In May of 1955, a Kansas rancher on horseback was checking on cows and calves near a dry pasture ditch that ran through his land in Ottawa County. In a gully, he spotted something strange — fragments of unusual bone embedded in a rock. The rancher, named Warren Condray, recognized this could be important.
After showing his son the find, the rancher Condray called his state senator to report it.
“Next, the senator contacted our museum — and somebody from the University of Kansas went out and collected it,” said David Burnham, preparator with KU’s Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum. “It was published in 1960 as a new species. It’s fairly complete for a dinosaur.”
To date, Silvisaurus condrayi (named for the rancher) is the only known dinosaur that inhabited what today is the state of Kansas.
Scientists from KU had collected the skull, a lower jaw, teeth, neck bones, ribs, shoulder spikes, backbones, a tailbone, a leg, part of the pelvis and other bits of the creature from the Condray ranch. But only part of the dinosaur ever was placed on exhibit at the museum, and that display was removed several years ago.
But this spring, Silvisaurus made a triumphant return to the museum in a new, more complete form, accompanied by an interactive display that includes stunning depictions of the dinosaur and its environs from KU scientific illustrator Oscar Sanisidro.
To read more about the incredible dinosaur find, please go here.
The public can visit Silvisaurus condrayi during museum hours, posted here.