JOHNSON CITY (Jan. 30, 2018) – On Saturday, Feb. 17, the Gray Fossil Site and Museum will celebrate the life and times of Charles Darwin by taking part in Darwin Day, an international observation of the 209th birthday of the famous naturalist.
The day will highlight Darwin’s unique contributions to science through fun activities, demonstrations and a talk of interest to all ages.
“Even today, over a century after his death, Charles Darwin is admired worldwide for his insatiable scientific curiosity and insight into nature,” said Gray Fossil Site paleontologist Dr. Chris Widga. “Few 19th century naturalists contributed so much to so many disciplines.”
From 10 a.m.-4 p.m., participants may see fossils up close and take part in family-friendly activities. Admission will be discounted to $3 for adults and children age 3 and up for the event.
Gray Fossil Site paleontologists will demonstrate 3-D scanning and printing of fossils from the museum’s collections and exhibits. A craft table and scavenger hunt for children age 2 and up are also planned.
“Darwin, Extinct Megafauna and Underwater Caves of the Yucatán” is the focus of a talk to be given at 11 a.m. by Dr. Blaine W. Schubert, executive director of the Center of Excellence in Paleontology at East Tennessee State University.
In this presentation, Schubert will link Darwin’s discoveries to the current understanding of why animals exist in certain areas today. He will also address the extinction of large mammals in the Americas at the end of the last Ice Age and how new fossil discoveries in underwater caves of the Yucatán are revolutionizing science’s understanding of Ice Age ecosystems that existed between North and South America.
The Gray Fossil Site is a 5-million-year-old paleontological site containing the fossil remains of thousands of plants and animals. The site was originally discovered in 2000 during highway construction. Then-Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist ordered that the site be protected, and in 2007, a museum and research center managed by ETSU opened.
Since that time, the Gray Fossil Site and Museum has been dedicated to scientific discovery, paleontological research and education in southern Appalachia. In 2016, the Gray Fossil Site and Museum entered into a collaborative agreement with the Hands On! Regional Museum, which began managing educational programming and exhibits.
To learn more, visit http://gfsm.handsonmuseum.org.