By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
NEW ALBANY – The occasional alligator that might find its way into Northeast Mississippi waterways is nothing compared to the duck-billed dinosaur that once roamed the region.
“Imagine a landscape filled with large reptiles which scientists believe moved in herds,” said Jill Smith, director of the Union County Heritage Museum. “These creatures grew up to 40 feet long and were vegetarians. And they lived in what is now Union County.”
A thighbone of Hadrosaur, the duck-billed dinosaur, will be on display Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the museum.
Scientists consider the duck-bill to be the prehistoric equivalent of cattle – a “slow-witted, four-legged herbivore” of 75 to 65 million years ago.
Paleontologist George Phillips of the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science discovered the fossil near Blue Springs. At 11 a.m., he will talk on its place in the region’s prehistory.
Hadrosaur is only one of Saturday’s attractions. Phillips will bring a collection of other fossils for display and discussion, and the Memphis Gem and Mineral Society will provide a traveling Quartz Exhibit. Local collectors are encouraged to bring their own collections for show-and-tell, but they have to call ahead to (662) 538-0014 to request space.
“For those of you who have unidentified fossils, you can have them identified by one of the experts who will be on hand,” Smith said.
The event is free, and the public is invited.
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.