Friday, November 2, 2012
Utah Travelogue Part 3: CEU Prehistoric Museum
new directorship under renowned paleontologist Kenneth Carpenter. I knew he took over the position as director of the museum a couple years ago, and I'm glad he's using his position to ensure the museum is kept up-to-date. I admit I was mildly disappointed to find that not everything was in place, but I was determined not to let that ruin my visit, and I'm glad to say it didn't. Besides, it gives me a reason to visit again in the future.
The centerpiece of the paleontology hall is what is referred to the "kitty litter box," a sand-filled display area with mounted skeletons of the Jurassic dinosaurs Allosaurus, Camarasaurus, Stegosaurus, and Camptosaurus. Unfortunately, this section was the subject of much of the renovation. Most of the sand had been removed, and most of the skeletons were not mounted in their final positions. Only the Allosaurus was left standing, although this was hardly something to complain about, since it's a pretty cool mount, as can be seen in the picture above. I especially like the way the right foot is gripping the large femur. The Camarasaurus and Stegosaurus skeletons were laid out on the floor in the general position they occupied in the old "litter box," which was apparently to make them seem like carcasses. It was nice to still get to see these bones, even if they weren't remounted in their exhibit yet. The Camptosaurus was in in the lab, being remounted into a new, more accurate position (but read on).
Theiophytalia skull of the old mount, especially since Carpenter was coauthor of the paper that corrected the problem.
There was also a display case covering the topic of the extinction of the dinosaurs. There wasn't much new to me there, but I like how they listed aliens as an unlikely cause of the extinction, despite the fact that it reminded my of that dreadful episode of Ancient Aliens. Next to this display was some material covering some of the local Cenozoic paleontology. I admit I'm not insanely thrilled by Cenozoic stuff, being mainly a Mesozoic guy, but it's still nice to see it acknowledged, since it is still part of Earth's history.
After we were done with the exhibits, we of course had to get some souvenirs at the gift shop. I got a museum T-shirt and a copy of Mesozoic Vertebrate Life, of which Carpenter was an editor.
Overall, I highly recommend the CEU Prehistoric Museum. It has many interesting exhibits and the renovations definitely give something to look forward to. Between this museum and Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, I think Price is rivaled only by Vernal as Utah's "Dinosaur Town." And speaking of Vernal...
To be continued in part 4...