Rockie the bison coming to the Falls Museum Saturday



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Tom Hester, PhD, retired University of Texas archaeology professor, installs the bison fossil discovered on Rocky Creek in Burnet County. He and its discoverer, Ryan Murray, will unveil the fossil and present a program about it at Falls on the Colorado Museum in Marble Falls at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.






The head skeleton and several other large bones from a fossilized bison found on Rocky Creek in Burnet County will be on exhibit at The Falls on the Colorado Museum beginning with a program about it Saturday, June 17.

Ryan Murray discovered the skeleton in 2013 while on a fishing trip along the creek.

According to museum chairwoman Darlene Oostermeyer, research indicates that 700 years ago a mature female bison, most likely weighing from 1,300 -1,800 pounds, ventured down a creek bed in what now is northern Burnet County. There the animal died, apparently from natural causes or because she became bogged in the mud.

The bison was part of a herd that moved down a migration corridor stretching through the Great Plains and into the Edwards Plateau some time between 1308 and 1424 A.D.

Fast forward to 2013 when Murray crossed the same creek bed and saw a bone, the size of a piece of chalk, sticking out of the creek cut bank. When Murray started digging around the bone, he soon discovered there was much more than just the one bone. An almost complete bovine head skeleton was uncovered, leading to much, much more.

Murray immediately called on avocational professionals to help uncover the entire skeleton that was still in place. Over the next several years, the professionals helped Murray understand the significance his discovery.

The skeleton was affectionately nicknamed “Rockie” for the creek in which she was found. Now the Museum has been designated “Rockie's Keeper.”

It is hoped that the display will attract donations so that experts can be employed to reconstruct Rockie to her original size. Rockie would then become Marble Falls' own Central Texas equivalent of a T. Rex (Tyrannosaurus rex).

Starting June 17, Rockie's head skeleton and several of her other large bones will be on exhibit at the Museum in Marble Falls.

At 1:30 p.m. on June 17, Rockie's discoverer, Murray, will be on hand to address the audience after the unveiling of the exhibit and presenting a slide show. Tom Hester, PhD, retired University of Texas archaeology professor, also will be available to answer questions.

“Donations are the lifeblood of the museum and always are greatly appreciated,” said Oostermeyer.

The Museum is located in the Old Granite School, 2001 West Broadway Street in Marble Falls. Hours are 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

For more information, call the museum at 830-798-2751.

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