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To brighten its future, Bob Campbell Geology Museum turns to a dinosaur from the past
Time:02-08-2016  Hits:5

      CLEMSON — A titanic dinosaur that roamed North Dakota about 68 million years ago has a new home – in South Carolina.

      The fossil remains of a triceratops, one of the last great dinosaurs of the Cretaceous period, are on display at the Bob Campbell Geology Museum on the campus of Clemson University. Triceratops, which was a herbivore, grew to about 25 feet in length and weighed as much as 20,000 pounds. The size of its head ranked among the largest of all land animals, making up one-third the length of its body.

           Museum curator and seasoned paleontologist Adam Smith carefully prepares a triceratops fossil using a dental pick.

      The triceratops’ frill was first unveiled to the public July 23 when several hundred dinosaur lovers attended the grand opening of the museum’s new fossil preparation lab. The main portion of the lab is housed behind a pair of doors with large glass windows, enabling guests to watch Smith and geology students, such as Arthur Brown, a senior at Clemson, carefully remove plaster and rock to reveal the fossil. Large fossils are routinely encased in plaster casts so that they can be transported over rough terrain and long distances without damaging the precious, ancient and fragile skeletons.

      The Bob Campbell Geology Museum recently formed a working collaborative agreement with the North Dakota Geological Survey, which conducts extensive research to determine the types of climates and environments in which ancient animals lived. The state of North Dakota is rich with fossils from many geological time periods, including the Cretaceous (about 145 million to 65.5 million years ago) and Paleocene Epoch (65.5 million to 56 million years ago).

      In addition to the triceratops’ bones, the museum has also obtained fossil remains of a 32-million-year-old rhinoceros and a 62-million-year-old crocodile. Plans are in the works to hang life-sized versions of a Pterosaur — both skeletonized and fleshed-out — from the gallery’s ceiling. Other future projects will include reconstructions of 350-million-year-old scale trees that will extend from floor to ceiling, as well as a 12-foot-tall, eight-foot-wide megalodon shark jaw that will frame the new entranceway.

                                        Triceratops was one of the last great dinosaurs of the Cretaceous period.

      The nearest full-scale natural history museums to Clemson are in Columbia and Raleigh, making the Bob Campbell Geology Museum a unique resource in the Upstate. The museum is located on the grounds of the South Carolina Botanical Garden and is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. seven days a week. It houses more than 10,000 minerals, rocks and fossils from South Carolina and around the globe. Admission is free.

      “The museum is one-of-a-kind in our region and provides our citizens with the opportunity to interact and learn about the building blocks of the planet as well as our planet’s distant past,” said McMillan, the Emmy-award winning host of the popular ETV nature program “Expeditions with Patrick McMillan.” “The South Carolina Botanical Garden is very lucky to have such a resource on its campus. And because we are free, we depend on visitors’ generosity in terms of donations, our Friends of the Museum program and the revenue generated in the gift shop to keep our doors open. We hope you will come enjoy the museum soon.”

-------------This article was originally published by Jim Melvin

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