Resurrecting Megajeff: Uncovering the Hidden History of IU’s Lost Megalonyx jeffersonii

Name of Recipient

Polly Sturgeon & Gary Motz

Description of Funded Activity

In the 1940s, the general public and scientific community at IU sustained a tragic loss when fossil, mineral, and botanical specimens were tossed into the trash by individuals who failed to recognize the value of natural history collections.

One of the specimens that was lost was a nearly complete IU re-creating Megajeff, which was discovered by Indiana’s first state geologist and donated to the university in 1870.

Using 3-D scanning and printing, laser cutting, and other advanced digital technologies, the lost sloth skeleton has been reproduced to create an IGWS exhibit that detail’s the original skeleton’s story and emphasizes the importance that such collections have on scientific research.