Rutgers Geology Museum showcases some ancient Jersey Devils: BTN LiveBIG
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Rutgers Geology Museum
Today, people in New Jersey speak of the legendary Jersey Devil, a famed cryptid that lurks in the state’s Pine Barrens region. But millions of years ago a real devil roamed prehistoric New Jersey; a long-necked, fleet-of-foot carnivorous dinosaur called the Grallator.
How do we know so much about the Grallator’s whereabouts while the other Jersey Devil remains relegated to folklore? From fossilized footprints the creature left behind which can be seen on display at the Rutgers University Geology Museum.
Formally founded in 1872 by State Geologist and Rutgers professor George H. Cook, the museum’s core collection began to take shape nearly four decades earlier. In 1836, Professor Lewis C. Beck contributed an assemblage of items, including Native American artifacts, minerals and fossils, among them the aforementioned Grallator tracks.
Cook’s desire to stir the public’s interest in Rutgers’ scientific endeavors was further aided by a 1940 gift of 2,400 fluorescent mineral samples from the New Jersey Zinc Company. These rare minerals are native to New Jersey and illuminate the state’s geological and industrial past.
Visitors today can gaze upon the remains of a giant spider crab, a mastodon, even a 2,400 year old Ptolemaic-era Egyptian mummy. Students in grades K-12 can participate in a number of educational outreach programs that allows them to dive deep into the wonders of the natural world. And, members of the public can mingle with geologists and curators at the annual open house.
Just remember to watch out for the Jersey Devil.