Nov. 11, 2003
Gordon Ovenshine (724) 738-4854; e-mail:
FOSSILS BEQUEATHED TO SLIPPERY ROCK UNIVERSITY BY
Pa. - A Slippery Rock University graduate bequeathed a "rare and
unique" collection of fossils to the university, providing
outstanding opportunities for students to examine the plant life
and geology of western Pennsylvania as it existed 320 million years
late Louis Souzer, a 1977 biology graduate, and his wife, Ann,
collected the 70 fossils on their property in Butler County over
many years. Louis Souzer died six months ago and gave the
collection through his will.
fossilized Carboniferous plants are in "particularly good shape,"
says SRU Dr. Thomas Gaither, a biology professor who remembers
Souzer as a student. He says the cache is rare because the pliable
nature of sand seldom preserves non-woody plants.
they were preserved is a scientific study in itself," says Dr.
Tamra Schiappa, assistantprofessor of geography, geology and
environment. "It's a very rare and unique
of the sandstone rocks split, revealing the outline of plant stems.
One of the plants, Calamites, is an ancient example of a
modern horsetail, a plant whose descendants still grow in the area,
will be able to visit the site in Mercer County to investigate how
the plants were preserved. Typically, fossils form after a rapid
burial of plant or animal life in layers of mud that over millions
of years harden to stone.
possibilities exist for a field location for students in our
college," Dr. Jane Fulton, dean of the College of Health,
Environment and Science said. "And the fossils included in this
important gift to the university will become the foundation of a
hands-on laboratory for students from our campus as well as
students from schools across western Pennsylvania. We are grateful
to acquire this collection."
The fossils are on campus and may be