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Oregon Coast Aquarium Dives Deep with Fossil Exhibit Starting Soon

Published 06/03/21 at 7:20 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon Coast Aquarium Dives Deep with Fossil Exhibit Starting Soon

(Newport, Oregon) – Oregon Coast Aquarium pulls some major time travel this summer, with an exhibit opening June 11 that features everyone’s favorite ancient entities: the dinosaurs and other ancient beasts. Cruisin’ the Fossil Coastline! takes everyone down a journey through the planet’s geological past, bringing to life the varied species that existed millions of years ago – along with the wild environments they lived in. (Above: a life-sized model of a pachyrhinosaurus)

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The entire west coast is featured in Cruisin' the Fossil Coastline!, from California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia to Alaska. The emphasis will be on the coastal regions of the states. Fossils of the Oregon coast are also spotlighted, though actual dinosaurs found here are extremely rare – with a handful on the south coast.

The entire exhibit features the artwork of Alaska artist Ray Troll, and the exhibit is based on the book of the same name written by Troll and Dr. Kirk Johnson, Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Troll and Johnson logged more than 10,000 miles and 250 days traveling the North American coast in search of fossils and the stories they tell. They visited museums, dove into research collections, collaborated with fellow scientists and artists, and visited active dig sites via automobile, airplane and boat.

The all-ages exhibition features life-size sculptures, models, and images of prehistoric creatures and authentic fossils. The exhibit also features paintings, hand-drawn maps, and light and audio installations by Troll. Footage highlighting Troll's fossil excursions can be viewed in the Oregon Coast Aquarium's theater.

The Oregon-focused portion of the exhibit features fossils found in both Lincoln County and across the state. Oregon's geologic record, extending back approximately 400 million years ago to the Devonian period, before which time the state's landmass was likely submerged under water. The state's earliest fossil record includes plants, corals, and conodonts. Oregon was covered by seaways and volcanic islands during the Mesozoic era, and fossils from this period include marine plants, invertebrates, ichthyosaurs, pterosaurs, and traces such as invertebrate burrows. During the Cenozoic era, Oregon's climate gradually cooled and eventually yielded the environments now found in the state. This era's fossils include marine and terrestrial plants, invertebrates, fish, amphibians, turtles, birds, mammals, and traces such as eggs and animal tracks.

Compare your shoe size with that of a gastronis, a massive flightless bird that roamed the coastline ages ago. Examine the teeth of a desmostylia, an extinct order of herbivorous aquatic mammals. See eye-to-eye with a life-size model of pachyrhinosaurus, a relative of the triceratops. Cruisin' the Fossil Coastline is an immersive experience, bound to fill all viewers with awe toward the world that once was.

Tickets can be purchased on-site or in advance via aquarium.org. 541-867-3474.

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