Highway paleontologist to discuss Nebraska fossil discoveries Feb. 24
Released on 02/17/2011, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011
WHERE: University of Nebraska State Museum, Morrill Hall, south of 14th and Vine Streets [map]
The University of Nebraska State Museum will host a family-friendly event about the Nebraska Highway Paleontology Program 5:30-7 p.m. Feb. 24 at Morrill Hall. Museum visitors will go on a virtual "road trip" through the state as they investigate prehistoric animals uncovered during road construction over the past 50 years.
Morrill Hall, south of 14th and Vine streets on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln City Campus offers free admission Thursday nights in February in celebration of the museum's 140th anniversary. Morrill Hall will be open free of charge to visitors from 4:30-8 p.m. this day. After February, Morrill Hall will continue to be open until 8 p.m. Thursdays, but beginning March 3, regular admission will be charged.
The presentation, "Nebraska's Highway Paleontology Program: Road to destruction or path to preservation?" will be given by highway paleontologist Shane Tucker, who has worked for the State Museum for 15 years. He will highlight the spectacular discoveries unearthed through the program, a collaborative effort between the museum and the Nebraska Department of Roads. From a 40-foot-long sea lizard that swam in the ocean covering Nebraska during the Age of Dinosaurs to a 23 million-year-old sling-shot horned deer that lived in the state's Panhandle -- the program has salvaged more than 200,000 irreplaceable scientific treasures that would have otherwise been paved over. The Highway Paleontology Program was established in 1960 and was the first of its kind in the United States.
Visitors will have the opportunity to watch Tucker perform fossil preparation from 5:30-6:15 p.m. on a 6 million-year-old giant land tortoise discovered near Kimball in 2009. Tucker's presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Elephant Hall gallery. Seating is limited.
The exhibit "Highway Paleontology: Life in the Past Lane" featuring the program's most exceptional fossil finds will remain on display through Sept. 30 at Morrill Hall.
For more information on Nebraska's Highway Paleontology Program, visit www.museum.unl.edu/research/vertpaleo/highwaysalvage/index.html and www.nebraskatransportation.org/environment/archeo-paleo.htm.
Established in 1871, the University of Nebraska State Museum is celebrating its 140th anniversary with special promotions and educational events throughout the year. Regular museum hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday; 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursdays; and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults (19 and over), $3 for children (5-18 years, 4 and under are free), and $10 for families (up to two adults and children). UNL staff, faculty and students are admitted free with valid NU ID. Parking is free.
WRITERS: Shane Tucker and Dana Ludvik
News Release Contacts:
- Dana Ludvik, Public Relations Coordinator, State Museum
phone: (402) 472-3779
Associated Media Files:
- University of Nebraska State Museum Highway Paleontologists Shane Tucker and Bruce Bailey remove a field jacket as construction is completed on the Gering South project. (Photo courtesy of Craig Lind, Nebraska Department of Roads.)
- University of Nebraska State Museum Highway Paleontologist Shane Tucker excavates the skull of an extremely rare deer on the Gering South project. It is estimated to be 20-23 million years old.