January 14, 2010

Favorite New Acquisitions: Part 2

Yesterday, we posted a blog about some of our curators’ favorite new acquisitions over the last year. In the second part of this mini-series, we look at some of the staff’s favorite prehistoric acquisitions at the Burke in 2009.

Paleobotany curator Caroline Stromberg’s favorite specimens of 2009 are unidentified fossil flowers from the early Middle Eocene (50 million years ago) McAbee Flora, Cache Creek, British Columbia. Fellow paleobotany museum research associates Rick and Tad Dillhoff donated these fossils as part of a larger collection. “These little fragile flowers are among my favorites because they look just like delicate ink drawings on the rock and they give us a rare glimpse of everything in life's history that we don't know about: all the millions and millions of now extinct and unknown species that once lived on this planet.”

Liz Nesbitt, Curator of Paleontology’s pick is a fossil seastar from Olympic National Park that is currently on public view at the Burke. Located in the new acquisitions case as a single display, the seastar is approximately 15-million-years-old, and it is the only fossil we have from that area. This find is particularly significant because seastars are exceptionally rare in the fossil record. The seastar was collected by Olympic Park Scientists and the Burke is keeping the fossil for the park in trust.

Christian Sidor, Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology’s favorite new acquisition is a 49-million-year-old brontothere skull, belonging to the genus Palaeosyops. A distant relative of tapirs and horses, the skull was found by Bruce Crowley in Southwestern Wyoming in the Bridger Formation.

Why is it his favorite? “It is almost perfectly three-dimensionally preserved, which is quite rare for fossils, and I think it is destined for exhibit at some point.”

We hope you enjoyed learning about a few of the many interesting pieces we have at the Burke. For more information on our collections and research, click here.

Posted By: Andrea Barber, Communications