April 9, 2017

NSP Fossils on Display at UNR

Have you wondered where the prehistoric footprints cut from the Nevada State Prison quarry are located?

The Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering (formerly School of Mines), located at the University of Nevada Reno, is home to the W.M. Keck Museum. Opened in 1908, it is the 2nd oldest museum in Nevada and the oldest geology museum. This is where the fossils are housed.

The second floor of the museum is dedicated to fossils. Here you will find the infamous tracks of the giant sloth, along with fossilized footprints of camel, deer, and dog, all cut from the yard at the Nevada State Prison.

These Pliocene era fossils are exhibited alongside a map, created in 1889, showing the location of the tracks within the prison, where they led, and the kind of animal that made them. This highly detailed map is a copy of the original. The location of the original map is a mystery.

Viewing these exhibits will give you a sense of the immense importance of the fossil field at the Nevada State Prison. The Preservation Society has been told that the sloth footprints could be loaned to us when our museum is ready for business.

Admission is free, and the museum is open Monday-Friday 9:00am to 4:00pm except when UNR is on holiday. This is a great museum and definitely worth the trip to Reno.