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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

San Antonio's Witte Museum Receives $250,000 to Fund Fossil Collection

Posted By on Wed, Aug 12, 2020 at 2:40 PM

click image The Witte recently acquired this fossil of the Quetzalcoatlus Northopi. - TWITTER / WITTEMUSEUM
  • Twitter / WitteMuseum
  • The Witte recently acquired this fossil of the Quetzalcoatlus Northopi.
The Witte Museum's prehistoric ambitions are expansive, to say the least.

And now, thanks to a $250,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Witte's paleontology and geology program will be able to remodel its offsite collections facility to better accommodate its growing collection of 320,000 ancient specimens and artifacts, according to the San Antonio Report.

For Curator Thomas Adams, that means more quality time with ancient crocodiles.

“The first thing in my mind is, ‘Great! I can go get more fossils and have a place to put them,'” he told the recently renamed San Antonio Report.

Since becoming the Witte's first paleontologist in 2013, Adams has already discovered two new species of ancient crocodile — including a little fella he named Tarsomordeo winkleri. He's now pursuing mosasaur bones discovered on a private ranch. The fossilized carcass of that gargantuan aquatic reptile provides palpable evidence that much of Texas was once underwater.

Adams explained the relevance of the perspective gleaned from such research to the San Antonio Report: “The reason Texas is under an ocean 80 million years ago is because we had rising sea levels globally,” he said. “That might actually [give us] a pertinent understanding to what’s going to happen in the near future as sea levels rise.”

In addition to allowing for more bone collecting, the grant will help scholars and researchers better access the current collection, and preserve it longer.

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