Sunday, January 6, 2013

Whale Bones in Iowa


Yes, Iowa was once covered by a shallow marine sea. Today the result of that long ago sea are layers of limestone found just under the prairie soil. Some of the rock contain fossils of small marine creatures like coral, snails, fish and a few larger marine creatures.

To see these suspended whale bones you need to visit the Natural History Museum at Macbride Hall on the University of Iowa's main campus. A Right Whale's skeleton was collected early last century on a North Carolina shore and brought to the university for study and eventual display. Many a schoolchild and adult has marveled at this creature's size and bone makeup. The whale is located in the  museum's mammal hall section. The other side of the building contains bird hall and is filled with all types of feathered creatures including a detailed observation post of a remote Pacific island sanctuary visited by UI researchers a hundred years ago. The lower middle portion of the building houses the third section of the museum and features a walk through Iowa's pre-history.  Come check it out. Admission is always free.