Paleontologists from around the world gather at Sternberg Museum to discuss mosasaurs

A fossil hunt in Gove County will highlight a meeting of paleontologists from around the world, who will gather this weekend at Fort Hays State University's Sternberg Museum of Natural History.

Mike Everhart, curator of paleontology for the Sternberg Museum, is preparing for the second international mosasaur meeting starting at 9 a.m. Thursday, May 3, and ends Sunday, May 6.

"This is a neat opportunity to meet with other paleontologists," said Everhart. "I am looking forward to a good meeting and a chance to show off a little bit of Kansas."

Throughout the weekend, 34 to 35 talks will be presented on anything biological about the mosasaur, a carnivorous sea reptile from the Cretaceous Period. Paleontologists will also give talks about the research they are doing on the mosasaur.

The first international mosasaur meeting was held in 2004, in Maastricht, Netherlands, where the first mosasaur fossil was found. Mosasaurs were the top predator of their time. They are thought to have lived 90 to 65 million years ago. The longest fossil of a mosasaur found in Kansas was 40 feet long and is housed at the Sternberg Museum.

A vote was taken at the first meeting to have another meeting in Hays. They chose Kansas because it is where most of the mosasaur fossils have been found.

A banquet is scheduled for Saturday night, May 5, and a fossil hunt in Gove County will be on Sunday, May 6.

"The mosasaurs are one of the most common fossils that we have found," said Everhart. "We still have a lot to research and learn about them."

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