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dinosaur skeleton
07 November 2018

Highlights From the Jean & Ric Edelman Fossil Park at Rowan University

Did you know that South Jersey is considered one of the major fossil cradles in the world? Tens of thousands of fossils from the Cretaceous period can be found in this region, earning it the moniker as the best window into the Cretaceous period east of the Mississippi River. For parents and kids who are interested in dinosaurs, a visit here makes for a fascinating trip into the prehistoric world. And with a $25 million investment pledged by Jean & Ric Edelman, this site will likely become even more impressive in the future.

Here are some of the reasons why our Woodbury DWI lawyers love the Jean & Ric Edelman Fossil Park at Rowan University:

Type of Fossils Found in the Park

The Fossil Park at Rowan University is one of the largest collections of remains from the late Cretaceous period. During a trip around this park, visitors have an opportunity to see fossilized remains from dozens of prehistoric marine animals, such as sharks, crocodiles, mosasaurs, marine snails, brachiopods, bryozoan colonies, boney fish, and sea turtles. The South Jersey area is a hotbed for dinosaur paleontologists, and this park is home to thousands of fossils, some of which date back to 65 million years ago.

Dr. Kenneth Lacovara is leading research at the park in a thin, six-inch bone bed located at the site of a former marl pit. His team is working to analyze the fossils, sediments, and geochemistry of the site to better understand what the Earth was like when the dinosaurs roamed during the Cretaceous Period.

Community Dig Days

If your kids are into dinosaurs (and what kid isn’t?), they have the opportunity to act as miniature paleontologists during Community Dig Days. Dr. Lacovara has been hosting these digs since 2012 in partnership with Mantua Township’s Economic Development Office and the Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders. This event is family-friendly, so parents and teens can join in on the fun as well. This is a truly unique opportunity to discover your own prehistoric fossils. To date, almost 15,000 visitors have scoursed the park for fossils.

Future Plans

In January 2016, Rowan University bought the park from Inversand Company, which had mined the park for almost 100 years. Jean and Ric Edelman pledged $25 million toward the development of the park, and the park was thus renamed as the Jean & Ric Edelman Fossil Park at Rowan University. The philanthropist couple has several future plans for the park’s development.

Plans include:

  • The establishment of a world-class museum and visitor center with a focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
  • Education
  • Laboratory spaces for research
  • A paleontology-themed playground
  • Social Spaces