The World Fossil Finder Museum in Hot Springs showcases amazing finds
Working as a chief investigator for the Smithsonian Institution, teaching paleontology in Florida and making legendary fossil finds. Frank is responsible for 30 new animals to science, including several named for him, like Sub-Antilocaptra garciae, an antelope ancestor.
In 1983, Frank discovered the world’s richest, earliest Ice Age site in Tampa Bay, Florida.
Frank retired about eight years ago and moved to the Black Hills, where he runs the World Fossil Finder Museum.
The World Fossil Finder Museum in Hot Springs was given to Frank as a gift, and it came as a total surprise by a “wonderful, wonderful, young lady.”
The museum contains a large variety of fossils from mammals from all over the world, like Bosnia, China and Russia for people to discover.
There’s also the largest meat-eating reptile in the heartland of America, bigger than a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Frank says Sue the T. Rex is 42 feet long, but theirs is about 50 feet long.
Despite retiring and his many accomplishments, Frank says there’s one thing he always wanted to do.
“The thing is, I always wanted to find a mosasaur vertebrae, and mosasaur’s a swimming reptile. You can’t find them in Florida,” Frank said. “So I came up here and I made friends with a man in town in Edgemont named Gary Brown, and he takes me out to several miles out of town. He says, ‘I’ll take you to a place where we can find mosasaur vertebrae. So he goes right, I go left and I run across this vertebral column that’s all weathered away up here. And I stuck my knife into the ground and I can feel all kinds of bones, two or three inches below the ground, and bring my wife over the next day. And Gary and I, my wife and three days we dug up this whole mosasaur skeleton.”
It turns out that discovery became the biggest mosasaur ever found.
“Pete Larson came over to my house, the great dinosaur digger, the king of dinosaurs. He came over to my house, and when he saw my my fossils in the plaster jacket, he said, ‘This is the biggest, best, Tylosaur that’s ever been found.’ It’s a new genus and it’s a new species. Never been named. It was a total surprise. And I named it after my wife, Debbie Sue, appropriately.”
For more information on the World Fossil Finder Museum, click here.