The wicked and weird Buzzsaw Sharks of Idaho are coming home to the Idaho Museum of Natural History (IMNH) on the Idaho State University (ISU) Pocatello campus.
The Buzzsaw Sharks of Idaho exhibit has been traveling the US for the past 5 years, sharing Idaho’s history with over half a million people, and on October 9, the exhibit will open its doors once again at the IMNH. This unique exhibit combines science, art, music, and humor to tell the story of the strange Helicoprion shark of 270 million years ago.
Although the fossil has been found worldwide since the 1800’s, it is Idaho where the greatest number and quality of Helicoprion fossils are unearthed in the phosphate mines between Soda Springs and Pocatello. IMNH is home to the single largest collection, now exceeding 85 specimens, thanks in large part to its partnership with area mining operations. In 2013, a significant breakthrough, led by ISU and IMNH researchers collaborating with modern shark specialists and a shark-obsessed artist, shed important new light on the weird animal and its bizarre tooth whorl. IMNH Director, Leif Tapanila says “Our studies on Helicoprion show it was the largest predator on earth at the time, nearly 270 million years ago. This is Idaho’s most spectacular monster… we’re so proud to bring this exhibit back where it all began.”
The exhibit presents a wide array of spectacular Helicoprion fossils integrated with original artworks by Alaskan artist, Ray Troll. Curt Schmitz, the IMNH exhibits manager, said that from an exhibit designer’s standpoint, “it’s the seamless combination of art and science that makes The Buzzsaw Sharks of Idaho special.”
Also featured are a dramatic life-sized models of the shark by renowned paleo-sculptor Gary Staab, a mechanical interactive jaw, children’s activities, original music, a short documentary and more.
The IMNH has been serving Idaho since 1934. To learn more about the IMNH please visit imnh.isu.edu.