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Limestone Legacy -- Iowa's Amateur Paleontologist

page 9



Still interested in the crinoid he continued to maintained close ties with the quarry owner and workers.. Beane's most significant discovery came in 1931 when blasting exposed a cluster of ancient starfish. While workers loaded rock into the crusher, Beane chipped away at the block of stone to reduce it to a manageable weight. Still weighing over 600 pounds, he moved the slab to Beane's farm for study and careful cleaning . Beane, then 52, worked meticulously to uncover the delicate fossils.

Upon preparation, the rock yielded the remains of 183 starfish, Schoenaster legrandensis, and a number of other specimens. This find and the care shown it its preparation gained Burnice Beane the interest of paleontologists and gained recognition in the scientific community across the world.


"The best discovery that I ever made was a slab of starfish . . . about five feet wide and about three feet thick, I think. And it took me two days to get it to work down from the wall so I could move it. When I got it so I could handle it at all, I used a plank to slide it onto a truck and took it home." Burnice Beane, 1958
Burnice Beane's painstaking skill in preparing the crinoids he saved from the crusher is a scientific legacy. Through his efforts many museums across the world share a portion of Iowa's past. The State Historical Society of Iowa is fortunate to exhibit many of the fossils preserved and prepared by Burnice H. Beane.

Beane's interest in the Le Grand crinoid continued throughout his life, it filled his house with beautiful fossil slabs and benefited museums and universities around the world. As his fame spread, many paleontologists and amateur collectors sought his advice and an opportunity to tour the famous quarry with the man who had become the guardian of its treasures.


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