The book is here! Available now at the Tate Museum and other fine Wyoming retailers.
"Dee and the Mammoth" is a children's book written by Gene Gagliano of Buffalo, WY and illustrated by Zak Pullen of Casper. It is inspired by the discovery of Dee the Mammoth, but in this story, Dee is a little girl who tells a story about a mammoth through letters from her dad who is working on a mammoth dig. The book also includes a DVD which features an audio version of the book, and a doumentary film about the Tate Museum's Dee the Mammoth.
Ralph’s Books, 215 S. Montana Ave., Casper, WY 82609, 307-234-0308
Wind City Books, 152 S. Center St., Casper, WY 82601, 307-315-6003
Campbell County Rockpile Museum, 900 W. Second St., Gillette, WY, 82716-3405, 307-682-5723
Ft. Caspar Museum, 4001 Ft. Caspar Rd., Casper, WY, 82604, 307-235-8462
Nicolaysen Art Museum, 400 E. Collins Dr., Casper, WY, 82601, 307-235-5247
Dinosaur Journey, 550 Jurassic Ct., Fruita, CO 970-434-9814
Washakie Museum, 2200 Big Horn Ave., Worland, WY 307-347-4102
Wholesale orders can be made by visiting this site and downloading the form, then sending it to the Tate Museum at the address on the form. We also have five of Zak's original paintings for the book on display in the museum for a little while. Come in and see them. They are fantastic.
History of the Museum
The Tate Geological Museum was founded in 1980 through a gift from Marion and Inez Tate. It was originally designated as the Tate Earth Science Center and Mineralogical Museum. Because ‘geological' encompasses earth science, mineralogy and paleontology, the name was changed to the Tate Geological Museum in 2001.
Located on the Casper College campus, the museum is a great resource to the community. Many local schools and groups come to the museum to add to their students learning experience.
One of a minute number of geology and paleontology museums in Wyoming, the Tate houses a collection of over 3000 fossil and mineral specimens. Museum staff are always on hand to answer questions, help identify items visitors bring in, and make your visit to the museum an enjoyable experience. The Tate is certainly a great addition to anyone's list of 'must see sites' when traveling through Wyoming.
Deanna K. Schaff Tate Geological Museum Director | Weblink |
Deanna’s road to being Director of the Tate Museum is certainly not the one most traveled. The journey started with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Education and for most of the time, with some extended side trips, she was a 7-12 mathematics and science teacher in eastern Colorado. After finishing a Masters Degree at the University of Wyoming, Deanna moved to Casper to manage the Math Learning Center and teach math. She then became a part time administrator as the Physical Science Division Chair and during this time was a member of the Tate Museum advisory board. Beginning in 2009 she became the interim Director of the Tate Museum and in June of 2010 was made the permanent director of the museum. Away from the museum most of her time is spent involved with her husband, Bob, two sons and five grandchildren.
Russell graduated from the University of Colorado in 1991 with a degree in fine art. His artwork has appeared in the America's Smithsonian anniversary traveling exhibition, in "Islands in the Cosmos: The Evolution of Life on Land" by Dr. Dale A. Russell, in "Oceans of Kansas" by Michael Everhart, and several issues of Prehistoric Times magazine. Aside from being the Tate Geological Museum's Educational Specialist, Russels also gives tours, writes articles for the museum newsletter, and produces illustrations for the museum displays.
J.P. is the Field Operations Specialist, Collections Manager and Prep Lab Manager for the museum. JP came to Casper in 2004 from Laramie. Before coming to the Tate, he worked on and off in paleontology for 14 years, doing field work as well as a two year post as the collections manager for the University of Wyoming Department of Geology and Geophysics. He has had the good fortune of having been invited to join international paleontological expeditions to Mongolia, Niger (twice), Tanzania (twice) and North Dakota. In his spare time JP collects fossils, watches birds and plays hockey.
Patti graduated from Texas Tech University in 2009 with a Master’s degree in Museum Science, with a focus on exhibits and collections. Her undergraduate degree in Anthropology is from Texas A&M University where she focused on the curation of archaeological collections. Patti has helped the museum update old exhibits and install new ones, most notably the Pleistocene exhibit, featuring Dee the Mammoth. In addition to her Tate Museum duties, Patti also works in conjunction with the Werner Wildlife Museum, also located on campus.
Dr. Kent Sundell
Tate Geological Museum Curator
| Weblink |
(800) 442-2963 ext. 2498
Geology allows Dr. Sundell to be outdoors and apply a broad knowledge of science (chemistry, physics, biology, math) towards a better understanding of our Earth. From the historical and esoteric (paleontology, plate tectonics, paleomagnetism, climate change) to the practical application of finding a high paying job (oil, gas, and mineral exploration, geophysics, geochemistry, geohydrology, environmental geology), geology makes life fun and mentally stimulating.
Melissa has been a student of Earth Science all her life. She joined the Tate Geological Museum crew in 1992 as a volunteer while going to school full time. She has worked her way up from being a volunteer, lab manager, geology instructor, and Director to Curator. Melissa loves to discover new things and promotes an appreciation for the natural world. She has a Master’s Degree in Geology with an emphasis in stratigraphy and paleoecology. She has worked in the field for 16 years with various institutions. Although she has a special fondness for sauropods, she delights in the study of any rock or fossil and shares that enthusiasm with her students and colleagues.
Volunteering at the Museum
Volunteers often represent a large portion of any museums work force. Here at the Tate Geological Museum, we offer a variety of activities for those that are interested in taking part.
Many of our current volunteers assist with display construction, helping out in the gift shop, giving tours, and also working in the fossil preparation lab--just to name a few. Come on up and see if the Tate might be the place for you.
All members to the Tate Museum receive the bi-monthly Tate Museum newsletter, Tate Museum Geological Times, and a membership gift card that is good for a 10% discount at the museum gift shop during their membership.
Members may sign-up on an individual or business basis
Info on the 2014 Summer Digs can be found by clicking the gray "Tate Summer Digs" tab below.
The Annual Tate Conference is scheduled for June 6-8, 2014. The theme this year is Prehistoric Predators. Details including registration forms can be found under the gray "Annual Summer Conference" tab below.
Saturday Club Advanced Schedule
$5.00 per person, ages 8 years old and older
10:30 am until 11:30 a.m, usually on the first Saturday of the month
January 5th, 2013: CyberLife
In this session we look at how computer programs, including John Conway’s "Life" and Richard Dawkin’s "The Blind Watchmaker" illustrate how simple sets of rules can lead to extremely complex designs, including patterns capable of reproducing themselves. Create your own Life form and see how long it survives!
February 2nd, 2013: Fossil Snakes and other Reptiles
We discuss the differences between reptiles and mammals, and show how reptiles are classified on the basis of the holes in their skulls. We also measure out the lengths of prehistoric reptiles on the sidewalk so that students can see how big they actually were.
March 2nd, 2013: Fossil Birds
We show how to calculate a bird’s aspect ratio, and discuss the relationship between a bird’s aspect ratio and its lifestyle. We measure the aspect ratios of some extinct species to see whether they were flapping woodland dwellers or efficient open air gliders.
April 6th, 2013: Water Dwellers - the Amphibians Who Left and Reptiles Who Returned
We discuss the adaptations that allowed the first amphibians to leave the water to pursue a life on land. We calculate the fineness ratio of various aquatic reptiles to see which were capable of sustained high-speed swimming in the open ocean.
May 4th, 2013: Segmentation and the Origin of Multicellular Life
We show how evolving life forms were able to use repetition of elements to more efficiently build bigger bodies, from the first multi-celled organisms to segmented trilobites. Students are shown how to draw trilobites, too.
Summer: No Saturday Club
September 7th, 2013: Swimmers/Weighing Dinosaurs
This month we learn about the fossil history of the most successful vertebrates ever – the fishes. Students are taught how fishes are divided into 3 major groups, and construct their own fish skeletons out of cardboard. We also use the principle of volumetric displacement on scale models of dinosaurs to determine how much the actual animal weighed in life.
October 5th, 2013: Geology Field Trip
In this session we take a trip to a local outcrop to hunt for real minerals or fossils!
November 2nd, 2013: Plate Tectonics
December 14th, 2013: Ornamental Dinosaurs
In this free Saturday Club, which is part of our annual Xmas Open House, we make our own dinosaur ornaments to liven up the holiday season!
Tate Summer Digs
2014 Field Expeditions
We have not yet planned the fun for 2014. Email me if you would like to be sent a message when we do have it figured out. Meanwhile, below is the 2013 schedule just for your perusal.
2013 Field Expeditions
We are offering three weeks of Field Expeditions in 2013:
June 10 though 14
July 9 through 13
September 9 through 13
The goals of Tate Geological Museum paleontology field trips are to offer fun educational experiences while building up the museum’s collections for display and/or research. The popular summer dinosaur digs will again be available for interested members of the public. Registration will be through the museum and CEU credit will be available upon request. The fee this year will be $800/person. This includes six nights of lodging, six dinners, five field lunches, four continental breakfasts at the hotel in Lusk, snacks and soft drinks/water, and all ground transportation from Casper. Click on the graphic below to see more details and to register for a dig.
2013 Field Expeditions
The goals of Tate Geological Museum paleontology field trips are to offer fun, educational experiences to the public while building up the museum’s collections for display and/or research. The popular summer dinosaur digs will again be available in the summer of 2013. Registration will be through the museum and CEU credit will be available upon request. The fee this year will be $800/person. This includes six nights of lodging, six dinners, five field lunches, four continental breakfasts at the hotel in Lusk (and still working out the details in Medicine Bow), snacks and soft drinks/water, and all ground transportation from Casper.
A non-refundable deposit of $400 per person is required upon registration to hold your place. The balance of the fee is due no later than 60 days prior to the start of the dig.
The minimum age for participation is 16 (16 and 17-year-olds must be accompanied by an adult participant.)
We will be doing three dig weeks this summer, the first dig on June 10-14, the second dig July 9-13 and the third dig September 9-13. Fossils collected remain property of the Tate Museum, although participants are usually allowed to bring home a few samples of bone. Additionally, a Tate Museum volunteer photographer typically documents the dig and shares photos with participants.
The first week we will be returning to the Morrison Formation at Como Bluff. The Tate Museum dug here back in the 1990’s and has since taken a hiatus. We are going back. There are several dinosaur sites on this ranch, and a microsite. The microsite will be a priority as will some of the dinosaur sites, but we have not yet decided which dinosaur sites. (For those who have been there in the 90’s, we will probably not work on the Nail site yet). We will stay in a hotel in either medicin Bow or Rock River.
The second and third digs will be at the Meadow Ranch in eastern Wyoming, digging in the late Cretaceous Lance Formation. We have been collecting on this ranch for seven years and still have a lot to do there. The primary plan of the two Lance Formation digs will be to continue exposing bones and collecting a hadrosaur skeleton at Merle's Site. We discovered this site in 2005, worked it a little that year and returned last year. We had hoped to collect some of the bones last year, but in the week we were there, we kept running into more bones, so very little was actually collected. This year we hope to find more bones and to collect most of the bones . There are other sites we may explore as well, including microsites (locally rich accumulations of small fossils), and we may find some time for prospecting. As a special treat, the second dig will be staying in Lusk during Lusk's annual festival, the Legend of Rawhide. The website there is not updated for 2013 yet, but you'll get the idea... the cost of Rawhide is NOT included in the cost of the dig. I personally think Rawhide is a wonderful small town America pageant.
Below are some photos from the 2012 dig at The Merle Site
Tate Museum Diggers discussing Life (or maybe the World Series) while digging up Merle’s bones. September 2012.
The Superheroine known as Dr. Jane overlooking Merle’s femur, pubis and other bones. Early in the dig, September 2012.
Merle's pubis bone exposed and ready to collect... or not... we found more bones around this bone as we were readying it for the plaster jacket, for example you can see a vertebrae beginning to be exposed just below the handle of the whisk broom. So it is still out there at The Merle Site. September 2012.
A series of articulated caudal vertebrae (toe bones) being exposed... these were found on the last day last year... they remain to be colletced in 2013. September 2012.
The trips are run by the museum’s field operations and prep lab manager, JP Cavigelli. JP’s expertise has led to his participation in numerous paleontological expeditions throughout the West as well as in Niger, Mongolia, and Tanzania. JP’s most recent project was leading the excavation and preparation of Lee Rex, the Tate Museum's Tyrannosaurus rex, currently being prepared by Tate volunteers.
Accommodations in Casper are included on the Sunday evening prior to the dig (Monday night for the second dig) and the Friday evening (Saturday evening for the second dig) after the dig at a Casper hotel. The hotel offers a free shuttle to and from Casper-Natrona County International Airport. Complimentary transportation to the museum before and after the dig can also be arranged. Accomodationsduring the week of the dig are included in the cost of the trip. The hotel in Lusk offers continental breakfast. The hotel’s indoor pool and hot tub are always welcome after a hard day in the field. All hotel accommodations are double occupancy. Roommates are assigned as necessary. Single occupancy, based on hotel availability, can be arranged at extra cost. Simple, delicious lunches in the field are provided daily, as are dinners each night. Cost is $800. Booze is not included in the cost of trips.
Attendees are required to sign a Medical Release Form. Please print this off and send it in with your registration form and payment. Checks should be made out to "Tate Museum" or "Tate Geological Museum"
Come and take a guided tour of the museum. Find out about dinosaurs, minerals, gems and check out our fantastic exhibits.
A group tour makes a great field trip for any class. Be it at the end of a unit, or as an introductory look into what students will be studying in class, a tour of the Tate Geological Museum is a wonderful addition to any lesson plan. We have a wealth of specimens and fossil casts that students can handle and examine during their visit. Open access at the Fossil Preparation Lab window gives students a chance to see some of the "behind the scenes" operations you don't always get to see at every museum. If you'd like a more interactive visit to the museum, we also have scavenger hunt questionnaires for students to fill out, giving them a chance to get more involved with their museum visit.
If you can't make it to the museum for a tour we also have a selection of Teaching Trunks filled with a great variety of specimens, fossil casts, books, posters and many other resources that can be checked out for use in the classroom.
It is best to schedule your tour or classroom visit as far in advance as possible to ensure you get the day and time that best fits your schedule.
Not sure if you will be able to attend a tour at the museum? We can bring the museum to you! Tate staff members have made presentations to local classrooms and community groups, as well as accompanied classes on field trips. Museum staff arrive with a number of materials, from fossil casts to the real thing, and always have plenty of hands-on items to be passed around the room.
Call today to make your appointment!
(307) 268-2447 ~ (800) 442-2963, ext. 2447
The next Tate Fundraiser is scheduled for autumn 2014.
Annual Summer Conference
Tate Conference 2014
June 6-8, 2014
One day of talks, Two days of field trips
Save the Date
Details will be posted here as they become organized.
Email me if you would like to recieve an email message when all the details are figured out.
Exciting hands-on learning for your students!
Each trunk contains various specimens, activities, replicas, videos, books, resource materials and a teachers guide.
Funded by the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (B.O.C.E.S.) and Classroom Wyoming
These trunks are available for teachers in Wyoming to check out for use in the classroom. Contents are targeted to enhance 2nd & 4th grade curricula and outcome criteria; however, they can be used for any grade level. The trunks have been designed and created by a cooperative team of Tate Museum staff and Natrona County School District teachers.
Teaching trunks can be checked out for a two week period, which can be extended if the trunk does not have a waiting list.
Trunks are available to teachers free of charge.
To reserve a trunk for a two week period, please contact the Tate reception desk (307) 268-2447
The Tate Teaching Trunks can help the teacher in the classroom in many ways. Not only do they have hands on samples of various rocks, minerals and fossils, but each trunk also comes with a great selection of posters, books, videos and activities that make the teaching of various aspects of Earth Science fun and easy. The trunks are great for grades 1,2,3,4 and 6 to reach the goals set in the Earth Science requirements.
Rocks and Minerals [inside trunk]
Casper is a great place to learn about rocks and minerals. Investigate the properties: hardness, crystal shape, cleavage, color, magnetism, streak, acid reactions. Learn to sort and classify rocks. Find out about local sites.
General Geology and Economic Geology in Wyoming [inside trunk]
Activities about volcanoes, earthquakes, erosion, deposition and more are contained within this trunk. Students can also learn about oil, coal, gas, uranium, trona, bentonite and other resources that are important to Wyoming.
Dinosaurs [inside trunk]
Students can learn about the different kinds of dinosaurs, what environments they lived in and also where they lived. Teacher's guide includes many worksheets and there are also many hands on activities aimed primarily at 2nd graders.
Dee the Mammoth is an 11,600 year old Columbian Mammoth who lived in the American West during the Pleistocene, or Ice Age. 65 to 70 years old when he died, Dee is unique in both his advanced age and his completeness.
Dee was discovered in 2006 by a backhoe operator who was preparing an oil well pad site north of Glenrock, WY. The operator, Dee Zimmerscheid, knew that he had hit something big when several large white bones were churned up from under his machine. He called in his site supervisor, Bill Allen and together they decided that it was time to call in the land owners and the experts.
It was determined that the bones were from a mammoth and that more of the huge mammal was probably located below the surface. Dr. Kent Sundell recommended that the oil well be moved over about 100 feet and the oil companies that were involved agreed. Additionally, the Allemand/Byrd family who owned the land and thus the bones, generously donated the skeleton to the Tate Geological Museum.
During three of the next four summers, over 300 mammoth bones were recovered from the site. After recovery, the bones were transported to the museum lab to be cleaned and cataloged. Many of the bones were complete and identifiable, making the staff and volunteer’s jobs in the lab easier. The skeletons completeness enabled the the Black Hills Institute of Geologic Research to reassemble and mount the mammoth for display in the museum where it can be seen today.
The Pleistocene Exhibit, featuring Dee, informs visitors about Wyoming’s Pleistocene environment, introduces a few of Dee’s contemporaries and discusses the differences and similarities between mammoths, mastodons and elephants. Visitors can play the PSI (Pleisto-Scene Investigation) game to determine, on their own, how the mammoth died and follow the Timeline of Discovery for a quick view of the events leading up to and occurring after the skeleton’s discovery. Watch a video on mammoths or look at photos and home videos from the field as you learn about the life and times of Dee the Mammoth.
We have this cool time-lapse video provided to us by the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research
of them working on mounting Dee's bones in their warehouse in Hill City, South Dakota.
But wait... there's more... a few questions on the subject...
How much of the skeleton is real?
Not all of the bones on the mammoth are real. The lighter, yellowish colored bones on the skeleton, such as the left leg and foot, are casts or copies. It was necessary to make casts of several bones because the originals were never recovered. 84 of the bones mounted on the skeleton are casts. Of those 84, 62 are foot and toe bones. The remaining 22 cast bones are from the leg, ribs, vertebrae and tail. A few other key bones have been cast and painted to resemble the original bones including the pelvis, skull and both tusks. In these cases the actual bone was recovered, but it was too fragile to mount in the exhibit. We believe that Dee is the largest and most complete mounted Columbian mammoth in North America.
What are tusks made of?
Mammoth, mastodon and elephant tusks are made up of dentin, a basic component found in all teeth. The dentin in the growth layers can indicate what their diet was, how healthy they were, when they were weaned, and even the time of year that they died. Baby mammoths had tiny milk tusks that erupted at around 6 months of age. They measured approximately 5cm (2 in.) in length and were replaced with permanent tusks by the end of their first year.
Mammoth’s tusks grew continuously anywhere from 2.5 cm to15 cm (1 to 6 in) a year. Growth occurred in the tusk socket and as much as a quarter of the tusk was embedded there. This means that the oldest layers of dentin, formed when the mammoth was young, were toward the tips of the tusks.
How do tusks grow?
Tusks are made up of a series of "ivory cones" that spiraled as they grew, creating the distinctive twist. It has been suggested that this twist is what allowed the tusks to grow to massive lengths (up to 4.88 m or 16 ft.) without creating excessive torque on the spine and skull.
The cones (photo to right is looking into the base of a tusk) that make up the tusks have been compared to growth rings in trees. By studying the rings (photo to left) or cones, the approximate age of the mammoth can be determined. However, this method cannot be used to determine their exact age since the tips are often worn down or broken off, effectively erasing the early years.Annual and weekly growth lines can be seen in the tusks. Under high magnification even daily growth can be seen. The color of the growth lines indicates the rate at which the dentin was depos-ted. A lighter shade equals faster growth and darker lines indicate slower growth.
Why study elephants?
Much about extinct species can be learned by studying the habits and behaviors of their living relatives. While elephants are not direct descendants of mammoths or mastodons, they are related, and physically similar. Elephants, mammoths and mastodons are all members of the order Proboscidea (pro-boSIH-dee-a) which includes over 150 species that originated during the last 50 mil-lion years. Proboscidea is Latin in origin and means “nose” or “long flexible snout”. Today this order is represented by the two living elephant species Loxodonta africana (African elephant) and Elephas maximus (Asian elephant ).
Elephants are the closest living relatives to mammoths, and scientists can infer possible mammoth behavior and herd structure by observing elephants. Scientists are able to use the information that they gather from such behavioral studies to develop hypotheses about mammoth behavior. They then support their hypotheses with skeletal evidence from discoveries such as Dee, The Mammoth Site in South Dakota, and the Waco Mammoth Site in Texas. Dee’s skeleton helps to corroborate the theory that many bull mammoths were loners, just as many bull elephants are. By studying his remains they can further support the idea that the average Columbian mammoth life span did not extend much beyond 70 years.
Death of a Mammoth
No one can be 100% sure how Dee died. While there are several hypotheses, the most probable one is that he was ‘neutralized by natural causes’. Dee was an extremely old mammoth. He had severe arthritis in his lower back, odd growths on his bones, a bone tumor, and several other problems that would have made it difficult to walk, move and chew. (The medical term used for these bony growths or bone spurs is spondylopathy which is a type of reactive arthritis.)
Additionally, Dee was using his sixth and final set of teeth. (See Mammoth Teeth for more information) He used his last set for as long as he could, however they were worn down so far that it would have been impossible for him to eat enough food to stay healthy. Eventually, he would have starved to death.
Radiocarbon dating was used to determine the approximate date that Dee died, which was 11,600 (+/- 70) years ago. This dating method was developed in 1950 and is used world-wide to determine the age of organic-based materials. Organic materials are materials that were once alive, so radiocarbon dating methods can be used on, but are not limited to, wood, charcoal, seeds, plant materials, plant-based cloth, bone, ivory, shell and hide.
Radiocarbon dating measures two levels of carbon, carbon 12 (12C) and carbon 14 (14C), which is found in organic materials. 12C is a stable isotope, meaning that it remains at the same level after the organic material that produced the carbon in life stops producing it (i.e.: the animal died or the tree was cut down). 14C is not a stable isotope, it is radioactive or unstable, and will decay at a known rate. Scientists can determine the levels of 14C and 12C in a sample, and compare the proportion of the two carbons to a modern sample, which will give an approximate date of death. The date is given plus or minus (+/-) a variable number of years, allowing for possible uncertainties in the measurement.
Continental Production Company, Mountain West Energy, LLC, and Nerd Gas Company, LLC, along with Discovery Resources, LLC, Basic Energy Services and the Allemand family all made this ‘mammoth-sized’ exhibit possible. Based upon Dr. Sundell’s recommendation, the oil companies decided that it would be in the best interest of the community to move the location of the well to facilitate the mammoth dig. Both the oil companies and the community benefited from this historic event.
Through conscientious and community-minded decisions, these companies allowed the Tate Geological Museum and Casper College to step in, collect and preserve the specimen. It is also due to the forethought and cooperation of the Allemand family and their generosity in donating the mammoth bones that Dee the Mammoth is here on display at this museum.
The Dino Den is located in the front, northeast corner (opposite the gift shop) as you enter the museum. Created as a dinosaur discovery zone, it gives kids room to play and investigate on their own. The Dino Den features coloring, puzzles, a mineral ID game, fossil rubbings, touchable fossil casts and dino themed toys for all ages. Stop by to play and learn anytime!
Hall of Minerals
The Mineral Exhibits line the north wall of the museum and cover mineral types, diagnostic mineral features, silicates and non-silicates, Wyoming’s extractive resources and the state gemstone, Jade. Currently in the development stages, the extractive resources and mining in Wyoming cases will be receiving a face-lift to include more up to date mining practices as well as a brief review of the history of mining in Wyoming.
Walk Through Time
The Walk Through Time, located along the back (west) wall of the museum takes visitors back through time from the Holocene hunter and gatherers of North America right back to the formation of the earth. Along the way there are several drawers with touch samples which allow visitors to interact with the fossils as they move back through time. Be sure to look for the plant fossils, the T.rex tooth, and the trilobites along the way.
The Mesozoic Marine exhibit exposes the underwater world that existed here in Wyoming during much of the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous. Wyoming’s warm, tropical seaways were home to a plethora of marine animals and some plants, including ammonites, belemnites, star shaped crinoids, ichthyosaurs, mosasaurs and hybodont sharks. Of particular interest (here at the Tate Museum, anyways) is the Sundance Plesiosaur (Tatenectes laramiensis), named for the founders of the museum Marion and Inez Tate.
Bones of Oomtar the mosasaur found near the town of Midwest, north of Casper are featured inthe Marine mesozoic display
Mesozoic marine display includes mosauaurs, sharks, ammonites and more
It was the time of the dinosaurs. The Mesozoic Era is usually better known by its three periods, the Triassic, the Jurassic and the Cretaceous. The Mesozoic Terrestrial area highlights the massive size of the dinosaurs as well as a few of the features that made some of them terrifying and so fascinating. Stand next to a Torvosaur leg, see how big an Apatosaurus foot really was, check out the size of an Allosaurus claw and have a face-off with Stan the T-rex!
Our Cretaceous Corner is currently under construction, but will soon feature several Cretaceous dinosaurs including our Hadrosaur, Dead Sheep 148, portions of Gret the Triceratops (the triceratops is the Wyoming state dinosaur) and other Cretaceous creatures.
The Mesozoic Aerial display introduces the pterosaurs that called Wyoming home. Jurassic pterosaur footprints have been discovered near Alcova Reservoir and models in the display have been reconstructed (to scale) from these footprints. These footprints also helped to solve the riddle of how pterosaurs walked when they were on the ground. Did they walk on two feet? On all four? Like a dog or a bat? Visit the Tate to find out the answer to this important question.
A cast of the skull of Stan the T rex is a popular item at the Tate.
A claw of Allosaurus
The Tate's pterosaur tracks display features tracks found at Alcova, 40 miles south of Casper, one of the best places in the world for pterosaur tracks.
Dead Sheep 148, our articulated partial hadrosaur skeleton.
Eocene of Wyoming
The Eocene Epoch had a warmer, wetter environment and large variety of animals flourished. The landscape was full of archaic mammals that were vastly different from mammals today. Conversely, the reptiles were amazingly similar to their modern counterparts. The Eocene display features a fossilized crab, turtles, fish, mammals, birds and feathers, crocodiles and alligators and plant pieces many of which were found in Wyoming. Learn about life after the dinosaurs, and find out for yourself how similar the Eocene reptiles were to modern reptiles.
The Tate's Eocene display features 50 million year old fossils mostly from Wyoming... fishes, birds, mammals, turtles, crocodiles, insects, leaves and more.
Oligocene/ White River of Wyoming
The Oligocene Epoch came after the Eocene. By this time dinosaurs had been extinct for about 30 million years, and mammals ruled the earth. The variety of fauna that lived during this time is well preserved in the White River Formation of Wyoming which is known for its preservation of mammals including oreodonts, titanotheres and predators such as the entelodont. See if you can find the skeleton of the three-toed horse and discover how different it is from the modern horse. How many differences can you find?
This portion of the Tate Museum's White River display features a titanothere skull, a smaller rhino skull and a death assemblage of 11 small oreodonts.
The White River Diorama features reconstructions of the saber-toothed Hoplophoneus attcking a hapless oreodont. Cretaures that lived in burrows can be seen "underground".
The prep lab is where the specimens are cleaned and made ready for exhibit in the museum gallery. Our prep lab is visible to the public via a sliding glass window, so you can see what we are working on and even ask questions.
One of our main projects in the prep lab these days is Dead Sheep 148, a hadrosaur skeleton found in 2005. This jacket (at right) contains a beautifully articulated pelvis region of the animal. We have been working on it on and off in the lab for a few years, with an interruption to clean the mammoth skull. As of this writing, (Jan 2011) we are doing the final touches on it to put it on display. (Dead Sheep 148 is named after a recently deceased ewe that was lying in the vicinity of the hadrosaur site. Her ear tag was number 148. Her two little lambs were hiding behind her, waiting for her to wake up... a sadly tragic scene. We reported them to the rancher, who raised the lambs before setting them out to join the herd).
The Tate Museum gift shop has items for everyone on your list. The gift shop carries Hell Pig and Dee the Mammoth t-shirts, books, videos, jewelry, t-shirts, dinosaur puppets, dinosaur, marine and mammal models, gems, wooden skeleton kits, cups, hats and more!
A Tate Museum Membership will afford you 10% off of every purchase at the Gift Shop!
Gift Shop Hours
Monday - Friday
9:00am - 500pm
10:00am - 4:00pm
The Casper College Geology Club is dedicated to helping students get out of their normal day to day grind by offering weekend field trips that include fossil collecting, hiking, caving, photography, snow shoeing, caving and cross country skiing. It is mainly composed of geology students but is open to any Casper College student that has a desire to get out and enjoy the outdoors.
The Geology Club meets every Friday at noon for an informal meeting to discuss various topics that concern trips and other activities that the club is planning or involved in. The Friday meetings are also a way for the club to catch up and hang out. The club also holds monthly meetings on the first Monday at noon of each month where we discuss and vote on activities associated with the club.
If you are interested in joining the club, come to one of our meetings and see what the club can do for you!
Casper College Geology Club members in Boulderchoke Cave outside Lander, WY
Adult long sleeve $17.99
Adult short sleeve $15.99
Youth short sleeve $11.99
Sweatshirts (hoodies) $22.99
The museum gift shop has a limited number of Dee the Mammoth bronze sculptures created exclusively for the Tate Museum by Chris Navarro. The 10 1/2 inch bronze sculpture, pictured above, is available for $1200.00. Two larger limited edition 24 inch sculptures are available for $9000.00 each, and can be ordered through our gift shop.
Where is the Tate Geological Museum? We are part of Casper College in Casper, Wyoming. The Casper College address is 125 College Drive, but that is the whole college. If you try to find use with google maps, you will end up a half mile away. We are actually on Lisco Drive, which is only a bit better. Casper College addreses have stumped Google. Additionally, our entrance road is not even on google maps. The following directions are based on the google maps version of '125 College Drive'. From the base of Casper College get onto Casper Mountain Road and go south (uphill). Go through the stoplight (wait for it to turn green), continue uphill (south), past the road to the right that leads into the college and then take the next road on the right. The Tate Museum is right in front of you, a bit to the right.
We would love to have you visit
Casper College would like to acknowledge the Blue Envelope Health Fund for generously donating two AEDs,
one of which is housed at the Tate Geological Museum while the other will be carried into the field at the dig site by the Tate's Paleontological Team.
The Tate Museum
and Dee the Mammoth
are both on Facebook.
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Monday - Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tate Geological Museum Mission Statement
The mission of the Tate Geological Museum at Casper College is to provide educational resources to its community and visitors by being a leading Earth Science Education Center in the region through its exhibits, collections, and programs.