Dr. Rui Zhang, as an assistant professor with joint appointment between
Dr. James E. Martin, curator of paleontology and research professor in the School of Geosciences, has completed excavation of a 7 million-year-old camel in South-Central Oregon this week.
"We are hoping to have it ready for the next big paleo display that will open at the Lafayette Science Museum next April," Martin said.
The specimen is the most complete skeleton known of the giant camel, Megatylopus, a creature that was 12-14 feet tall and functioned much like the giraffe.
The partial skeleton will arrive in a few weeks to Lafayette, where it will be prepared and placed on display as part of the third installment of the Prehistoric Giants exhibit presented by UL Lafayette and the Lafayette Science Museum downtown.
“It took two months to excavate and encase the specimen in plaster for shipment. We’ll have a unique fossil specimen,” Martin said.
The University's Geology Museum moved to the Lafayette Science Museum in 2013.
With the first in a three-part dinosaur exhibit, attendance doubled in 2014.
The museum includes over 3,000 square feet of exhibit space for fossils, minerals, and rocks, and a 1,500-square-foot research space for students and faculty. It houses the University's collection of fossils, rocks and minerals; features a laboratory to process specimens; and offers new learning opportunities for the public.