Paleofest '98

By Dr. Bruce J. MacFadden

Paleofest98, a celebration of Florida paleontology held on Friday and Saturday 20-21 November, was a resounding success with 320 participants. Paleofest98 coincided with the annual Fall meeting of the Florida Paleontological Society. The activities started on Friday night with a great lecture by internationally famous dinosaur digger Jack Horner. Over 1,000 folks attended his lecture and Museum Associates-sponsored reception afterwards in the FLMNH’s new Exhibits and Education Center at Powell Hall. The ever-popular and affable Jack was highly sought-after for autographs, as can be seen by the line waiting for an audience with him in the museum (photo). The Friday evening reception also included the dedication by FLMNH Distinguished Curator Dr. S. David Webb of the fabulous new Aucilla River Columbian Mammoth skeleton, which is now installed in our Central Gallery at Powell Hall (see “Aucilla Mammoth...”). Saturday’s activities included a morning lecture on the new Hall of Florida Fossils by Dr. Gina Gould, Project Director, and then a tour behind the scenes of the FLMNH’s paleontological research collections. Saturday afternoon activities were devoted to workshops and field trips, including Dr. Webb’s well-attended workshop on Florida elephants. The Paleofest98 activities concluded on Saturday evening with a banquet and benefit auction. Paleofest98 was educational and fun for all. Net proceeds will be used to support the new fossil exhibits at Powell Hall. We are currently in the initial planning stages for PaleofestY2K.

Editor's Note: Dr. Bruce J. MacFadden is Associate Director of the Florida Museum of Natural History.