TRENTON, NJ - The New Jersey State Museum is pleased to announce the opening of “Jersey Crocs Rule!” on March 2. The exhibition, located in the East Gallery on the Museum’s first floor, will allow visitors to explore the existence of crocodiles in New Jersey throughout their evolution. The wide diversity of crocodile species found in the Garden State’s fossil record is often a source of amazement to those who think of these creatures as surviving only in tropical and subtropical climates. The exhibition will feature taxidermy mounts and skeletons of crocodiles of prehistoric and living species. Visitors will be amazed by the six foot long cast of the skull of New Jersey native Deinosuchus, one of the world’s largest known crocodiles. “Jersey Crocs Rule!,” supported in part by the New Jersey State Museum Foundation, will be on view through September 8, 2019.
Crocodylians have been on the Earth for over 200 million years. Much of their evolutionary history is documented in the fossils and rocks found in New Jersey. Crocodiles, alligators, and gharials from the State Museum’s collections illustrate the modern form, while the exhibit also delves into the fossil history of crocs in New Jersey, beginning with preserved croc-like trackways dating back almost 200 million years. One remarkable fossil feature of the exhibit will be a nearly complete skeleton of crocodylian Hyposaurus rogersii, which lived in what is now Gloucester County, NJ about 65 million years ago. Visitors will also come face-to-face with a skull reconstruction of Deinosuchus, one of the largest crocodiles to ever live. Other features of the exhibit will include interactives demonstrating how croc tails move and what their prehistoric environments were like, specimens of at least 5 different types of crocodylians that once lived in New Jersey, and a display of a recent croc fossil discovery currently under preparation at the State Museum.
According to Natural History Curator David Parris, “Most people are surprised to discover crocodiles existed in this area. There have been some important croc fossil finds here, including the Hyposaurus rogersii discovery. New Jersey is known to scientists from around the world as a rich source for specimens and information on crocodiles. However, the public doesn’t necessarily know this history. We hope this exhibition changes that perception.”
The New Jersey State Museum is open 9:00 am to 4:45 pm, Tuesday through Sunday, closed all State holidays. General admission is free; donations to the New Jersey State Museum Foundation, which supports the Museum, are accepted. For additional information, visit www.statemuseum.nj.gov, like the Museum’s Facebook page, follow on Twitter (njstatemuseum), or Instagram (nj_statemuseum).
About the New Jersey State Museum
Located at 205 West State Street in Trenton, the New Jersey State Museum encompasses three buildings including a state-of-the-art Planetarium, and holds over 2 million artifacts in its collections in Archaeology/Ethnography, Cultural History, Fine Art and Natural History. As a center of cultural, educational and scientific engagement, the museum inspires innovation and lifelong learning through collections, exhibitions, programs and research in science, history and art. Established in 1895, the New Jersey State Museum fosters state pride, serves as a cultivator of tomorrow’s leaders, and engages visitors of all ages and diverse backgrounds in an exploration of New Jersey’s cultural and natural history presented within a global context. The New Jersey State Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
About the New Jersey State Museum Foundation
Celebrating 50 years in 2018, the New Jersey State Museum Foundation was founded in 1968 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) to support the Museum's collections, exhibitions and programs through fundraising, volunteerism, advocacy and marketing. In recent years, the Foundation has received generous support from the PNC Foundation, NJM Insurance Group, NJ Department of State/New Jersey Historical Commission, Henry Luce Foundation, Capstone Foundation and Princeton Area Community Foundation. The Foundation also operates a newly renovated gift shop selling merchandise related to the Museum's exhibitions, collections and New Jersey history and culture. Proceeds support the New Jersey State Museum’s collections, exhibitions and programs.