Meet the Mosasaur & Sea Turtle

History comes to life at KU's Earth, Energy and Environment Center (EEEC) with the addition of two fossils hanging in the Slawson Hall’s atrium: A mosasaur chasing a sea turtle.

About the Mosasaur

Tylosaurus proriger (cast)

MosasaurMosasaur fossil from the Cretaceous Niobrara Formation (~82 million years old), collected in Logan County, Kansas. Tylosaurus is the state fossil of Kansas. This specimen was discovered in 1911 by C.D. Bunker and his associates, and now resides at the KU Natural History Museum. It is 45 feet long and known as one of the largest complete mosasaur fossils in existence. Mosasaurs were the top predators of the Cretaceous seas of Kansas. They went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous along with the dinosaurs and many other organisms. They are most closely related to modern monitor lizards and snakes.

Made possible by a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Albert J. Robb III

About the Sea Turtle

Sea TurtleProtostega sp (cast)

Fossil sea turtle from the Cretaceous Niobrara Formation (~84 million years old), collected near Quinter, Kansas. Sea turtles were likely prey animals of Mosasaurs in the Cretaceous. This fossil specimen shows nearly 100 small indentations that have been interpreted as bite marks from a Mosasaur that was similar in size to Tylosaurus proriger. The bite marks show no evidence of healing, indicating that the Mosasaur attack was fatal.

Made possible by a gift from the Geology Associates

Get a glimpse of the exhibit and its installation in the video When Fossils Attack: Explore KU's Newest Exhibit ».

Stromatolitic Jasper (polished slab)

Explore the G-Hawk Courtyard

Tour the EEEC's G-Hawk Courtyard and explore boulders from the last 2 billion years of geologic history. The map (below) illustrates each boulder’s location. See the key below the map for the rock type. For more information about each rock, see "G-Hawk Courtyard Boulders" below.

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KU G-Hawk Courtyard Map

G-Hawk Courtyard Boulders

G-Hawk Courtyard Rock Garden

Carefully enter through the gate and “harvest” a specimen or two from the rock garden. The garden is replenished often with new specimens of rocks, minerals, and fossils. Rock garden specimens are added for the public to harvest after they are no longer needed for research or teaching. The materials in the garden come from around the world, where they have been collected by researchers who brought them to KU for study.

G-Hawk Courtyard made possible by a gift from Christopher W. Holien

Architecture Inspired by the Geologic Cross Section of Kansas

The terra cotta panels and stonework on the west face of Ritchie and Slawson Halls show flowing patterns inspired by the faulted and broadly folded stratigraphic layers beneath the surface of Kansas.

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West Face of Ritchie and Slawson Halls

Geologic Structures and Cross Section of KS

Cross Section of KS Superimposed on Ritchie and Slawson Halls