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News Release, Kansas Geological Survey, Aug 20, 2002

New Poster Features Kansas Fossils

LAWRENCE--Kansas fossils, including drawings of large animals that once roamed or swam in the state, are featured in a new poster available from the Kansas Geological Survey, based at the University of Kansas, and the KU Natural History Museum.

The full-color poster features information about 29 plants and animals that formed some of the most interesting or common fossils in the state. One side of the poster includes drawings of these plants and animals as they might have appeared in life, based on evidence from the fossil record.

The poster features some of the large vertebrates (or animals with backbones) that lived during the Cretaceous Period of geologic history, about 80 million years ago. These include sharks, giant sea turtles, gliding reptiles called pterosaurs, as well as huge swimming reptiles called mosasaurs and plesiosaurs.

The poster also depicts some common invertebrates, or animals without backbones, many of which lived in the shallow seas that covered the state beginning about 320 million years ago. These include trilobites, crinoids (a relative of the starfish), and brachiopods (which leave behind fossils that resemble sea shells). More recent inhabitants of the state, such as the land-dwelling mammoths and mastodons that became extinct roughly 10,000 years ago, are also shown.

The drawings are arranged on a geologic map of the state that shows approximately where these fossils are commonly found.

The back side of the poster provides additional information, including explanatory text about each of the plants and animals depicted, photographs of the fossils, and a geologic time scale.

Text for the poster was written by Survey assistant editor Liz Brosius and by Jama Kolosick, director of public education at the KU Natural History Museum. The drawings are by Survey graphic artist Jennifer Sims. Survey photographer John Charlton provided photographs. Most of the fossils depicted are from the museum's paleontology research collections.

"For the past few decades, the general public and educators have wanted a poster to help Kansans understand and appreciate the spectacular fossil history of the state," said Kolosick. "We hope anyone who is interested in fossils or loves Kansas history will enjoy this poster."

The poster measures 19 by 32 inches. The cost of the poster is $5.00, plus shipping and handling. Copies are available from the Survey (1930 Constant Ave., Lawrence, KS 66047-3726; phone: 785-864-2157; email: and the Natural History Museum gift shop (1345 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045-7561; phone: 785-864-4450).

Story by Rex Buchanan, 785-864-2106
For more information, contact Liz Brosius (785-864-2063) or Jama Kolosick (785-864-2106)
Kansas Geological Survey, Public Outreach