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Tons and Tons of Fossils

The long-necked Alamosaurus towers above other dinosaur exhibits at the Perot Museum of nature and science. Mark Knight Photography.
The long-necked Alamosaurus towers above other dinosaur exhibits at the Perot Museum of nature and science.
Mark Knight Photography.

Climate, Carbon & Geobiology

The Vertebrate Paleontology Lab (VPL) has received three major collections since the beginning of 2014, adding to one of the largest fossil collections in North America.

Among them are the Cretaceous sauropod dinosaur Alamosaurus bones the VPL loaned out several years ago. The bones were used to create the massive Alamosaurus display in the Perot Museum in Dallas. The fossils, which represent about one-third of the complete dinosaur, were discovered by noted University of Texas paleontolo­gist Wann Langston Jr. in the early 1970s and weigh about 12,000 pounds.

The second major collection was compiled over the course of about 30 years by biology professor Jon Baskin of Texas A&M University-Kingsville. It includes about 10,000 pounds of Pleistocene fossils, including mammoths, bison, horses, turtles and sloths.

The third large collection was made by Ken Barnes, an educator from west Texas, and includes Cretaceous dinosaur fossils, including a partially complete hadrosaur skeleton and a juvenile ceratopsian.

VPL researchers have also continued to conduct field work, collecting speci­mens for the lab from sites in Texas, New Mexico and other areas. In total, about 25,000 pounds of fossils have arrived since the beginning of 2014 for permanent curation in the facility.