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NMSU Zuhl Museum to host new event on Sundays

New Mexico State University's Zuhl Museum, 775 College Drive, will be open on the second Sunday of each month from 2 to 5 p.m. to showcase world-class fossils and fun activities for children beginning Sunday, March 11.

Second Sundays are intended to allow the public more convenient viewing of the museum's various specimens. More than half of the collection is occupied by petrified wood, the first love and business of Herb and Joan Zuhl, for whom the museum and the university's Zuhl Library are named, said Museum Curator Marilyn Huff.

"These specimens are the lifetime legacy of Las Cruces residents Herb and Joan Zuhl," said Mark Hohnstreider, NMSU annual giving officer. "The couple has collected these items for more than 30 years and maintained a gallery in Manhattan before retiring to the area."

Other interesting fossils in the museum's collection include ammonites; turtles; a dragonfly; a bat; and minerals such as amethyst, rhodochrosite, garnet, and malachite.

An ichthyosaur, hadrosaur eggs, several leg bones and a backbone portion from giant quadrupedal herbivorous dinosaurs also are part of the museum's collection, Huff said.

"Ichthyosaurs were highly specialized marine reptiles that lived during the Mesozoic Era, the time of the dinosaurs," Huff said. "They looked something like modern porpoises. They were fast swimmers and ate fish, cephalopods and other marine reptiles. And also like modern porpoises, which are mammals, these reptiles gave birth to live young."

In addition to Second Sundays, the Zuhl Museum will continue to operate during its regular hours of Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information call Huff at (505) 650-1884.