Episode 20: W.M. Keck Earth Science and Mineral Engineering Museum

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By Ayla Anderson. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

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This week we are at the University of Nevada, Reno (my alma mater!) speaking with Garrett Barmore at the W.M. Keck Earth Science and Mineral Engineering Museum. Speaking of mouthfuls, we learn all about the helicoprion with its spiraled jaw, as well as John William Mackay and his spectacular silver collection of over 1,200 pieces, and some giant sloth footprints!

John Mackay was an Irish immigrant that became one of the “Four Bananza Kings” from his success in Nevada silver mining. Though he came from humble beginnings, upon his death he had amassed an immense fortune of $150 million dollars in the 1870s (or around $4.6 billion dollars today). His statue can be found in front of the museum building holding a symbolic pickaxe.
We also talk about the amazing helicoprion spiral jaw fossil, which created quite a stir in the fossil community. They have only been found in Nevada, Arizona, and California. The museum also houses giant sloth tracks from the Carson City Trackway (which are the only giant sloth tracks in North America). These tracks, from around 50,000 years ago, come from the Harlan’s Ground Sloth, which stood about 10 feet tall!
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