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 the exhibit Kansas City Millions of Years Ago: What the Rock Record Tells Us. The show 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.
Dr. Richard 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, a perfectly preserved mastodon molar was uncovered from an excavation on the Country Club Plaza in 1928.
Dr. Gentile will be present to welcome gallery guests at the opening reception, and on April 9 he will be lecturing on interpreting the the fossilized evidence that surrounds us at the Central Kansas City Public Library.