Fossil exhibit alive at Washburn

Washburn University

TOPEKA – Ever wonder what roamed the Earth more than 88 million years ago?

Find out at a fossil exhibit featuring fossil hunter Alan Detrich’s 20 foot long Mosasaur and half of a 12-foot-long Xiphactinus. These fossils will take you from the realm of fantasy to reality, Sept. 22-24 under the tent on the Memorial Union lawn. The exhibit is free and open to the public. Free 65-million-year-old shark teeth will be given away and attendees will have the opportunity to clean a fossil, extracting it from native Kansas limestone.


Sept. 22, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Sept. 23, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sept. 24, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Mosasaurs means “lizard of the Maas.” They were the largest lizards that ever evolved and attained lengths of almost 60 feet long with skulls six-foot-long. It’s believed the bite force of the Mosasaur was at least equal to that of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Detrich has mounted the Mosasaur fossil on a sea shell made out of resin, steel and wood and he painted the shell a new stealth color the Army uses.

Xiphactinus means “Sword Ray.” They were a large predatory bony fish that lived in a shallow prehistoric sea that once covered what is now the central portion of the United States. It was believed to attain lengths of 18 to 20 feet with fangs 2 inches long. Xiphactinus probably consumed smaller sharks. For the past 10 years Detrich hopes that one day the Xiphactinus fish will be the state fossil for Kansas.

For more information about the exhibit, contact Detrich at (785) 766-7207.