The University of Nebraska State Museum and the Nebraska Department of Roads are celebrating 50 years of life in the past lane. The exhibit highlights spectacular fossils salvaged from highway construction projects throughout the state of Nebraska and the cooperative effort between state agencies.
Since 1960, NDOR staff and paleontologists in the museum’s Highway Salvage Paleontology Program have worked together to conserve Nebraska’s rich prehistoric heritage. Backed by state and federal legislation, a cooperative agreement between the two units has allowed museum paleontologists to excavate fossil remains as they are unearthed by road equipment, preventing the destruction of these irreplaceable scientific treasures. Over the past 50 years, more than 200,000 vertebrate fossils threatened by highway construction have been recovered across the state. These fossils are curated in the museum’s permanent research collections. Through this partnership, Nebraska’s fossil record has been preserved for the scientific study, enhancing future generations’ understanding of Nebraska’s natural history. A special exhibit will open Sept. 29 highlighting rare fossil finds from highway construction projects over the last five decades. The exhibit will remain on display through Sept. 30, 2011.