Savage Ancient Seas is coming to Burpee

The past four weeks have been extra busy at Burpee Museum and for good reason! Burpee Museum was approached by Embedded Exhibitions, LLC to host their Savage Ancient Seas traveling exhibit. Savage Ancient Seas has been on Burpee’s shortlist of exhibits to bring to the Rockford area for several years, so naturally we went into high gear for fundraising and promotion.


Savage Ancient Seas is an exhibit that makes the North American seas of the Cretaceous come alive! The exhibit is full of marine reptiles that can fill your imagination with sea monsters and sea creatures and bring to life prehistoric fossils of animals that swam the seas as the dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

10857109_10203456092351107_1199398395109742978_oBurpee Museum is extremely excited to announce that Savage Ancient Seas will open to the public on January 17, 2015 at 10am! Tickets to Savage Ancient Seas (including General Admission) are $13 for visitors 13 & up, and $12 for visitors 3-12. Come out to Burpee Museum to help welcome this amazing exhibit to Rockford!

Check out the Burpee Museum site for more information!


Burpee Museum Presents: Hans-Dieter Sues

Dr. Hans-Dieter Sues

Dr. Hans-Dieter Sues

The keynote address for PaleoFest 2015 will be given by Dr. Hans-Dieter Sues, Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution. This keynote address will be part of Burpee Museum Presents fundraiser held at Cliffbreakers Riverside Resort on March 14, 2015. Dr. Sues’ address, titled “The Triassic Period – The Dawn of the Modern World,” will highlight the importance of Triassic period research and the incredible changes that came about in the fauna of that era.

Tickets to Burpee Museum Presents include dinner and keynote address at Cliffbreakers Riverside Resort in Rockford, Illinois. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner will be served at 6:30pm, and the keynote address will begin at 7:00pm. A cash bar will be available.

For more information check out the Burpee Museum Presents: Hans-Dieter Sues at PaleoFest page.

To order tickets please call Burpee Museum at 815-965-3433.

Introducing Abyssomedon williamsi

Elements of the newly described Abyssomedon williamsi from the early Permian of Oklahoma.

Elements of the newly described Abyssomedon williamsi from the early Permian of Oklahoma.

Abyssomedon williamsi is a new parareptile from the Richards Spur Locality in Oklahoma reported by Mark MacDougall and Robert Reisz from University of Toronto, Mississauga in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.

Parareptiles are a sister taxon to Eureptiles, or “true reptiles,” and have traditionally included the anapsids. These species are generally very primitive. There is an unusually high number of Early Permian parareptile fossils found at the Richards Spur Locality in Oklahoma. A. williamsi is just the newest species described from the locality.

A. williamsi is an important new species. A. williamsi belongs to a clade of Parareptiles called nyctiphruretids, This clade is normally found in mid-to late Permian deposits in Russia. The discovery of A. williamsi in Oklahoma in early Permian deposits extends both the clade’s temporal and geographic range.

On a more personal note, A. wiliamsi has a very close tie with Burpee Museum; A. williamsi is named for Burpee Museum’s very own Scott Williams! Scott has collected in the Richards Spur Locality and has frequently collaborated with Dr. Robert Reisz on Permian projects that are part of the Museum’s permanent collection. In the paleontology world, to have a fossil species named after you is quite an honor. We hope you’ll join us as we congratulate the authors and Scott on this great new Parareptile species!

Be There or Be Square: PaleoFest 2015

"Eoraptor" (C) Csotonyi

“Eoraptor” (C) Csotonyi

Add it to your calendars now, PaleoFest 2015 will be held March 14 & 15, 2015!

Tickets go on sale Monday, December 1, 2014.

The upcoming PaleoFest will be hosted in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution and will once again feature an international symposium. The symposium, titled “The Beginning of Dinosaurs and the Origins of the Modern World,” will feature two dozen researchers who’s primary focus is the flora and fauna of the late Triassic and early Jurassic periods.

The PaleoFest Dinner has been transformed into “Burpee Museum Presents: Hans-Dieter Sues at PaleoFest” and will be hosted by Cliffbreakers Resort, the host hotel. Dr. Sues is the Senior Scientist and Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and is also the co-convener of the symposium.

In addition to the symposium events, Burpee Museum will also be hosting Triassic and Jurassic period themed PaleoPassport Stations, a Family Workshop about fossil tracks, and two Children’s Workshops. This year the Children’s Workshops will be: “Tooth Tales” where kids can learn about dinosaur teeth and jaws with Dr. Matthew Bonnan, Stockton College, recommended for kids 5-9 years old. Older aspiring paleontologists can work with Dr. Thomas Holtz, University of Maryland, on “T. Rex: Bones and Beyond” and learn how fossils help us learn about dinosaur behavior and classification, recommended for kids 10-14.

If you’re interested in attending PaleoFest visit Burpee Museum’s PaleoFest webpage for more details. We can’t wait to see you!

The Jane Diaries

Dr. Thomas Carr a Tyrannosaurid expert from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin has been working with “Jane” Burpee Museum’s juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex specimen from the Hell Creek Formation in south eastern Montana to determine if “Jane” is indeed a juvenile T. rex or if the specimen should be referred to a different species of theropod dinosaur.

"Jane" Burpee Museum's juvnile T. rex

“Jane” Burpee Museum’s juvnile T. rex

Dr. Carr has spent countless hours documenting and studying “Jane’s” fossil components to observe as many details as possible so that the specimen can be placed soundly into a fossil species based on morphological characteristics. If you would like to follow his journey into the details of “Jane’s” skeleton check out his blog Tyrannosauroidea Central or follow him on Twitter at @TyrannosaurCarr. His work with “Jane” will be published as a manuscript once his research is complete – keep an eye on Dr. Carr and Burpee Museum’s social media outlets for updates on the manuscript publication as well!

Chaos to Convention

Burpee Museum has had a whirlwind past three weeks.

In the last three weeks the museum, in conjunction with the museums in the Riverfront Museum Park and other Rockford museums, hosted the Illinois Alliance of Museums conference from October 22-24.

Burpee Museum also hosted a very successful Night Sounds event for families on the evening of October 24, 2014.

Scott Williams, Director of Science & Exhibits, also headed to Kemmerer, Wyoming to pick up
Green River fossil specimens to be prepped for the upcoming Fossil Lake exhibit.


This, however, was all leading up to #SVP2014 in Berlin, Germany. Four members of the Burpee Staff are attending the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Annual Meeting. The museum is presenting two posters, and several additional presentations are utilizing Burpee specimens as part of their datasets or research questions. It is quite an honor for a museum of Burpee Museum’s size to be so well represented at a professional conference.

If you are interested in following along with hot topics being discussed at the meeting look for #SVP2014 on social media, or follow Brian Switek, author of the National Geographic Phenomenon: Laelops blog or check out Dr. Thomas Holtz’s Twitter feed at @TomHoltzPaleo.

The Bison are coming, the Bison are coming!

Bison return to Nachusa Grasslands.

Bison return to Nachusa Grasslands.

Or rather, the Bison are here!

Bison have returned to Nachusa Grasslands near Franklin Grove, Illinois as of Friday October 3, 2014.

20 Bison were transported from the Broken Kettle Grasslands near Sioux City, Iowa and brought to Nachusa. The animals are currently in a holding pen, and out of the public eye, as they acclimate to their new surroundings.  They will be visible from viewing areas in mid November.

The Bison are part of the Nature Conservancy’s plan for further restoration at the Nachusa Grasslands conservation site. Bison feed on different plant types than cattle or deer and will help to restore the prairie. Eventually the grasslands within the Nachusa site may support as many as 100 Bison!

If you’d like to know more about Bison returning to Nachusa, please visit the Nature Conservancy’s Nachusa Bison page.