2 On The Road Blog

After 12 years of full-time rving, we've sold our truck and trailer but we're still traveling. Email us at wowpegasus@hotmail.com if you would like to contact us.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Utah Field House of Natural History

The Utah Field House of Natural History in Vernal, Utah covers the history of the Uintah from before dinosaurs to current Indian culture.  There were displays on each
epoch ( Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous, etc).  But each epoch
had multiple formations (layers of stone).  Very confusing for this non-archeology trained person.

When a fossil is found it is encased in plaster for transport.

There were some interesting displays on how to identify what was found.

Double-click to read.

A skeleton of an Allosaurus with a painting of what they may have looked like.

Many Eocene fossils in this room.  Lots of fossils have been found in the Eocene layer because this is when the land was covered in water.  Leaves, fish and animals would sink down to the bottom of the lake.  Sediment would cover the items gradually and would compress into stone.

This wall of fossils was collected by state park employees for the museum.

This is a great leaf fossil.
We entered a display of animals of the Eocene.  This card had animals on one side and plants on the other and we were encouraged to find all of them. 

The Uintatheriidae is a family of extinct mammals that includes this knob-headed Uintathere.  Uintatheres were the largest land animals of their time, surviving from the late Paleocene into the Uintan Epoch of the Middle Eocene.  They were heavy animals, with thick legs, massive bones, broad feet, and tiny brains. The most distinctive feature of the great majority of species, however, was the presence of multiple blunt "horns", perhaps similar to the ossicones of modern giraffes, and the presence of large, sabre-like canine teeth.

Stylinodon is an extinct genus of taeniodont mammal, and is the best known, and last genus of taeniodonts, lived some 45 million years ago during middle Eocene in North America.
The skull suggests it had a blunt face, and a very short snout. Species ranged in size from pigs to leopards, reached a body mass of up to 80 kilograms (180 lb). Its canines had developed into huge, incisor-like root-less teeth. Stylinodon's molars were covered in enamel and continued growing throughout its life. Most likely, it fed on rough roots and tubers.

Saniwa is an extinct genus of monitor lizard that lived during the Eocene epoch around 48 million years ago. Well-preserved fossils have been found in the Bridger and Green River Formations of Wyoming, and there is evidence that Saniwa also lived in Europe. The type species S. ensidens was named in 1870 as the first fossil lizard known from North America.

An Eocene era boa constrictor.
The bush baby primate Utahia Kayi.  You can double-click any of these photos in order to see them better or read the displays.

Fossilized skull of a saber-toothed cat found in the La Brea tar pits in California.  They also lived in this area of Utah in the Pleistocene epoch but became extinct 11800 years ago.

This huge Diplodocus skeleton was in the lobby of the museum.  It was so big that its head isn't even in the photo.

There was side-room full of paintings by this artist.

This one is just hilarious.

Outside were life-sized models of some dinosaurs.

Remember the raptors in the movie, "Jurassic Park"?  They created that fictitious dinosaur for the movie that come out in 1993.  This Utahraptor was first discovered in 1992 and wasn't widely-know until after the movie debuted.

Just look at those claws!

Oh the Wooly Mammoth.  This model is made using hemp for the fur.  It has to be re-furred occasionally because the birds take the hemp to made their nests.

This is a lump of gilsonite.  Read the following from Wikipedia. Gilsonite is the registered trademark for a form of natural asphalt found only in the Uintah Basin of Utah; the non-trademarked mineral name is uintaite or uintahite. It is mined in underground shafts and resembles shiny black obsidian. Discovered in the 1860s, it was first marketed as a lacquer, electrical insulator, and waterproofing compound about twenty-five years later by Samuel H. Gilson.  By 1888 Gilson had started a company to mine the substance, but soon discovered the vein was located on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation. Under great political pressure Congress removed some 7,000 acres (28 km2) from the reservation on May 24, 1888 to allow the mining to proceed legally. Gilsonite mining became the first large commercial enterprise in the Uintah Basin, causing most of its early population growth.
This unique mineral is used in more than 160 products, primarily in dark-colored printing inks and paints, oil well drilling muds and cements, asphalt modifiers, foundry sand additives, and a wide variety of chemical products. The trademark, registered in 1921, belongs to the American Gilsonite Company.
Mining Gilsonite during World War II was by hand, using a six pound pick and then shoveling the ore into 200 pound sacks, which were sewn by hand. In 1949 at the Parriette Gilsonite mine near Myton, Utah, Reed Smoot McConkie set the world record for ore mined by hand. Using his pick and shovel, he mined 175 bags of ore in an 8 hour day, 950 bags in a six day week, 1925 bags in a month and 15,000 bags in one year.
Gilsonite-brand uintahite's earliest applications included paints for buggies and emulsions for beer-vat lining. It was used by Ford Motor Company as a principal component of the Japan Black lacquer used on most of the Ford Model T cars.

1 comment:

Nan said...

Now, that is a ton of information, and I want to go see for myself! Thanks.