By Chauntelle Plewe
A prehistoric world exists at the BYU Earth Science Museum, featuring fossils quarried by BYU students and faculty.
“The reason why a lot of students come down here is because of the fascination for prehistoric life, life that no longer exists, life that we can see all around us here in the museum,” said Allen Shaw, Earth Science Museum lab technician. “It”s fascinating to see things that are extinct, and that can drive our imagination.”
Greeted by a 25-foot-long Camptosaurus, museum visitors travel through time, starting with trilobites in the oldest earth period and ending with the predecessors to mammals.
Fossils at the museum vary from skin imprints to full dinosaurs. For instance, the Allosaurus, mainly found in Utah and known as the Utah state fossil, is on display. A prehistoric fish hangs from the ceiling. The museum collection is made up of 10,000 dinosaur bones.
Two dinosaurs, Toryosaurus and Supersaurus, which were discovered and named by BYU geologists, are displayed in the museum.
The museum is expecting a new full-size dinosaur in the fall.
Most of the bones seen in the museum are plaster molds, but two complete dinosaurs are on display, named Edaphosaur and Dimetredon.
Children”s favorite feature is a mural of the Utah-Colorado region during the Jurassic Period.
Visitors can watch lab technicians delicately chisel plaster and rock from the fossils, hoping not to crack the brittle bones as they prepare fossils for display.
BYU students and faculty continue to find new bones in quarries in Utah and Colorado.
Shaw, who has worked for the museum for five years, has made many discoveries including skull material from Gastonea.
“It”s probably the discovery that is the most exciting part of being here,” Shaw said.
They have an overstock of bones waiting to be prepared for display. Some bones from the 1970s are finally being prepared.
The Earth Science Museum is located at 1683 Canyon Road. It is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free.