World Fossil Finder Museum in Hot Springs Features Amazing Finds

Franck Garcia

Working as a chief investigator for the Smithsonian Institution, teaching paleontology in Florida, and making legendary fossil discoveries. Frank is responsible for 30 animals new to science, several of which bear his name, such as Sub-Antilocaptra garciae, an ancestor of the antelope.

In 1983, Frank discovered the richest and oldest ice age site in the world in Tampa Bay, Florida.

Frank retired about eight years ago and moved to the Black Hills, where he runs the World Fossil Finder Museum.

World Fossil Research Museum 21World Fossil Research Museum

The World Fossil Research Museum in Hot Springs was given to Frank as a present, and it came as a complete surprise by a “wonderful, wonderful young lady”.

The museum has a wide variety of mammal fossils from around the world, such as Bosnia, China, and Russia, for you to discover.

There’s also the largest meat-eating reptile in America’s heartland, bigger than a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Frank says Sue the T. Rex is 42 feet long, but theirs is about 50 feet long.

World Fossil Research Museum 10Discovery of the mosasaur

Despite his retirement and many accomplishments, Frank says there’s one thing he’s always wanted to do.

“The thing is, I’ve always wanted to find a mosasaur vertebrae, and mosasaur a swimming reptile. You can’t find them in Florida,” Frank said. “So I came here and befriended a man from the town of Edgemont named Gary Brown, and he takes me several miles out of town. He says, ‘I’ll take you to a place where we can find mosasaurus vertebrae. So he goes right, I go left and I run through this spine that’s all eroded here. And I stuck my knife in the ground and I can feel all kinds of bones, two or three inches under, and bring my wife the next day. And Gary and me, my wife and three days we dug it all up mosasaur skeleton.”

It turns out that the discovery became the greatest mosasaur never found.

“Pete Larson came to my house, the great dinosaur researcher, the king of the dinosaurs. He came to my house, and when he saw my fossils in the plaster blanket, he said, “That’s the biggest, best, Tylosaur that’s ever been found.” It’s a new genus and it’s a new species. Never been named. It was a total surprise. And I named it after my wife, Debbie Sue, appropriately.

For more information on the World Fossil Finder Museum, click here.

About Carlos V. Mitchell

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