past event
Around the Institute

In our Backyard: Unearthing History of Mammoth Proportions

Featuring Kirk Johnson, PhD, vice president and chief curator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Dr. Johnson is the lead scientist on the Snowmastodon Project (TM) near Snowmass Village. On October 14, 2010, a bulldozer operator excavating Ziegler Reservoir saw bones tumble over the top of his bulldozer blade. He immediately knew he had stumbled upon something big. Within two days, scientists from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science were onsite, and within two weeks a Museum team had unearthed what has become one of the most remarkable scientific discoveries in Colorado history. On May 14, the Museum re-opened the excavation that will continue through July 1. To date, they have recovered more than 2,000 bones of mastodon, mammoth, camel, giant bison, deer, and ground sloth. This exceptionally preserved series of Ice Age fossil sites is the best of its kind in all of North America. To learn more about the project, visit

Dr. Johnson will be giving his talk twice at 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 – 7:30 p.m

Fee: $15 for adults; $10 for those 18 & under. Tickets on sale June 13 at and at the door. Information at (970) 544-7970.

Kirk R. Johnson is vice president and chief curator at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. He received his PhD in geology and paleobotany from Yale University in 1989, and did postdoctoral research in the rainforests of northern Australia before coming to Denver in 1991, where he directed the installation of the museum’s Prehistoric Journey exhibit. His research focuses on fossil plants, the environmental effects of the dinosaur-smiting asteroid, and the birth and death of biomes. Johnson also works with artists to create accurate and plausible paintings, murals, and dioramas of prehistoric landscapes, several of which are on display in the Colorado Convention Center. Johnson is the author of Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway and Prehistoric Journey: A History of Life on Earth and Ancient Denvers: Scenes from the Past 300 Million Years of the Colorado Front Range. Johnson lives in Denver, Colorado.

Event information
Thu Jun 23, 2011
4:30pm - 7:30pm GMT+0000
Aspen, CO, United States