CONTACT: GARY GALLUZZO
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0009; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: June 11, 2002
(Photos: Glenn C. Crossman; part of an Eoparisocrinus crossmani fossil)
UI's nationally ranked paleontology program receives 10-ton gift
University of Iowa Paleontology Repository in the College of Liberal Arts
and Sciences department of geoscience has received a 10-ton bequest in the
form of an extensive fossil collection from the estate of the late Glenn C.
Crossman of Riceville, Iowa.
The collection, valued in excess of $100,000, primarily documents three
eras of Midwestern geological history. These are: the Ordovician era (450
million years ago) reflected in formations of northeastern Iowa and southeastern
Minnesota; Devonian era rocks (375 million years ago) of northern Iowa; and
Mississippian era (325 million years ago) of north-central Iowa. The collection
itself consists of more than 10 tons of rock stored in some 900 cardboard
trays, 250 slabs (mostly 1-by-2 feet rectangles), and 150 bags, buckets and
boxes of various sizes containing wrapped specimens.
Julia Golden, repository curator, says that the material is a valuable addition
to the UI Paleontology Collection -- among the top 10 research collections
in the U.S. -- and the UI paleontology program, ranked 7th by U.S. News and
World Report for the third consecutive year.
"The material in the Crossman Collection expands and complements the
Strimple, Levorson and Gerk collections already held by the university. This
new acquisition will draw specialists to the university," she says. "A
collection of this size and breadth is an invaluable source of material for
systematic, paleoecological, biodiversity, and morphological studies."
In connection with the Crossman donation, the National Science Foundation
(NSF) awarded the department of geoscience a $9,556 support grant to defray
the costs of moving the collection from Riceville to Iowa City as well as
summer salary for two graduate assistants to sort and curate it. The support
grant supplements a major two-year, $255,149 NSF grant to reorganize the Paleontology
Repository and purchase new museum storage cases.
Crossman was a Riceville accountant and an avid collector for more than
35 years, amassing a huge collection, predominantly from sites within Iowa.
Over the past 10 years, Crossman donated a considerable number of echinoderm
specimens to the university collection. The bequest consists of the remainder
of his collection and represents a valuable resource for research, display
favorite fossils were echinoderms, especially crinoids related to the starfish
that live in today's oceans. His association with the department of geoscience
dates back to the mid-1960s when he formed a friendship and collaboration
with the paleontologists, especially Harrell L. Strimple (repository curator
from1962-1980) who helped him identify the fossils he found.
Over the years, Crossman donated more than 300 rare and unusual specimens
that have been used in scientific papers. Dr. James Brower of Syracuse University
has described many of these specimens and named two new crinoid species in
honor of Crossman (Cupulocrinus crossmani and Eoparisocrinus crossmani). Crossman
also donated collections to other institutions also, including the State Historical
Society of Iowa and the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian
Institution. He was also well known in Iowa naturalists circles. For
example, one of the first properties donated to the Iowa Nature Conservancy
was the Crossman Prairie, land he saved from the plow many years ago.
Crossman died Sept. 8, 2001, and a memorial service was held June 7 at Crossman
Prairie, east of Riceville.