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UW to Celebrate National Fossil Day With Activities, Speaker Oct. 16

October 10, 2013
People observing dinosaur skeleton
Visitors to the UW Geological Museum observe an Apatosaurus skeleton. The museum hosts an open house to recognize National Fossil Day Oct. 16. (UW Photo)

The public is invited to take a trip back in time to celebrate National Fossil Day at the University of Wyoming’s Geological Museum Wednesday, Oct. 16, from 4-6 p.m.

Visitors can explore mammal and bird skulls -- both modern and fossil -- as well as ancient plants when dinosaurs ruled the earth. There also will be opportunities to learn how paleontologists prepare fossil specimens, and patrons can touch real fossils and participate in self-guided activities. There will be coloring stations and puzzles for children.

The open house is free to all ages.

“Our goal in organizing this event is for visitors to gain a deeper appreciation for the fossil wealth of our state, and a better understanding of how important these fossils are in helping scientists interpret major events in Earth history, including the evolution and diversification of life on our planet,” says Mark Clementz, interim director of UW’s Geological Museum and an associate professor of paleobiology in the Department of Geology and Geophysics.

Brian Switek, a freelance science writer and dinosaur aficionado, will be the event’s guest speaker. His talk is scheduled at 6 p.m. in room 216 of the Geology Building. His books include “My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science and Our Favorite Dinosaurs” and “Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record and Our Place in Nature.”

In addition to the hundreds of essays he has written for the blogs Laelaps and Dinosaur Tracking, Switek also has contributed articles to Slate, the Wall Street Journal, Nature, Scientific American, New Scientist, Times of London, Smithsonian, WIRED Science, ScienceNOW, the Guardian and numerous academic journals, according to his website.

National Fossil Day was established to promote the educational and scientific value of fossils. The event first took place in 2010 during Earth Science Week.

For more information, email or visit

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