Located in Laramie, Wyoming the University of Wyoming Geological Museum showcases numerous displays to show the past environments of Wyoming. Visitors will be impressed with the Apatosaurus skeleton standing seventy-five feet that is considered the highlight of the exhibit hall. Thousands of visitors from all over the world visit Wyoming’s “Jurassic Park” annually.
About the Museum
Preschool to college age students take part in the over one hundred tours that are given every year. Young children are provided with the opportunity to explore and cultivate their love for dinosaurs. The museum also helps enhance class lessons for the instructors and students of the University of Wyoming in art, history, biology, and geology,
They Geological Museum is a resource that can be tapped into by people all over the world due to technological advances that allow magazines, newspapers, and tv programs to be uploaded to the internet for anyone to enjoy. The web page run by the museum keeps the public updated about it’s activities and exciting new research. It uses new techniques in the research projects it takes part in, like those utilized at the Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite and other important dinosaur finds close to Shell, Wyoming. Projects like these offer unique chances for those researching vertebrate paleontology.
The University of Wyoming Geological Museum offers several exhibits for visitors to enjoy.
Prep Lab- The Fossil Prep Lab is part of the renovations to the museum and was planned as a working exhibit. Large windows surround the lab for visitors to watch the preparation of fossils in action and one of the windows slides open to allow those who wish to ask questions. The lab is made up of four bench work stations, each equipped with electricity, portable fume hoods, and compressed air. There is also a separate station that is used for work on large field jackets equipped with electricity and compressed air. Several continuous projects are happening in the lab such as the large jackets from the Laramie Pipeline Dinosaur project. Restoration work on the museum’s older specimens also takes place here.
Wyoming in the Late Cretaceous- This exhibit features natural history and fossils from Wyoming in the Late Cretaceous period.
Allosaurus (Big Al)- The Allosaurus skeleton, also known as “Big Al” represents the most common big carnivore in the Late Jurassic of North America. It was smaller than it’s ancestor of the Cretaceous, the Tyrannosaurus. The skeleton on display in the museum exhibits evidence of injuries that may have caused its death at a young age.
Apatosaurus- The Apatosaurus skeleton represents the sauropod group of dinosaurs. It was an herbivore and one of the largest animals to ever live on land. The displayed skeleton is around seventy-five feet long and weighs around twenty-five tons. It is only about sixty percent complete.
Diatryma Gigantea- This skeleton is not considered a dinosaur but rather a prehistoric bird. It was the descendent of the theropod dinosaur group is considered to be a large ground-dwelling bird. Most paleontologist think of Diatryma as a carnivore, but some argue that it was an herbivore.
Stegosaurus- The skeleton of the herbivore was discovered in the Morrison Formation.
Triceratops- This skeleton represents one of the most common dinosaurs that are found in the fossil record at the end the Cretaceous Period. It’s most noticeable features the two brow horns on top of it’s head, the nasal horn and it’s bony frill. Evidence from fossils corroborates the idea that its head armor was used as a mating display and in ritualized combat. Triceratops powerful jaws and elongated blade-like teeth provide evidence it was an herbivore.
Tyrannosaurus Rex- This skeleton represents the biggest carnivore throughout the time of the dinosaurs. It is thought that the T-Rex was a scavenger as well as an active hunter. It was one of the last dinosaurs that lived in the Mesozoic Era. The museum’s current research suggests that the Tyrannosaurus should be portrayed as an active graceful carnivore rather than the bulky tail-dragging dinosaur it has been shown as in the past.
The museum offers educational opportunities to researchers, teachers, and students.
Researchers- Access is granted to researchers to the Geological Museum’s Collection of Fossil Vertebrates.
Teachers- Teachers can call and schedule a guided tour for their classes, though the size is limited to twenty students or less. After the guided tour, students are given the opportunity to explore the museum on their own. The museum also offers the software and instructions for free for those who wish to build an augmented reality sandbox. The sandbox is displayed using a projector and Xbox Kinect to show topographic contour maps on the surface of the sand in real time.
1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071, Phone: 307-766-1121
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