Terry Proctor, J.D. (l.) presenting Tulsa Spine Hospital Administrator, Terry Woodbeck (r.) with a specimen of the Pennsylvanian fossils from that location for permanent display at the hospital. The specimen and case were provided by HGMS member, Paleontologist Neal Immega, Ph.D.

Entrance-TULSA SPINE HOSPITAL and (l to r):
Frank Tomecek, M.D., Steve Gaede, M.D.
Bruce Hudkins, M.D., Andy Revelis, M.D.
Scott Anthony, D.O. and
Terry Woodbeck, Administrator

One of the most exceptional trips taken by the PROCTOR MUSEUM OF NATURAL SCIENCE (PMNS herein) was taken in August, 2002.

In May, 2002, Curator Terry Proctor and his wife, Delilah had gone to Tulsa for Terry to be at the 50th Graduation Anniversary of Terry's High School alma mater, Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As they were leaving, Terry noticed some new construction on 71st Street near Highway 75. He backed up, made inquiry of a truck of workers whether there were any fossils. He was told by John Jackson, the heavy equipment operator that there was nothing but leaves. Terry said "That's good enough. Can we dig" to which John said it was fine with him and John and his pickup load of laborers left.
Terry and Delilah dug for some hours with the minimal tools they had, uncovering beautiful fern fossils, Lepidodendron tree roots, Annularia radiata and other Pennsylvanian plant fossils. After a number of hours, thirst and exhaustion overtook them, so they broke and went to Walmart to get better tools, drinks and returned and worked for a few more hours and then drove back to Houston.

Once back in Houston, Terry determined to try to locate the owner of the property and obtain permission for the PMNS and the Houston Gem & Mineral Society-Paleo Section to be allowed to dig at this site, before it was destroyed. The heavy equipment was turning the bluff into flat areas. Terry called around many places and finally found that this was to be the new Tulsa Spine Hospital and the contractor was Frank Schuster (schuster@schustergroup.com) was in charge of the firm building the hospital. Frank went to work and gained the unanimous approval of the Board of Directors of the Tulsa Spine Hospital for the PMNS and HGMS-Paleo to dig there.

In July, 2002, Terry's mother died, so he was again in Tulsa for the funeral. When he and Delilah drove to the site, John had laid out beautiful front end loader loads of fossils for Terry and Delilah to go through. However, it was obvious that the dig might not last until the planned October, 2002 trip for the PMNS and HGMS-Paleo group to dig. Therefore, Terry put together a much quicker trip for August, 2002. Between Frank Schuster; the site foreman, Steve Barnes; the man who was to become the CEO for the new hospital, Terry Woodbeck, and especially John ???, the heavy equipment operator, it was promised that John would preserve a dump truck load of fossil material for the groups to go through in August, 2002.

On August 14, 2002, the PMNS & HGMS-Paleo members found that not one dump truck load had been placed in a low area as promised, but instead SIX dump truck loads of material had been put at the end of a road at the far end of the hospital, so that the groups were faced with huge quantities of Pennsylvania fossils within feet of their vehicles. All the members had to do was to go through the loose material and load up their vehicles. Some of the doctors from the new hospital came out to dig, including the Board Chairman, Dr. Steve Gaede and Dr. David Fell.

John ??? came over during the day, and used his equipment to stir the piles up so that the members of PMNS and HGMS-Paleo could find even more fossil specimens. What wonderful cooperation between a land owner and groups from a museum and a fossil, gem and mineral club. We really appreciated the doctors, CEO, contractors and especially the heavy equipment operator for such wonderful cooperation. A plate of the fossils has been encased by HGMS-Paleo First Vice-Chairman, Neal Immega, PhD, on a piece of mahogany with a clear plastic cover, which will hang in the Tulsa Spine Hospital to let the patients and guests know what existed 310,000,000 years ago, where the Tulsa Spine Hospital now sits.

After leaving the site, since there was still a lot of material left in the piles, Terry contacted the Tulsa Rock & Gem Club, so that they could have their members come dig. It is understood that they then contacted others, including the Oral Roberts University Geology professors so that they could also share in this wonderful find. Good will, gracious land owner hosts and appreciation have paid off well for all concerned on this fossil find. It is now gone, but without an accidental sighting of construction and a nosy Curator of the PMNS, these treasures might well have been lost forever.

The following are some of the Pennsylvanian (300 MYA) fossil material extracted from the
Tulsa Spine Hospital area, Tulsa County, Oklahoma.
Identification was supplied through Neal Immega, PhD.

Annularia radiata. This is the
circle of leaves which grew at
the joints of Calamites plants.
Lepidodendron tree root-Pennsylvanian from Tulsa County, Oklahoma.

Fern and other plant life from
Tulsa County, Oklahoma.
Scouring Rushes & Fern
leaf fossils from
Tulsa County, Oklahoma.

NOTE: The October, 2003 issue of Natural History magazine has an article entitled Fern Relations which has reference to "Scouring Rushes". Quoting from this article which is discussing "Fern allies" and mentions that they fall into five families.

"One of these is the Quisetacea, members of which are often referred to as living fossils: the group dominated terrestrial plant life when dinosaur roamed the Earth (PMNS NOTE: the scouring Rush above, on the right, is Pennsylvanian, which grew long before dinosaurs). Their sporophyte has a jointed leafless stem containing silica, which the plant takes up from the soil. If the stem is unbranched, the species is aptly (but not always) called a scouring rush (American pioneers would bind bunches of the stems together and use them to scour pots and pans)".

Additional PMNS NOTE: If you don't subscribe to Natural History magazine, you should. It has excellent articles which are very informative. Their website is http://www.nomad.com.

Appears to be tree needles from Tulsa County, Oklahoma Fern Fossil Plate #8 from
Tulsa County, Oklahoma.
See this one close up
for amazing detail.
(something almost looks
like feathers)

Fern fossil plate #4
Pennsylvanian from
Tulsa County, Oklahoma.
Annularia stellata. This
is the circle of uneven
leaves which grew at the
joints of Calamites plants.

This Plate #10 shows how compacted the fossils at the Tulsa Spine Hospital site were. They were so piled on top of each other that it was difficult to separate or identify them sometimes. This is a strange unknown Pennsylvanian plant fossil from Tulsa County, Oklahoma. See this one close up for amazing detail

This is a leaf of some fern-like plant. It has very interesting veins and pattern and many were found in this formation Who goes on fossil hunts? Answer: EVERYONE. Here is 5 year old Julien Vinluan, son of PMNS Secretary, Joel Vinluan at the Tulsa Spine Hospital dig in August, 2002.

Additional Tulsa fossils will be added and specific identification where possible will be added shortly. Thank you for your patience while we work.