Visitor Center Open / Road Construction
The Ben Reifel Visitor Center is open daily from 8 am to 7 pm. The front parking lot is under construction. Please follow the signs, park in the side lot, and use the side doors. Expect 10 - 15 minute road construction delays along Hwy 240 Loop Road.
Local Partners to Celebrate National Fossil Day
Contact: Jennie Kish Albrinck, 605-433-5240
Contact: Megan Cherry, 605-433-5247
Contact: Sally Shelton, 605-394-2487
BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK, Interior, S.D. - Imagine stumbling upon a 32 million-year-old saber toothed cat. That's exactly what happened to seven-year old Kylie Ferguson during a family trip to Badlands National Park last year. While participating in the park's daily Junior Ranger program, Kylie spotted part of the skull from the long extinct creature. Her discovery of an intact skull is extremely important since most skulls of saber toothed cats are broken or fragmented. The young girl's amazing find is a reminder that ancient wonders and valuable scientific resources are often preserved in rock or sediment just below our feet.
Badlands National Park, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSMT) and Rapid City Regional Hospital (RCRH)will celebrate Kylie's discovery, and its subsequent journey through 21st century technology on National Fossil Day, Wednesday, October 12, at 10:30 A.M. in the Center for Advanced Materials Processing Lab on the SDSMT campus.
This event will coincide with National Fossil Day events on the National Mall. "Fossils deserve Americans' attention and appreciation," said National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, "and I am proud that the National Park Service has been one of the driving forces behind the establishment of National Fossil Day." Badlands National Park will also host a booth at this national event.
In January of this year, RCRH, SDSMT and Badlands National Park partnered to develop to produce 3-D images of the cat skull. This scan "will provide researchers with information that can be used to determine what type of animal attacked this cat and probably caused its death", says Dr. Rachel Benton, park paleontologist. After the fossil's CT scan was completed pictures were converted into a digital model, and 3D-editing software was used to recreate and stitch together missing pieces from the cat's jaw. This digital model was then sent to a fused deposition modeling machine, where an ABS plastic model was created. Cindy Hougland, Supervisor of MRI and CT at RCRH is excited that highly technical equipment purchased to benefit human patients, can also be used to benefit the scientific community.
Skull casts are available at the Badlands Natural History Association (BNHA) bookstore and online (www.badlandsnha.org). BNHA supports scientific research and educational programs in the park.
Badlands National Park is located 9 miles south of exit 131, Interstate 90. If you have any questions about this event, and/or would like more information about the park, including camping and lodging, please call 605-433-5361, or visit www.nps.gov/badl.
Did You Know?
During the Age of Dinosaurs, a warm, shallow sea covered the Great Plains, including what is now Badlands. Since dinosaurs were land creatures, no fossils of these animals have been found in the park. Giant marine lizards called mosasaurs swam in the ancient sea, along with sea turtles and fish.