Welcome to Kansas City, a vast shallow sea teeming with primitive forms of life… Kansas City has come a long way since those days – about 300 million years ago. A study of the rocks beneath our feet reveals the existence of ancient seas, swamp-like forests, and continental glaciers – as well as the skeletal remains of a vast array of extinct creatures entombed in the rock, and recovered as fossils.
These clues to our past and other historic evidence can be seen in an exhibit entitled “Kansas City Millions of Years Ago: What the Rock Record Tells Us” at the The Box Gallery. Located inside Commerce Bank, 1000 Walnut Street, the show will open with a reception on Friday, March 1, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dr. Richard Gentile, professor emeritus at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and curator of the UMKC Geosciences Museum, will be on hand to welcome guests. Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The show, running until May 31, consists of local fossil specimens and new illustrations that will reveal what the environments, creatures and vegetation may have looked like, before they were entombed in Kansas City’s substrata.
On Tuesday, April 9th, at the Central Kansas City Public Library, 14 West 10th Street, Dr. Gentile will lecture on interpreting the fossilized evidence that surrounds us. A reception at 6:00 p.m. will precede the 6:30 p.m. program.
Those who visit the Box Gallery on Tuesday, March 12 or Wednesday, March 20, may enjoy a personal tour conducted by Dr. Gentile. Tours begin at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. both days.
Gentile, a UMKC geology professor from 1966 to 1999, is the author of Rocks and Fossils of the Central United States with Special Emphasis on the Greater Kansas City Area, published by the University of Kansas Press. He describes the fossil finds he and others have made when highways are dug, buildings are excavated or river beds shift. As proof of the presence of fossils in our midst, in 1928 a perfectly preserved mastodon molar was uncovered from an excavation on the Country Club Plaza.