Many parts of the southern United States resemble barren deserts filled with rocks, dust and an unrelenting heat index. But that’s not the case in one small town in Texas where Executive Director Andre LuJan with Texas Through Time, a grassroots nature and science museum recently unearthed a treasure trove of rare
Scientists say the nearly complete set of dinosaur bones belongs to a new genus known as ankylosaur, from the late Cretaceous period. The find was recently featured on Fox News and has gained attention from scientists, universities and museums throughout the United States. LuJan values the find at approximately $1 million, if it were to be sold.
Joseph Sertich, PhD, curator of dinosaurs with Denver Museum of Nature and Science had this to say, "As the best armored dinosaur from the southernmost U.S., this discovery will help paleontologists connect ancient Texas to other big discoveries from other parts of the country, elevating it to dinosaur hot spots like Utah and
What makes the dig site so rare—its diverse collection of fossils—plants, fish, birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. Rich bio-diversity on-site makes it a tropical and sub-tropical ecosystem—a paleontologist’s dream.
Like a bloodhound, LuJan’s unique talent for sniffing out dinosaur teeth and bones also translates to his knack for crafting collaboration projects with some well-known movers and shakers.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science has been on the receiving end of LuJan’s generosity. “He’s donated fossil plants and teeth from lizards, fish, sharks and dinosaurs, over 700 individual pieces,” Sertich said LuJan is somewhat of a disrupter as he rewrites the rule books on museum management—one discovery at a
time. He has adopted a revolutionary approach that affects how his museum operates—from the way he attracts top talent, to new partners and creative funding strategies. “We’re a museum grooming and mentoring the next generation of paleontologists by creating opportunities for college interns interested in
making a career out of paleontology,” LuJan said.
Unlike traditional museums reliant on government grants, LuJan creates private and public partnerships that bypass the red tape synonymous with government funding. He also collaborates with scientists in Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas. He is currently creating a research team for the ankylosaur project kickoff scheduled for fall 2019.
“I am excited to join the scientists working with Andre LuJan and the Texas Through Time Museum. Not only are there new discoveries, but we also have an opportunity to reconstruct this ancient and diverse ecosystem,” said Sarah Maccracken, PhD candidate in the Department of Entomology at University of Maryland, College Park and a research associate at Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
Please contact Andre Lujan for more information about interviews. 254.262.DINO (3466).
Article written by: Elise Oberliesen