UW Today

This is an archived article.

November 15, 2007

Author, illustrator present ‘Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway’

From suburban T. rexes to Eocene killer pigs, learn about the wacky discoveries of illustrator Ray Troll and paleontologist Kirk Johnson at a reading and signing of their new book, Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway, on Thursday, Nov. 29, at the Burke Museum. Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway follows the zany travels of Johnson and Troll as they drive across remote stretches of the American West in search of fossils. Fossils are everywhere; it only takes knowing what to look for to find them—even at 65 miles per hour.


Artist Ray Troll is known worldwide for his twisted aquatic illustrations. His science-infused art has sold more than a million t-shirts, including the popular designs “Spawn Till You Die” and “Fish Worship — Is It Wrong?” Troll has illustrated half a dozen popular books and his unique blend of art and science has been featured in museum displays at the Burke Museum, Alaska State Museum, Anchorage Museum of History and Art, and the Smithsonian. Troll earned his bachelor of arts degree from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas and an MFA in studio arts from Washington State University.


Paleontologist Kirk Johnson is vice president and chief curator of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. He is the author of Prehistoric Journey: A History of Life on Earth, Ancient Denvers, Scenes from the Past 300 Million Years of the Colorado Front Range, Gas Trees and Car Turds, and A Kid’s Guide to the Root of Global Warming. Johnson was first bitten by the fossil bug on a visit to the Burke Museum when he was just 10 years old, and later received his doctorate in geology and paleobotany from Yale University. He has kept up a lifelong relationship with the Burke, working extensively with the late Affiliate Curator of Paleobotany Wes Wehr, and as a research associate since the late 1970s.


Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway, from Fulcrum Publishing, will be available for purchase at the event. Tickets are $5 at the door. Members of the Northwest Paleontological Society will join the event as special guests with a display of fossil specimens to share.