Fossil museum in East Tenn. marks fifth year

Fossil museum in East Tenn. marks fifth year

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JOHNSON CITY (AP) - The East Tennessee State University and General Shale Brick Natural History Museum and Visitors Center at the Gray Fossil Site in East Tennessee has marked its fifth anniversary.

Officials told The Johnson City Press that the museum has recorded around 250,000 visitors in that time span.

The fossil site was first discovered in 2000 by a construction crew cutting a road near Tennessee Highway 75. It soon came under the purview of ETSU. Paleontologists are still excavating the 4.5-million- to 7-million-year-old site, but several species have been found including a saber-toothed cat, a short-faced bear and the most complete specimen of a red panda in the world.

Some of the fossils are exhibited at the museum, which opened on Aug. 31, 2007. Visitors can also watch paleontologists dig fossils and prepare them in the lab.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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