Fossil Friday - Introducing a New Feature

Good afternoon, and welcome to Fossil Friday. I've dabbled a bit with the feature before - mainly as a way of playing catchup for missed features earlier in the week. But I am going to go ahead and formalize it this week. In a lot of our other posts, we cover whole skeletons at different museums. For Fossil Friday, we'll do just what the name implies, and focus a little more closely on individual fossils. To kick the feature off, we're going to take a closer look at the very first Triceratops fossil to be displayed.

The University of Kansas Natural History Museum is on the campus of its namesake college in Lawrence, KS. There are a number of notable fossils displayed here, including the very first Triceratops skull to be placed on display. The skull and other elements were discovered in Wyoming by a university expedition in July of 1895. Its worth mentioning that eventual T.rex discoverer and noted paleontologist Barnum Brown, and Field Museum curator Elmer Riggs were among the UofK students that participated in the expedition.

After excavation, the skull was shipped by train back to Lawrence, where it was prepared and placed in display later in the year. At that point, Triceratops was only six years removed from its discovery and naming, and the public was awed by the wondrous beast. An argument can also be made that the discovery helped propel the careers of Brown and Riggs, both of whom became well known for their work in the field. 

The University of Kansas Natural History Museum is on the grounds of the University's campus in Lawrence, KS. In addition to a robust collection of dinosaur fossils (including Lucy, a T.rex previously featured here) there are a number of Kansas native ocean going reptile fossils, and an impressive collection of mammals and birds. It's free to visit, but donations are accepted.

Thanks for reading, and we'll see you tomorrow with another new occasional feature. Until then, happy wanderings!

Triceratops skull and vertebrae displayed along with other fossils at the Kansas University Museum of Natural History in Lawrence, KS.

Triceratops skull and vertebrae displayed along with other fossils at the Kansas University Museum of Natural History in Lawrence, KS.