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Geology Museum welcomes two new reptiles

April  13, 2012

(See photo album)

Augustana College’s Fryxell Geology Museum (820 38th St.) recently added two flying reptiles with large skulls and mouths full of long, protruding teeth, called pterosaurs.

The full-scale, realistic replicas are hanging in the lobby circling a 22-foot fossil skeleton of Cryolophosaurus ellioti, a large carnivorous dinosaur discovered in Antarctica by Augustana paleontologist Dr. William Hammer.

While new to the museum, pterosaurs lived about 180 million years ago and were the first vertebrates to evolve the ability of powered flight.

The replicas are the first of a couple additions to the Fryxell Geology Museum made possible through a gift from Charlene Anchor in memory of her late husband, Dr. Charles W. Collinson, Augustana Class of 1949.

“The pterosaurs have been on our wish list for the lobby ‘airspace’ for years,” said museum Curator Susan K. Wolf. “Thanks to a generous memorial gift to the museum, we were able to procure them.”

With the rest of the gift, the museum will install an all-in-one touch screen and computer later this year. The touch screen will allow visitors to watch multiple short video clips, such as the discovery of the Cryolophosaurus, student field trips and research; animated maps of current volcanic and earthquake activity; and animations of continental drift.

The museum began in the late 1880s with a modest natural history collection, and it was officially founded in 1929. Today the museum houses more than 1,500 rocks, mineral and fossil specimens. The museum is open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday when Augustana is in session. Admission is free.

The two pterosaurs — Dorygnathus and Dimorphodon — were reptiles, not flying dinosaurs, and varied in size from 10 inches to 35 feet in wingspan. Dorygnathus ("spear jaw") and Dimorphodon ("two-form tooth") lived in Europe during the Early Jurassic.

Keri Rursch
Director of Public Relations
(309) 794-7721
kerirursch@augustana.edu