Wyoming College caters to "ol’ timers" | TheFencePost.com

Wyoming College caters to "ol’ timers"

Quackgrass Sally
Ranch Wife & Trail Gal

Quackgrass SallyA Tyrannosaurus Rex stands in the Atrium at WWCC in Rock Springs, Wyo.

It has been a LONG time since I attended college. Decades in fact, (I won’t tell how many, but let’s just say Joni Mitchell was on the transistor radio) … so I was delighted to find a “school of higher learning” that caters to true ol’ timers.

While attending a trails convention recently in Rock Springs, Wyo., our group main conference/meeting rooms were at the Western Wyoming Community College. Situated on a rise above this historic western town, sits the very modern glass and brick structure. When I drove into the parking lot near the front doors, I noticed right in the middle of the lawn stands a rather unique statue. There, squinting in the sunshine, stands a 9-ton concrete replica of an Easter Island moai. I’m sure you’ve seen such statues on television. Huge ceremonial man-carvings who look out to sea that dot the landscapes on remote Easter Island. Seems this replica was used in scientific experiments filmed in 1987 as part of a two-hour NOVA program about the culture on the island.

WWCC’s anthropology professor, Charles Love, teamed up with artist Gregory Gaylor to design and carve the mold for the casting of the statue. It’s always been a mystery how these huge stones were moved from the quarry to their coastal sites, so Professor Love’s experiment tried several different moving methods, using this replica. They discovered that the most effective way was to pull the statue forward in an upright position on rollers. They stabilized the statue by insetting it on long logs and then 25 men could pull the moai 135-feet in two minutes rolling time. Because this is the only accurate replica in the world and a bit hard to move, he still stands majestically, overlooking the students as they enter the college’s front doors.

Almost late for my first meeting, it didn’t take me long to see I wasn’t the only ol’ fossil in this school. Up and down the main walkways are giant dinosaur specimens, native to Wyoming from throughout the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. A Triceratops stood next to the information desk, grinning down at me as I asked for directions. The first fossil of the Triceratops was found in eastern Wyoming near Lance Creek in 1889. This huge cast came from the Museum of Natural History in New York, where the original is displayed. The six-ton rhinoceros-like dinosaur has horns and a bony cowl, used for protection while living in their herds … but it was its bony snapping beak that gave me a chill.

Continuing down the hall I was amazed to see a Monster fish displayed on a long wall. Seems the Xiphactinus Audax was a gigantic fish that prowled off the shores of the ancient coal-forming swamps of Rock Springs about the same time period as Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus Rex roamed, about 90 and 67 million years ago. These fish ate other fish, some up to 6-feet long, as their jaws had a extensive hinge allowing them to swallow other large fish whole. Looking closer at the fossil, above the center fin on the belly of the fish, you can see a small tooth on the ribs, and another on the gill cover. These are shark’s teeth, which I learned had settled down on the top of the dead fish and become fossilized with the skeleton. The Xiphactinus (pronounced zif-ack-tin-us) is related to the modern herring…. You’d need a mighty big jar to pickle this fish!

A little further along, I came across an exhibit of a fossilized giant turtle. It is a cast of one of the most complete and largest specimens of a Trionichid turtle ever to be found in Wyoming. This soft-shelled creature lived 50 million years ago in a small ancient lake in southwestern Wyoming named Fossil Syncline Lake. The description noted this turtle had three punch marks on its shell caused by a bite from an alligator. The turtle escaped but hid in the soft calcareous mud and died from its wounds.

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The hallway opened into a beautiful glass-windowed atrium and there, like something out of the Jurassic Park film, towered a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton. The most spectacular and fearsome predator of all the dinosaurs stood right here beside the college snack-bar. This five-ton animal lived and walked in Rock Springs nearly 80 million years ago and dinosaur bones are found in rock formations throughout Wyoming even today. I discovered that there are currently only 11 Tyrannosaurus Rex skeletons, real or cast, on display in the world and of these, six are in the U.S., with one right here attending Western Wyoming Community College.

I loved traversing the hallways, discovering the varied types of specimens. Whether it was a Pudding Stone, a swinging Foucault Pendulum or a Plesiosaur suspended from the ceiling, a Stegosaurus or reproductions of Prehistoric Cave Paintings, this campus is beyond just a school. Open to the public everyday, WWCC has the largest easily accessible collection of dinosaurs along I-80 from Chicago to San Francisco. If you get to Rock Springs, explore the museum and wander the fossil filled halls. It’s free and well worth the stop.

Needless to say, after attending a week-long conference, I felt pretty much like one of the exhibits … maybe their Fossil Man display in the Natural History Museum needs a woman.

It has been a LONG time since I attended college. Decades in fact, (I won’t tell how many, but let’s just say Joni Mitchell was on the transistor radio) … so I was delighted to find a “school of higher learning” that caters to true ol’ timers.

While attending a trails convention recently in Rock Springs, Wyo., our group main conference/meeting rooms were at the Western Wyoming Community College. Situated on a rise above this historic western town, sits the very modern glass and brick structure. When I drove into the parking lot near the front doors, I noticed right in the middle of the lawn stands a rather unique statue. There, squinting in the sunshine, stands a 9-ton concrete replica of an Easter Island moai. I’m sure you’ve seen such statues on television. Huge ceremonial man-carvings who look out to sea that dot the landscapes on remote Easter Island. Seems this replica was used in scientific experiments filmed in 1987 as part of a two-hour NOVA program about the culture on the island.

WWCC’s anthropology professor, Charles Love, teamed up with artist Gregory Gaylor to design and carve the mold for the casting of the statue. It’s always been a mystery how these huge stones were moved from the quarry to their coastal sites, so Professor Love’s experiment tried several different moving methods, using this replica. They discovered that the most effective way was to pull the statue forward in an upright position on rollers. They stabilized the statue by insetting it on long logs and then 25 men could pull the moai 135-feet in two minutes rolling time. Because this is the only accurate replica in the world and a bit hard to move, he still stands majestically, overlooking the students as they enter the college’s front doors.

Almost late for my first meeting, it didn’t take me long to see I wasn’t the only ol’ fossil in this school. Up and down the main walkways are giant dinosaur specimens, native to Wyoming from throughout the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. A Triceratops stood next to the information desk, grinning down at me as I asked for directions. The first fossil of the Triceratops was found in eastern Wyoming near Lance Creek in 1889. This huge cast came from the Museum of Natural History in New York, where the original is displayed. The six-ton rhinoceros-like dinosaur has horns and a bony cowl, used for protection while living in their herds … but it was its bony snapping beak that gave me a chill.

Continuing down the hall I was amazed to see a Monster fish displayed on a long wall. Seems the Xiphactinus Audax was a gigantic fish that prowled off the shores of the ancient coal-forming swamps of Rock Springs about the same time period as Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus Rex roamed, about 90 and 67 million years ago. These fish ate other fish, some up to 6-feet long, as their jaws had a extensive hinge allowing them to swallow other large fish whole. Looking closer at the fossil, above the center fin on the belly of the fish, you can see a small tooth on the ribs, and another on the gill cover. These are shark’s teeth, which I learned had settled down on the top of the dead fish and become fossilized with the skeleton. The Xiphactinus (pronounced zif-ack-tin-us) is related to the modern herring…. You’d need a mighty big jar to pickle this fish!

A little further along, I came across an exhibit of a fossilized giant turtle. It is a cast of one of the most complete and largest specimens of a Trionichid turtle ever to be found in Wyoming. This soft-shelled creature lived 50 million years ago in a small ancient lake in southwestern Wyoming named Fossil Syncline Lake. The description noted this turtle had three punch marks on its shell caused by a bite from an alligator. The turtle escaped but hid in the soft calcareous mud and died from its wounds.

The hallway opened into a beautiful glass-windowed atrium and there, like something out of the Jurassic Park film, towered a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton. The most spectacular and fearsome predator of all the dinosaurs stood right here beside the college snack-bar. This five-ton animal lived and walked in Rock Springs nearly 80 million years ago and dinosaur bones are found in rock formations throughout Wyoming even today. I discovered that there are currently only 11 Tyrannosaurus Rex skeletons, real or cast, on display in the world and of these, six are in the U.S., with one right here attending Western Wyoming Community College.

I loved traversing the hallways, discovering the varied types of specimens. Whether it was a Pudding Stone, a swinging Foucault Pendulum or a Plesiosaur suspended from the ceiling, a Stegosaurus or reproductions of Prehistoric Cave Paintings, this campus is beyond just a school. Open to the public everyday, WWCC has the largest easily accessible collection of dinosaurs along I-80 from Chicago to San Francisco. If you get to Rock Springs, explore the museum and wander the fossil filled halls. It’s free and well worth the stop.

Needless to say, after attending a week-long conference, I felt pretty much like one of the exhibits … maybe their Fossil Man display in the Natural History Museum needs a woman.

It has been a LONG time since I attended college. Decades in fact, (I won’t tell how many, but let’s just say Joni Mitchell was on the transistor radio) … so I was delighted to find a “school of higher learning” that caters to true ol’ timers.

While attending a trails convention recently in Rock Springs, Wyo., our group main conference/meeting rooms were at the Western Wyoming Community College. Situated on a rise above this historic western town, sits the very modern glass and brick structure. When I drove into the parking lot near the front doors, I noticed right in the middle of the lawn stands a rather unique statue. There, squinting in the sunshine, stands a 9-ton concrete replica of an Easter Island moai. I’m sure you’ve seen such statues on television. Huge ceremonial man-carvings who look out to sea that dot the landscapes on remote Easter Island. Seems this replica was used in scientific experiments filmed in 1987 as part of a two-hour NOVA program about the culture on the island.

WWCC’s anthropology professor, Charles Love, teamed up with artist Gregory Gaylor to design and carve the mold for the casting of the statue. It’s always been a mystery how these huge stones were moved from the quarry to their coastal sites, so Professor Love’s experiment tried several different moving methods, using this replica. They discovered that the most effective way was to pull the statue forward in an upright position on rollers. They stabilized the statue by insetting it on long logs and then 25 men could pull the moai 135-feet in two minutes rolling time. Because this is the only accurate replica in the world and a bit hard to move, he still stands majestically, overlooking the students as they enter the college’s front doors.

Almost late for my first meeting, it didn’t take me long to see I wasn’t the only ol’ fossil in this school. Up and down the main walkways are giant dinosaur specimens, native to Wyoming from throughout the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. A Triceratops stood next to the information desk, grinning down at me as I asked for directions. The first fossil of the Triceratops was found in eastern Wyoming near Lance Creek in 1889. This huge cast came from the Museum of Natural History in New York, where the original is displayed. The six-ton rhinoceros-like dinosaur has horns and a bony cowl, used for protection while living in their herds … but it was its bony snapping beak that gave me a chill.

Continuing down the hall I was amazed to see a Monster fish displayed on a long wall. Seems the Xiphactinus Audax was a gigantic fish that prowled off the shores of the ancient coal-forming swamps of Rock Springs about the same time period as Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus Rex roamed, about 90 and 67 million years ago. These fish ate other fish, some up to 6-feet long, as their jaws had a extensive hinge allowing them to swallow other large fish whole. Looking closer at the fossil, above the center fin on the belly of the fish, you can see a small tooth on the ribs, and another on the gill cover. These are shark’s teeth, which I learned had settled down on the top of the dead fish and become fossilized with the skeleton. The Xiphactinus (pronounced zif-ack-tin-us) is related to the modern herring…. You’d need a mighty big jar to pickle this fish!

A little further along, I came across an exhibit of a fossilized giant turtle. It is a cast of one of the most complete and largest specimens of a Trionichid turtle ever to be found in Wyoming. This soft-shelled creature lived 50 million years ago in a small ancient lake in southwestern Wyoming named Fossil Syncline Lake. The description noted this turtle had three punch marks on its shell caused by a bite from an alligator. The turtle escaped but hid in the soft calcareous mud and died from its wounds.

The hallway opened into a beautiful glass-windowed atrium and there, like something out of the Jurassic Park film, towered a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton. The most spectacular and fearsome predator of all the dinosaurs stood right here beside the college snack-bar. This five-ton animal lived and walked in Rock Springs nearly 80 million years ago and dinosaur bones are found in rock formations throughout Wyoming even today. I discovered that there are currently only 11 Tyrannosaurus Rex skeletons, real or cast, on display in the world and of these, six are in the U.S., with one right here attending Western Wyoming Community College.

I loved traversing the hallways, discovering the varied types of specimens. Whether it was a Pudding Stone, a swinging Foucault Pendulum or a Plesiosaur suspended from the ceiling, a Stegosaurus or reproductions of Prehistoric Cave Paintings, this campus is beyond just a school. Open to the public everyday, WWCC has the largest easily accessible collection of dinosaurs along I-80 from Chicago to San Francisco. If you get to Rock Springs, explore the museum and wander the fossil filled halls. It’s free and well worth the stop.

Needless to say, after attending a week-long conference, I felt pretty much like one of the exhibits … maybe their Fossil Man display in the Natural History Museum needs a woman.

It has been a LONG time since I attended college. Decades in fact, (I won’t tell how many, but let’s just say Joni Mitchell was on the transistor radio) … so I was delighted to find a “school of higher learning” that caters to true ol’ timers.

While attending a trails convention recently in Rock Springs, Wyo., our group main conference/meeting rooms were at the Western Wyoming Community College. Situated on a rise above this historic western town, sits the very modern glass and brick structure. When I drove into the parking lot near the front doors, I noticed right in the middle of the lawn stands a rather unique statue. There, squinting in the sunshine, stands a 9-ton concrete replica of an Easter Island moai. I’m sure you’ve seen such statues on television. Huge ceremonial man-carvings who look out to sea that dot the landscapes on remote Easter Island. Seems this replica was used in scientific experiments filmed in 1987 as part of a two-hour NOVA program about the culture on the island.

WWCC’s anthropology professor, Charles Love, teamed up with artist Gregory Gaylor to design and carve the mold for the casting of the statue. It’s always been a mystery how these huge stones were moved from the quarry to their coastal sites, so Professor Love’s experiment tried several different moving methods, using this replica. They discovered that the most effective way was to pull the statue forward in an upright position on rollers. They stabilized the statue by insetting it on long logs and then 25 men could pull the moai 135-feet in two minutes rolling time. Because this is the only accurate replica in the world and a bit hard to move, he still stands majestically, overlooking the students as they enter the college’s front doors.

Almost late for my first meeting, it didn’t take me long to see I wasn’t the only ol’ fossil in this school. Up and down the main walkways are giant dinosaur specimens, native to Wyoming from throughout the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. A Triceratops stood next to the information desk, grinning down at me as I asked for directions. The first fossil of the Triceratops was found in eastern Wyoming near Lance Creek in 1889. This huge cast came from the Museum of Natural History in New York, where the original is displayed. The six-ton rhinoceros-like dinosaur has horns and a bony cowl, used for protection while living in their herds … but it was its bony snapping beak that gave me a chill.

Continuing down the hall I was amazed to see a Monster fish displayed on a long wall. Seems the Xiphactinus Audax was a gigantic fish that prowled off the shores of the ancient coal-forming swamps of Rock Springs about the same time period as Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus Rex roamed, about 90 and 67 million years ago. These fish ate other fish, some up to 6-feet long, as their jaws had a extensive hinge allowing them to swallow other large fish whole. Looking closer at the fossil, above the center fin on the belly of the fish, you can see a small tooth on the ribs, and another on the gill cover. These are shark’s teeth, which I learned had settled down on the top of the dead fish and become fossilized with the skeleton. The Xiphactinus (pronounced zif-ack-tin-us) is related to the modern herring…. You’d need a mighty big jar to pickle this fish!

A little further along, I came across an exhibit of a fossilized giant turtle. It is a cast of one of the most complete and largest specimens of a Trionichid turtle ever to be found in Wyoming. This soft-shelled creature lived 50 million years ago in a small ancient lake in southwestern Wyoming named Fossil Syncline Lake. The description noted this turtle had three punch marks on its shell caused by a bite from an alligator. The turtle escaped but hid in the soft calcareous mud and died from its wounds.

The hallway opened into a beautiful glass-windowed atrium and there, like something out of the Jurassic Park film, towered a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton. The most spectacular and fearsome predator of all the dinosaurs stood right here beside the college snack-bar. This five-ton animal lived and walked in Rock Springs nearly 80 million years ago and dinosaur bones are found in rock formations throughout Wyoming even today. I discovered that there are currently only 11 Tyrannosaurus Rex skeletons, real or cast, on display in the world and of these, six are in the U.S., with one right here attending Western Wyoming Community College.

I loved traversing the hallways, discovering the varied types of specimens. Whether it was a Pudding Stone, a swinging Foucault Pendulum or a Plesiosaur suspended from the ceiling, a Stegosaurus or reproductions of Prehistoric Cave Paintings, this campus is beyond just a school. Open to the public everyday, WWCC has the largest easily accessible collection of dinosaurs along I-80 from Chicago to San Francisco. If you get to Rock Springs, explore the museum and wander the fossil filled halls. It’s free and well worth the stop.

Needless to say, after attending a week-long conference, I felt pretty much like one of the exhibits … maybe their Fossil Man display in the Natural History Museum needs a woman.