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.