternberg Museum, said he expected the completion of the cast to take anywhere from two to five years.

Only 10 possible dinosaur fossils have been found in Kansas. All but two of those were in western Kansas, including one in Russell County.

Everhart said the "new" dinosaur at Sternberg, a short-legged herbivore that ate plants, died about 86 million years ago. He estimated its size at about 15 feet long and 2 to 3 tons in weight.

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