Families and FHE groups crowded the Museum of Paleontology last month to experience “Family Night” at the museum.
The museum provides opportunities for families and visitors to explore minerals, fossils and dinosaur remains displayed at the museum.
“It’s BYU’s best kept secret,” said Josh Cotton, a paleo-artist who works in the museum. “It’s a great place to come and hang out and learn about dinosaurs. Most people have no idea that right across from the football stadium there is a lineup that could devour the entire offensive line like a can of Pringles. It’s a blast, come on by.”
The exhibits feature fossils dating back to between approximately 65 and 210 million years ago from the Mesozoic Era. Students of all ages visit the museum to learn about the Earth’s past and the animals and plants that once lived here.
Thousands of dinosaur bones and extinct mammal fossils are stored in the museum collections for research. Unfortunately, only about one percent can be displayed.
Some of the dinosaurs exhibited, like Allosaurus and Triceratops, are classics to dinosaur enthusiasts, while others like Abydosaurus and Teratophoneus were just recently named. BYU scientists continue to discover, prepare and research new dinosaur remains from the Intermountain West.
“There are hours upon hours of work done back there and it just astounds me . . . how much effort has been put into doing all of this,” said Britta Grubham, a student lab technician at the museum. “It’s just amazing how many years they’ve been doing this and how much is still being discovered.”
Lab technicians utilize a 3-D scanner to analyze dinosaur bones and the surface data of rocks. Cotton, a senior majoring in illustration, is currently studying a rock found near Vernal, Utah, containing the bones of a new dinosaur that lived during the early Jurassic period.
The museum will remain open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during December, except for University holidays. Tours can be scheduled by contacting museum curator and manager, Rod Scheetz at 801-422-3680.
“A lot of people, when they come, they say it’s a lot bigger than they thought it was going to be,” Grubham said. “We are always putting up new things. It’s kind of exciting to see all the different old life forms.”