Bad to the bone

Ethan Brogan photos
Barbara Scott (above) works to separate the vertebrae of a Diplodocid in the lab of the Glenrock Paleontological Museum Sept. 30.

Ethan Brogan

One of the main attractions to visitors of Glenrock is the Paleontological Museum. With its rich history of fossils from millions of years ago in the Mesozoic, Jurassic, Oligocene and Tertiary periods, it is no wonder people of all ages visit the museum to learn about the animals that inhabited the earth before humans did.
The museum sits off of the main drag of Birch Street with a trademark triceratops skull sitting on the roof. Inside you find exhibits of fossils found locally near Glenrock.
And, unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard of the Bone Biddys.
The Biddys are a group of volunteers that give guided tours of the museum, handle the gift shop and prepare fossils for future exhibits. The numbers have shifted during the years, but as of today Barbara Scott (Barb 1), Barbara Reynolds (Barb 2), Barbara Kumpula (Barb 3), Lorna Keyfauver and Crissie Wobig make up the Bone Biddys volunteering at the museum.
The Biddys began when the museum was in its infancy. Various paleontologists came to Glenrock to explore its prehistoric history and along the way taught these volunteers about fossils, history and preparing new discoveries for exhibits.
The nickname was coined by paleontologist Robert Bakker in 1997.
“We were all working in the lab and it was busy, like a sewing bee but we were all cleaning fossils,” Barb 1 said.
Bakker playfully said they were “Bone Biddys” and the name stuck.
Although the Biddys are volunteers, they put in the hours of a full-time job. During the course of this summer the museum was open five days a week and had 517 and a half visitors.
“Dogs count as a half,” Barb 2 jokingly said.
Including the digs organized this summer, the Biddys have shown visitors from as far as Scotland and the Netherlands the fossils Glenrock has to offer.
Every Biddy has their own duties to attend to at the museum. Last Saturday, Barb 2 was on tour duty, Barb 1 was trying to separate the vertebrae of a Diplodocid and Lorna and Crissie were taking care of the gift shop.
“We call them the ‘Gift Shop Gurus,’” Barb 2 said with a laugh.
The back lab has fossils and casts from millions of years ago scattered around the shop. Barb 2 sits at her station, using a Dremel multi tool to scrap softly away at chunks of earth, trying to reveal the fossilized history beneath.
“Every bone you come across has a story. Every bone I’ve cleaned is unique,” Barb 1 said.
When the Biddys spend time cleaning these bones, they are able to determine what the animal ate, injuries sustained and how they died, among other trademarks of fossils.
When the museum has cleared out, or they a moment to themselves, the Biddys sit down for lunch and talk about anything, ranging from grandchildren to the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and passing jokes back and forth about how ancient the other is.
When another group of visitors show up, they are right back in action. Barb 2 leads a tour, talking about one of the most complete fossils the Paleon has, the Allosarus.
“He was very cute, take my word.”
Visitors leave the Paleon with a lasting impression of what fossils were discovered in Glenrock and the Bone Biddys who led them along the way.


Glenrock Independent

Physical Address:506 W. Birch, Glenrock, WY 82637 Mailing Address: PO Box 109, Douglas, WY 82633 Phone: (307) 436-2211

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