Advertisement

Archive for Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Natural History Museum on fossil hunt

Public invited to bring in specimens for evaluation, view collection at KU

October 17, 2007

Advertisement

What on Earth?

Curator and Professor of Vertebrate Paleontology Larry Martin describes some of the fossils found in the area. Enlarge video

KU Natural History Museum to host antique fossil roadshow

On Sunday, the KU Natural History Museum will host 'What on Earth?' - a kind of antique roadshow for some of the oldest relics found in Kansas. Enlarge video

The skull of a Dolichorhynchops bonneri is one of dozens of specimens that will make their public debut on Sunday at the Kansas University Natural History Museum. The giant reptile roamed the Earth's oceans about 80 million years ago.

The skull of a Dolichorhynchops bonneri is one of dozens of specimens that will make their public debut on Sunday at the Kansas University Natural History Museum. The giant reptile roamed the Earth's oceans about 80 million years ago.

In the basement of Kansas University Natural History Museum, paleontologist David Burnham, left, and Larry Martin, professor and senior curator of vertebrate paleontology, view a backbone of a mosasaur and the back paddle of Dolichorhynchops bonneri, a giant seagoing reptile from about 80 million years ago. Dozens of never-before-seen fossilized specimens will be on display Sunday at the museum.

In the basement of Kansas University Natural History Museum, paleontologist David Burnham, left, and Larry Martin, professor and senior curator of vertebrate paleontology, view a backbone of a mosasaur and the back paddle of Dolichorhynchops bonneri, a giant seagoing reptile from about 80 million years ago. Dozens of never-before-seen fossilized specimens will be on display Sunday at the museum.

Kansas University's Natural History Museum wants a look at the artifacts people may have collected from the banks of local rivers.

From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, the museum will display its collection of fossils and rocks from the Kansas Geological Survey and evaluate items brought in by the public.

Larry Martin, professor and senior curator of vertebrate paleontology, said Kansas is one of the best places to find large fossils. On Tuesday, he was showing off massive bear, lion and tiger fossils found along the banks of the Kansas River by amateur fossil hunters.

"Most of what we know about the ice age in Kansas is based on fossils people brought us," Martin said. "Ninety percent of the time it's going to be exactly what you think it is: a cow or the neighbor's pony. But maybe 1 percent of the time, you may find something that's really interesting."

The femur of an ancient - and extinct - bear that would have stood at least 7 feet tall was an example of that sort of find. Martin said massive bones like that are often found in Kansas, indicating that animals in this part of the ancient world, probably about 15,000 years ago, were for some reason larger than relatives a few hundred miles away. He also showed the head of a saber-toothed cat with a tooth perhaps 8 inches long.

"These animals were all living together around Lawrence. If you lived here 15,000 years ago, this is what you would have had to chase out of your garden," Martin said.

Museum spokeswoman Jen Humphrey said the event would also be a chance for visitors to see parts of the museum's collection that are not often on display. The event will be in the panorama area of the museum.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.