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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 1, 2010

PHOTO: Don Johnson, Eastern Iowa’s 'Fossil Guy'

'Fossil Guy' series slated for three November Saturdays at UI Museum
With a passion for collection and a zeal for education, Don Johnson of Iowa City is Eastern Iowa’s “Fossil Guy.” He returns to the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History on Saturday, Nov. 6, to kick off his fall “Fossil Guy” series with “When Tyrannosaurs Roamed Montana.” Additional presentations are planned for Saturdays Nov. 13 and 20.
The programs are free and open to the public and begin at 1 p.m. in Macbride Hall Auditorium on the UI Pentacrest. Johnson, an avocational paleontologist, begins each program with a 20-minute talk geared towards elementary-age school children. A question and answer session follows, as well as opportunities to view and handle fossils that he has collected over the years.

“Don has been sharing his love of paleontology with us since 2002,” said Sarah Horgen, education and outreach coordinator for the museum. “We are so pleased that he will return this fall to share his incredible private collection of fossils and artifacts with us. His charisma captures our interest and our imagination.”

These are the themes of the upcoming Fossil Guy programs:

— Saturday, Nov. 6: "When Tyrannosaurs Roamed Montana.” During the late Cretaceous period, Albertosaurus, Daspletosaurus and the infamous T. rex roamed the lands of Montana. You’ve heard the myths. Now come hear the Fossil Guy sort out truth and fiction. See and touch a T. rex tooth and claw; hear Don’s stories of searching for fossils in South Dakota and Montana, and see a replica of a T. rex jaw. Can you fit your head inside?

— Saturday, Nov. 13: “Fossils Under Your Feet – From the Devonian to the Ice Age” and Mid-America Paleontology Identification Day. The exteriors of many UI campus buildings feature Devonian limestone, but did you know that the Devonian bedstone found in Eastern Iowa contains 375 million years of fossilized history? Come see and touch ancient shallow sea fossils such as coral, cephalopods and trilobites. You’ll also get a chance to see Ice Age fossils that are appearing on the state’s eroding hills and creek banks, including the ground sloth, mammoth, mastodon, and bison.
The Fossil Guy will explain how you can find your own fossils locally, but be sure to bring fossils you’ve already found. At 2 p.m., members of the Mid-America Paleontology Society (MAPS) and the Eastern Iowa Paleontology Project will be available to provide expert identification of your discoveries. Following the Fossil Guy program, MAPS will also hold a business meeting, which all Fossil Guy attendees are welcome to attend.

— Saturday, Nov. 20: “Veggiesauruses Large & Small.” Not all dinosaurs ate meat; some just ate their veggies. Don will show how the Edmontosaurus, Maiasaura, and Parasaurolophus were adapted for chewing food. Why did some of these creatures have horns and spikes? Don will explain and let you touch more real fossils, including teeth, claws, and even an egg. Bring in any questions and enjoy the last fall “Fossil Guy” program.

For more information on the "Fossil Guy" and other Museum of Natural History programs, visit or call 319-335-0606.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Sarah Horgen, Museum of Natural History, 319-335-0606,; Steve Parrott, University Relations 319-384-0037,; Writer: Brett Janecek