Union Pacific Railroad 1899 Fossil Excursion



Approximately 100 scientists participated in the 1899 UPRR fossil expedition, led by University of Wyoming geology professor Wilbur Knight. The “outfit” included 19 two horse-drawn wagons and some saddle horses. They travelled nearly 300 miles in 40 days, making 18 camps with some of their longer stays occurring in the region known as the Freeze-Out Hills.

In 1899, officials from the Union Pacific Railroad invited geologists and paleontologists from universities, colleges, and museums around the country to participate in a scientific expedition to Wyoming, famous for being one of the richest fossil regions in the United States. The railroad offered them free transportation to Laramie and the chance to dig for fossils under the guidance of University of Wyoming Professor Wilbur Knight, the state’s geologist and curator of the Geological Museum.

The University of Wyoming identified fossils unearthed by members of the group, and the Union Pacific Railroad transported them to their home institutions free of charge.

Learn more about the 1899 Union Pacific Railroad Fossil Excursion.

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