Far from the green wooded landscape of West Tennessee, 11 college geology students and two faculty members stared across a seemingly infinite expanse of plateau dotted with short spurts of grass. A closer view of the panorama revealed canyon-like cuts in the terrain, cuts that concealed artifacts never seen by human eyes. It was May 2011 when the students from the University of Tennessee at Martin arrived
at the Dighton, Kan., farmland. It was hot as they assessed the dry crumbly earth, a fine dust covered their shoes and the bottoms of their jeans. Sunglasses protected their eyes from the beating sun, but their eyes were constantly tilted toward the ground, searching, searching… and then there was the discovery.
“They uncovered fossils buried for millions of years, some of which are new and significant finds to science,” said Dr. Michael Gibson, UT Martin professor of geology.
He was referring to the Mosasaur, a prehistoric marine lizard, and two prehistoric fish fossils from the Cretaceous period that the group found and excavated to be displayed in the Discovery Park of America being built in Union City, Tenn.