College of Arts and Sciences

MAPS Fossil Expo XXXIII At WIU April 1-3

March 28, 2011

MACOMB, IL – The largest exclusive fossil showing in the world returns to Western Illinois University's Macomb campus Friday, April 1–Sunday, April 3.

Presented by the Mid-America Paleontology Society (MAPS), the 33rd Annual Fossil Expo will be held in Western Hall from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Friday and Saturday (April 1–2) and from 8 a.m.–noon Sunday (April 3). Admission and parking are free.

The Fossil Expo brings dealers, exhibitors and fossil enthusiasts from across the nation and other countries to Western Illinois to view, sell, swap and purchase fossils including trilobites, crinoids, corals, shark teeth, cephalopods, plant fossils, vertebrates, dinosaur eggs, fossil shells, books and other fossil-related merchandise. There will be silent auctions Friday and Saturday and a fossil dig box for children.

A live auction is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. Saturday, featuring some 80 fossils and fossil-related items. In addition, Paleo Prospectors is offering a three-week Dinosaur Dig Trip to South Dakota, Wyoming or North Dakota this June or July. Bidding starts at $900. Proxy bids may be mailed to EXPO chair Tom Williams at Participants can keep almost everything they find, up to $4,000. Proceeds from the auction support paleontology scholarships.

A special exhibit this year will be an Ice Age Park, complete with a Ground Sloth, Saber Tooth Cat, Stegodon and Wooly Rhinoceros, courtesy of Michael and Barbara Sincak from Treasures of the Earth (Johnstown, PA).

Steven Nicklas, assistant professor of anthropology and archeology at Gainsville State College (Atlanta, GA) and owner of Paleo Prospectors, will present the 5:15 p.m. Friday keynote address "Application of Archaeological Field Methods in Paleontology." Niklas, who earned his Ph.D. in Roman archeology at the University of London, has a large teaching collection of North America and Old World artifacts and fossils, including some 50,000 classical and Chinese coins, more than 10,000 pottery fragments and stone tools and other items from prehistoric to World War II eras.

Saturday's presentations are as follows:
9:30 a.m. – Don Johnson (Fairfax, IA), an amateur paleontologist with a special interest in fossil vertebrates, will present "When Tyrannosaurs Roamed Montana." He is founder and president of the Eastern Iowa Paleontology Project (EIPP), a non-profit effort to establish paleontology exhibits, including those with a focus on dinosaurs.

10:45 a.m. – Bill Desmarais (Cedar Rapids, IA), a retired high school earth and environmental science teacher, will present the workshop "'Jurassic Jumble:' Waugh Quarry, Wyoming." He will demonstrate field techniques used to fine, remove and document dinosaur remains from this Jurassic quarry during this interactive and hands-on program. Since 1982, Desmarais has worked with Phil Currie of the Royal Tyrell Museum of Paleontology and the University of Alberta at Edmonton as well as Pete and Neil Larson of the Black Hills Institute of Geologic Research.
12:45 p.m. John Catalani, who taught science for 32 years in a suburban Chicago high school, will present "Ammonites: End of an Era." He is a noted authority on local Cephalopods, and author of the column "An Amateur's Perspective" in American Paleontologist, 1995-present. He will compare and contrast nautiloids and ammonites in terms of morphologic features and lifestyles.

2 p.m. Charles Newsom, an associate professor of physics at The University of Iowa and an amateur fossil collector, will present "Stump the Experts – Bring Your Fossils to ID." Newsom said if he cannot ID it, he would find someone who can. He also will give general tips in identifying material.

3:15 p.m. Tiffany Adrain, collections manager at The University of Iowa Paleontology Repository, and previously in London, England, will present a workshop titled "Who Will Look After My Fossil Collection?" Adrain will discuss why, when and how fossils might be donated to a museum, what museums do with donations and legal requirements for owner transfer and tax deductions for charitable giving.

School groups (K-12) are welcome to attend the MAPS Fossil Expo and tour Western Illinois' Geology Museum. For more information or to arrange a museum tour, contact Bob Johnson at or call (309) 298-1368. Contact WIU Parking Services at (309) 298-1921 for bus unloading and parking instructions.

For more information about the MAPS Fossil Expo, contact Tom Williams at (815) 223-9638 or by email at, or Steve Holley at (309) 231-8861 or by email at, or visit

Posted By: WIU, University Relations
Phone: (309) 298-1993 * Fax: (309) 298-1606