Paleontology Symposium In Worland Brings Together Well Known Scientists

Jul 10, 2017

Digging up mammoth bones at La Prele Creek.
Credit Melodie Edwards / Wyoming Public Radio

The Washakie Museum and Cultural Center in Worland is hosting a symposium exploring some of the big questions in Wyoming's paleontology and archaeology right now.

According to curator Rebecca Brower, many of the speakers are world renowned scientists in their field, like University of Wyoming Professor Emeritus George Frison who will talk about the large number of Clovis Age projectile points he’s been discovering at the Sunrise Mine Paleo Indian Site this summer. There will also be a showing of the film The Bearded Lady about women in paleontology. Brower said anthropologist Larry Todd will take a different tack.

“He’s looking at using Wyoming bison kills to access how Lucy died. And Lucy is a three-million-year-old fossil from Africa. It’s an australopithecus afarensis. And so he’s actually taking something from Wyoming and giving it an evolutionary perspective,” said Brower.

Scott Wing, a Smithsonian curator will also discuss a new hall there that includes fossils from Wyoming.

Brower said the symposium used to be an annual event and she decided to revive it this year because of all the important field projects going on in Wyoming.

“Wyoming has a really unique atmosphere for preservation, both very ancient things, and more recent prehistoric/historic human occupation,” she said. “So there’s a lot of really well-known scientists who kind of flock here for their field seasons to do research. And we have the unique opportunity to hear them talk about what they’re doing and what they’re learning.”

The presentations will also cover topics like the making of Hell’s Gap National Historic Monument and La Prele mammoth dig and many others. This free symposium happens July 15 at 9 a.m. at the Washakie Museum in Worland. It includes lunch.