Dr. Jim North of William Penn University has a lot of experience with digging up bones and he shared his knowledge of fossils at the Oskaloosa Public Library’s Summer Reading Program Tuesday afternoon.
North had a display of fossils set up in the library’s Reading Garden for children to enjoy.
“I’m going to talk about the fossils you can find in Iowa,” North told the children who were packed into the garden’s gazebo area.
Iowa had “all sorts of animals and all sorts of plants,” North said. People can go to the Russell Wildlife Area to find all sorts of fossils, he added.
Iowa was once a shallow ocean about 100 feet deep. So, people can find lots of sea shells and aquatic fossils, he said.
“We also had mammals here in Iowa,” North said as he held up a fossil of a deer leg bone.
North had some fun activities for the children to do.
The children broke up into groups to “hunt for fossils” — rubber bugs buried in bird seed — as well as make stone rubbings of fossils with paper and crayons.
North also gave the children a homework assignment to do — find their own fossils at home. He gave handouts about how to “read” a landscape by noting things such as water sources, depressions, hills and vegetation to see where animals could have lived.
North said he would do another demonstration for the Summer Reading Program next Tuesday at 2 p.m., where children can work with plaster of paris to make casts of either mammoth bones or tree limbs.