The Shuler Museum of Paleontology houses research and teaching collections of fossil vertebrates, invertebrates and plants. The museum supports the preparation, curation and loan of fossils, and fosters paleontological research at SMU by undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, and visiting scholars. Current research emphasis is on fossil vertebrates and plants. Vertebrate collections have special strengths in the Mesozoic and Cenozoic of Texas, and the Mesozoic of the southwestern U.S.
The Shuler Museum facilitates and participates in educational outreach at all levels from preschool to lifelong learners, and it supplies exhibit specimens to public museums, including the Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. The museum, through its research programs and the scientific work of its faculty, staff and students, is an internationally recognized research center that brings significant credit to the University.
Museum facilities include well-equipped preparation and research laboratories. The Digital Earth Sciences Laboratory at SMU has instrumentation for 3D laser scanning, CT data processing, and computer analysis of spatial data. Students also have access to the facilities of the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, including the Stable Isotope Laboratory and laboratories for SEM, XRD and XRF analysis.
For more information on the Shuler Museum of Paleontology, including current research, collections, publications, personnel, or to schedule a visit, follow this link:
Shuler Museum Website http://smu.edu/shulermuseum/default.html
Paluxysaurus jonesi is not only the symbol of the Shuler Museum, it is also the state dinosaur of Texas. This dinosaur was a massive sauropod that lived in what is now Texas during the Early Cretaceous (about 112 million years ago). The fossil remains of this intriguing animal were discovered by SMU researchers in the 1990s and 2000s and were officially described by Peter Rose, an SMU graduate student, in 2009. Rose’s analysis showed that it is most closely related to Brachiosaurus, the long-necked dinosaur made famous in popular culture (e.g., Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park).
Currently, about 60-70% of the skeletal elements of Paluxysaurus jonesi have been discovered, making it the most complete skeleton of any North American sauropod from the Cretaceous. From this skeleton, we know that this animal was about 12 feet tall at the shoulder and about 60 feet long, including its 26 foot long neck. It is estimated to have weighed over 20 tons.