Permanent Exhibits

The Hall of Natural History
graysreef Featured in The Hall of Natural History are the Mosasaur (Tylosaurus proriger) and Vogtle whale (Georgiacetus vogtlensis). Exhibits on whale evolution, the Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary and eocene mammals, as well as a kids’ interactive area, explore 80 million years of natural history in the coastal plain.

The Mosasaur

The 78-million year old, 26-foot long, fossil skeleton of a Mosasaur (Tylosaurus proriger) dominates the Hall of Natural History. Mosasaurs were formidable marine carnivores inhabiting the prehistoric waters that covered much of southern Georgia during the Mesozoic Era. As a group, mosasaurs were especially diverse and abundant during the late Cretaceous, the same period that Tyrannosaurus rex ruled the land. Over 85% of the skeleton of the Georgia Southern Mosasaur was recovered, making this world-class specimen a unique find.

Click here to download a 12 minute video (mp4 file) documenting the discovery of this Mosasaur now housed at Georgia Southern Museum and responsible for helping found the museum. Please note, video references to the Museum’s layout were reflective of its layout in the early 1980s, when this video was produced.

The Vogtle Whale
georgiacetus The museum is home to the fossil and a replica of Georgiacetus vogtlensis, the oldest whale fossil found in North America. This 40-million year old whale is named for Georgia Power’s “Plant Vogtle” near Waynesboro, where the whale was unearthed. The pelvic bones of this rare specimen, a major paleontological discovery, provide a link between land mammals and whales.
At left: Former GSU Palentologist Dr. Jonathan Geisler installs the Vogtle whale’s skull.
Other Exhibits
The Georgia Southern Museum houses several other permanent collections, including the following:

  • A replica of a Mastodon skull
  • Skeletons from modern vertebrates, including shark jaws, a sawfish bill, and a complete bottle-nosed dolphin (photo at right)
  • The skeletal remains of a Bryde’s Whale, including an upper jaw bone with part of the baleen attached
  • Fossils of Pliocene invertebrates and vertebrates from southeastern Georgia.

Last updated: 2/22/2016

Georgia Southern Museum • PO Box 8061 Statesboro, GA 30460 • (912) 478-5444