A 91-million-year-old shark, recently described as Cretodus houghtonorum, was discovered in 2010 near a ranch located in Mitchell County. The discovery and excavation were conducted by the authors, Kenshu Shimada and Michael Everhart, adjunct researchers of the Sternberg Museum, along with two assistants from central Kansas, Fred Smith, and Gail Pearson.
Even though the fossil shark is an incomplete skeleton, it still represents the best Cretodus specimen known from North America. The team was able to uncover more than 130 teeth and 60 vertebrae from the site. The shark was estimated to be about 5 meters (nearly 17 feet) long, suggesting the animal was rather sluggish, which is a similar trait to a shark group called Lamniformes. This also includes modern-day distant cousins, the great white and sand tiger sharks.
The specific epithet “houghtonorum” is in honor of the landowners Keith and Deborah Houghton, who generously donated the specimen to the Sternberg. Discoveries like this would not be made possible without the cooperation and generosity of local landowners, and the local knowledge and enthusiasm of amateur fossil collectors, according to the authors. “We believe that continued cooperation between paleontologists and those who are most familiar with the land, is essential to improving our understanding of the geological history of Kansas, and the Earth as a whole,” said Everhart.
The study, A new large Late Cretaceous lamniform shark from North America with comments on the taxonomy, paleoecology, and evolution of the genus Cretodus, will appear in the upcoming issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology and is available online. Click here to read the published paper.
More pictures and information from this dig are posted online at http://oceansofkansas.com/Cretodus.html.
Michael J. Everhart
November 2019 – January 2020
In searching for a personal relationship with our natural environment and finding solace from observing patterns in nature, we can begin to understand the motivations of the artist, Clinton Marstall. Marstall is an MFA graduate in painting and printmaking from Fort Hays State University. He has exhibited throughout the Midwest. He currently lives and works as an artist in Kansas City, Missouri.
Marstall is the 2019 cover artist for the Journal of Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences. Richard Taylor, Professor of Physics at the University of Oregon, wrote an article describing Marstall’s inspiration and process titled, “Nature’s Fractal Similarities: Integrating Art and Science.” Taylor writes, “Nature serves as the unifying force in all of his creations…He integrates a number of biomorphic images into a unique amalgam of multi-scaled complexity.”
To learn more about Clinton Marstall and his exhibit, visit clintonmarstall.blogspot.com
The Sternberg Museum is proud to host Thomas D. Mangelsen: A Life in the Wild. Mangelsen has spent over 40 years filming and photographing nature and wildlife from all over the world. His passion for nature began at an early age through his father who would take his sons along the Platte River in Nebraska to watch the migrating birds.
Some of Mangelsen’s work has been featured in National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Life magazine, National Wildlife, Smithsonian, Natural History, Newsweek, Wildlife Art, American Photo, and Nature’s Best Photography. He was named 2011’s Conservation Photographer of the Year by Nature’s Best Photography, one of the 100 Most Important People in Photography by American Photo magazine, and one of the 40 Most Influential Nature Photographers by Outdoor Photography.
Mangelsen: A Life in the Wild is an exhibition containing 40 of Mangelsen’s most resonant images. His passion for nature and his pursuit of the “perfect picture moment” has led him to capture stunning images of animals in their natural habitat. These images give viewers a small glance into the lives of species, whose struggle for survival is iconic, invoking a better understanding of life in the wild.
To learn more about Thomas D. Mangelsen and his work, visit the exhibit website at https://www.mangelsen.com/exhibition
THOMAS D. MANGELSEN – A LIFE IN THE WILD, Produced by David J. Wagner, L.L.C.