“The Mosasaur Ranch Museum, Big Bend. TX

Thursday, November 19th, 2009



“Nothing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be a time. Let it first blossom then bear fruit, then ripen”.
Epictetus (C. 55 – C. 135) Greek Stoic Philosopher

The Museum  

So I am going to try real hard not to ruin any names, any facts as all is about as long and has as many letters as years past in between then and now. How could this had been our third time coming back to Terlingua and never heard of this Museum? It is all corrected now since this morning ride. The plan was to leave early, it was however 20 degrees, no mistake as even Spirit was not putting his nose out as I did for only a brief moment. This is Desert climate, it was 81 by mid afternoon. 61 degrees of difference, I often wonder how good this is on the body.

Ocean floor Ocean floor
Ocean floor  

I was excited about this very personal tour John was going to give me. Looking back I am glad I was a good diversion for him from watching too many cartoons on his computer screens. I wonder if he will still talk to me after reading the above words? I am sure he will. This was not the stuffy “huffy” polished marble floor do not breath or touch anything Museum. This is the hands on touch me and talk to me kitchen of those well done millions of years ago bones.

giant clam little clams
Excavation site  

We took a walk outside and for as much respect as I have ever had for my surroundings, this walk truly heightened my senses as never before once I knew what I was walking on. John was a great narrator and guide through those moments with so many sights that has themselves taken millions of years to be present in front of us. We were on an Ocean bed. Huge clam shells were distinct every few feet. The smaller clams nesting where also still gripping as hanging on to the Mother Ship. The Mosasaurs were discovered here, their bones found, their neck bones still engraved in the soft soil could only prove to me the reality of it all. There is a lot of information on their website, “Mosasaur Ranch Museum”, it is not my place to duplicate Ken’s words, the soft spoken curator, founder and bottle washer of this incredible Museum as I quote him…

Bones Clam shell

“The now mountainous Big Bend area of West Texas was under seas for millions of years, and the last sea, the Western Interior Seaway,  receded away from West Texas about 80 million years ago, receding to the Southeast to where the Gulf of Mexico is today. These vast marine deposits preserved every kind of marine fossils including Mosasaurs which are not Dinosaurs but marine lizards that evolved from small land lizards that went to the sea about 90 million years ago. These mosasaurs grew to gigantic sizes. After the sea went away the Dinosaurs moved in to occupy the land until they went extinct 65 millions of years ago. The mountains came much later. They are to young to talk about.”

Old Terlingua Rd sign Old can
Excavation site  

We even walked down a bit from the excavation sites to meet “Old Terlingua” road and and a sign now blank as the paved road has taken over, a bit away from this private land. Only old cans were left behind, real cans made at the time as their metal felt thick and solid unlike the rolled and pressed ones of today. This old road was also part of Comanche and Apache trails taken by the Tribes when shuffled from State to State only a few years ago. Same here at “The Oasis”, 30 miles or so north.

bones bones

We went inside. I felt insignificant, as I also feel when at “The Oasis” laying on the ground and letting the skies and the stars at night be my ceiling. Watch and think about the infinite Space and us here, Humans, bodies lasting as a time worth a spec of sand and even less. These were not “imitation” bones, they were not “casts” or plastic or models created by a machine. They were the millions of years old femurs and tibias and skulls with jaws with real teeth I was across now, separated by none and yet such vastness of Life past. There were shark teeth, they were turtle shells, stomach shell petrified with their content, and dust and much passion for it all. Years and many years of it.

Mosasaur stomach Mosasaur stomach
Shark Teeth Shark Teeth

I can now close my eyes and yet unable to imagine the past stage I step on daily. It is almost as incomprehensible, a bit frightening actually as I think only being in our moment saves us from digging in too deep into long ago and futures to come. It is now a quiet Desert, the Earth is no more trembling from the past heavy footed steps, and yet “they” were here. They were off the shores swimming for a long time, they were surviving with the sharks, the turtles, the boney giant fish they fought to avoid their extinction, but to no avail they have been gone now forever.

Mosasaur skull  

The mountains then came in and a new breed only a few miles away called Dinosaurs took over. The Earth continued trembling till again that cycle ended, as fast forward, here we are, through only science trying to make heads and tails literally of it all. I was surprised to say the least as to how few visitors the Museum gets. I would think with such discoveries there would be a waiting line to witness it all, to feel it all. They have many students that show up to help with the excavations, but overall this is a Treasure one needs to stop by and discover on their own. I did.

lab lab

Till next time, you all be well, always, it is our best choice.

Ara & Spirit

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skull Skull

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6 Responses to ““The Mosasaur Ranch Museum, Big Bend. TX”

  1. Carol S. Says:

    Your best “video” yet. Terrific!

  2. D. Brent Miller Says:

    Looking at the desert, looking at the mountains, looking at the fossils, it makes one feel … humble and a little insignificant in the big picture of things. –Brent

  3. Joseph Schmoe Says:

    I really liked the video/slide presentation Ara. The selection of music and photos really worked for me. Thanks for the post.

  4. Torch Says:

    I’m going to have to ride out there & check it out for myself now. Looks fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Ride on,

  5. Toni Bowen Says:

    Great video and FABULOUS music – perfect for the subject!

  6. Ring Paul Huggins III Says:

    Hey Ara,

    Great photos…great presentation. Good promotion for Ken’s work!


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