Research Scientist, Curator of Geology,
Richard S. Laub, Ph.D.: firstname.lastname@example.org
Approximately 200,000 specimens are housed in the Museum's Geology Division. The collection started in the 1860's and displays a richness surprising in a mid-sized museum.
A truly remarkable collection of Green River fossils (Eocene of the western U.S.), including birds, flowers and many other unusual items, is on display in "Dinosaurs & Co." Echinoderms (crinoids, cystoids, etc.) are another area of excellence. Western New York Paleozoic fossils are comprehensively represented in the collection, and have long provided material for scientific study.
The eurypterid ("sea scorpion") collection, the largest in any public institution, is featured in a new exhibit. Fossil fishes were a major research interest here early in the 1900's, and this portion of the collection remains one of the best in the country.
The mineral collection, approx. 11,000 specimens, includes fine examples from many classical localities around the world. Of special note are the minerals collected by Charles Wadsworth during his mid-19th Century travels, and David E. Jensen's collection of New York State minerals.
Current research centers on the late Pleistocene and Holocene paleontology and paleoecology of the eastern Great Lakes region, and on the anatomy and biology of the American mastodon, Mammut americanum.
Each summer, the Geology Division runs an excavation of the Hiscock Site in Genesee Co., New York, where a wealth of specimens are obtained for these studies. The Hiscock Site has provided the Museum with one of the finest assemblages of late Pleistocene and Holocene vertebrate fossils in the country. About 120 volunteers are involved in the excavation project each year.
Staff of the Geology Department include Dr. Richard S. Laub (curator), Patricia Karaszewski (laboratory technician), William L. Parsons (scientific illustrator), and a number of volunteers.
When a farmer in Genesee County, New York, dug up large bones and teeth on his land in 1959, he called on staff from the Buffalo Museum of Science to identify them. These mastodon bones were only the first treasure unearthed at the site, where, since 1983, museum staff and volunteers have been searching for additional fossils and artifacts at the annual Ice Age dig.
As an example, Richard S. Laub, Ph.D., Curator of Geology, reported that in the 1999 field season, he and his team of 175 volunteers recovered several thousand specimens. Among the finds: the complete lower jaw of a mastodon with teeth intact, a bone tool fashioned during the Ice Age, several caribou antlers, and a bone from an Ice Age bird. The summer dig has been financed in part by the George G. and Elizabeth G. Smith Foundation of Buffalo.
If you are interested in becoming a partner in exploration and helping to tell a story that took place 13,000 years ago, you may sponsor an excavation pit at the Byron Dig in our Adopt-A-Pit Program.
The Hiscock Site in northeaster Genesee County, New York is considered one of North America’s most important locations for fossils and archaeological artifacts from the late Ice Age. To learn more about the research program visit the Ice Age web page.