Racing bones are topic of talk at Nevada State Museum Jan. 28

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The unique movement of bones across Nevada’s Smith Creek Valley Playa in 2013 prompted the discovery of a rare phenomenon that causes bones to sail.  Water, ice and wind factor into the explanations offered by George Baumgardner, curator of natural history for the Nevada State Museum, who will present his findings from 6:30 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 28, as part of the museum’s Frances Humphrey Lecture Series.


Baumgardner and co-author Brian S. Shaffer wrote of their findings in the “Western North American Naturalist,” documenting for the first time the movement of animal bones across the desert floor.  A similar action has been recorded at Death Valley’s Racetrack Playa, where rocks have left trails showing their travel.  The Nevada playa referenced is also near the site of land sailing competitions that draw tourists from around the globe.


Admission to the talk is free for museum members and ages 17 and younger. Adult admission is $8. For more information, contact Deborah Stevenson at or (775) 687-4810, ext. 237, or Facebook. One of seven museums managed by the Nevada Division of Museums and History, an agency of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, the Nevada State Museum, Carson City, is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, at 600 N. Carson St., Carson City.