FOSSIL FASCINATION; Millions of Years of Marine History at Calvert Museum

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 14, 2003 | Go to article overview

FOSSIL FASCINATION; Millions of Years of Marine History at Calvert Museum


Byline: Eileen Francis, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

For a city with its finger on the pulse of the nation, it's surprising that few Washington area residents are aware of the virtual "Jurassic Park" in their own back yard. But a trip to the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons in Calvert County, Md., brings that reality to life, figuratively speaking.

At the museum, the remains of marine creatures that dominated the Chesapeake Bay region more than 10 million years ago are on display. Fossils of prehistoric whales, dolphins, sharks, stingrays and sea birds the size of small airplanes offer a glimpse into a time when southern Maryland was covered with a shallow sea that extended all the way to the District.

As one in a series of exhibits that offer a time line of life in the Patuxent River region, the paleontology exhibit, called "Treasures From the Cliffs," explores the oldest and least-known era. Museum patrons can sort through drawers lined with collections of bones from extinct marine animals, such as species of crocodiles, sea cows and leatherback turtles in addition to clams, oysters, scallops and snail shells. Most of the fossils were found on local beaches after eroding from the massive cliffs that line the Bay in Calvert.

"From time to time, we do find fossil remains of animals such as elephants, camels and rhinos, but these are very rare and they are all extinct forms," curator of paleontology Stephen Godfrey says.

Mr. Godfrey has been leading scientific excavations of Calvert Cliffs for five years. He says the stretch of cliffs that runs through the county holds some of the best records of marine life from the Miocene Epoch - between 10 million and 20 million years ago.

Indeed, scientists have been studying specimens from the region for centuries, and the cliffs have contributed to collections at the Smithsonian Institution. Many fossils on display at the Calvert Marine Museum were donated by county residents, who discovered the specimens on local beaches. A sign above each display credits these contributors.

On an exam table in a lab, a recently discovered fossil lies as a massive white mound under plastic. Its size is daunting to a group of visiting children. They press their small faces and hands anxiously against a window that separates the room from the exhibit. They ogle at the specimen on the table as if at any second it could rise with the force of the Frankenstein monster and break through the plastic.

A room away, visitors look up into the gaping mouth of the extinct giant white shark. The replica of the 50-foot creature plunges from the ceiling, suspended in attack position by thin black cables. In the museum's Discovery Room, children sift through a sandbox containing real fossilized shark teeth, which they are allowed to take home.

Many patrons visit the museum after a sun-soaked day collecting shark teeth on one of the public beaches within a short drive of the museum. Shark teeth are the most commonly found remains.

Camryn Menke, 7, and her grandmother, Nancy Feuerle of Calvert, have just spent a day collecting shark teeth. The duo found about 20 teeth.

"I love the museum," Mrs. Feuerle says. "I live on the Bay and every time I come here I learn something I didn't know before."

For those visitors interested in searching for shark's teeth or other fossils, the museum offers directions to one of five local beaches where fossils are commonly found. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

FOSSIL FASCINATION; Millions of Years of Marine History at Calvert Museum
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.