Daily Egyptian

Help name SIU’s dinosaur

A+dinosaur+cast+resembling+70-million-year-old+fossils+sits+on+display+Friday%2C+Jan.+20%2C+2017%2C+in+the+main+lobby+of+Browne+Auditorium+near+the+south+entrance.+%28Bill+Lukitsch+%7C+%40lukitsbill%29
A dinosaur cast resembling 70-million-year-old fossils sits on display Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, in the main lobby of Browne Auditorium near the south entrance. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

A dinosaur cast resembling 70-million-year-old fossils sits on display Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, in the main lobby of Browne Auditorium near the south entrance. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

A dinosaur cast resembling 70-million-year-old fossils sits on display Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, in the main lobby of Browne Auditorium near the south entrance. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

By Zachary Shaw

The university’s geology department is asking students to help name the dinosaur cast that has been on display in Browne Auditorium since summer.

Bragging rights and a $50 scholarship are offered to whoever submits the winning name for the Protoceratops, a herbivore that commonly inhabited Western Asia 70 million years ago. The geology department launched the contest Wednesday on Desire 2 Learn, the university’s online learning platform.

Scott Ishman, a paleontologist and professor of geology, said the idea to have it named had been brewing for awhile, so the contest was conceived as a way to get students interested in both the dinosaur and the geology department.

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“It seems to have worked,” he said. “In the first hour over 300 submissions had come in, and they are still coming in.”

The six-foot-long Protoceratops is thought to be female, and would have weighed roughly 400 pounds during its life, according to a report written by Ken Anderson, a professor of geology.

The cast, made from a synthetic resin and manufactured in St. Louis, is a “an exact duplicate” of the 70-million-year-old skeleton, according to Anderson’s report. In an interview, Anderson said the fossils were collected roughly a decade ago and are in the hands of a private collector.

Anderson is reviewing the naming process and expects to announce a winner within the week.

“We get everything from well thought out answers to the hysterical and off-beat answers,” he said. “We will wait a few more days, and then pick the top five or six and choose from those answers.”

Zachary Shaw can be reached at [email protected], 618-536-3325 or on Twitter @zlshaw

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