Oceans of Kansas T-Shirt Designs

Copyright 2001-2013 by Mike Everhart

Last revised 10/21/2013


Several years ago (about 1989 to be more exact) I started designing Oceans of Kansas T-Shirts for our own use and for some of the field trips and digs that we were involved with. Years ago, after people began asking where they could get them,  I even printed up several OOK designs for sale. Recently, while cleaning out a dresser drawer, I was amazed to see that there were more than twenty different designs stored there. I decided that I needed to keep track of them in some way and using a webpage seemed to be the best approach. Below, in more or less chronological order, are my T-shirt designs: the good, the bad and in one case, the downright ugly.

shirt00a.jpg (4638 bytes) Although this isn't one of my shirt designs, I have to give it credit for the idea of providing T-shirts for my digs. This one was given to us by someone who was part of a field crew from the New Jersey State Museum in 1988.  We had provided them with a Xiphactinus specimen to dig and we got the nifty T-shirt in return.
shirt01a.jpg (4370 bytes) (1989) This is the original design and first T-shirt produced for Oceans of Kansas. My wife and I spent several hours on the way back from the field one Sunday afternoon, trying to think of a good name for the work we were doing. I finally came up with "Oceans of Kansas" as being descriptive of the collecting of fossils from the bottom of the Western Interior Sea. Although somewhat modified, credit for the original work goes to Dale Russell (1967; text-fig. 95). It's a picture of one of the most complete specimens of Tylosaurus nepaeolicus in the American Museum of Natural History (actually two specimens, the skull (AMNH 124) and the lower jaws (AMNH 134). See more about the specimen here: Tylosaurus nepaeolicus
shirt02a.jpg (7753 bytes) (1990) There is quite a story behind our second T-shirt, most of which I won't repeat here.  For more background go to my page on "How we met Pete Bussen".   Pete is the owner and sole proprietor of the Goofy Slope Museum of Natural History. It houses his extensive collection of fossils from the Smoky Hill Chalk and Pierre Shale of western Kansas. You'll have to ask Pete where Goofy Slope is, but I'll give you a hint... It's next to Idiot Ridge.  The picture comes from the Kansas University Geological Survey: Williston, S. W., 1900. Cretaceous fishes [of Kansas]. Selachians and Pycnodonts. Univ. Geol. Surv. Kansas 4:237-256, with pls
shirt03a.jpg (4841 bytes) (1991) Now for the "UGLY". This design was created by me, with all good intentions, and looked terrible.  This was our first T-shirt produced for a dig.  See the webpages on Pete Bussen and the Coal Oil Canyon plesiosaur, HERE and HERE, for our dig with the New Jersey State Museum.  More information about what we found was published in Fall, 2000:   Cicimurri, D. J. and M. J. Everhart, 2001. An elasmosaur with stomach contents and gastroliths from the Pierre Shale (late Cretaceous) of Kansas. Kansas Acad. Sci. Trans 104(3-4):129-143.
shirt04a.jpg (9485 bytes) (1992-1994)Here was the first 'macho' version of an Oceans of Kansas Tylosaurus T-shirt: stark white on black.  Another version, black on white is HERE..
shirt06a.jpg (5594 bytes) (1995) Following another plesiosaur discovery by Pete Bussen, we were set to dig again with the New Jersey State Museum crew in 1995. Our first dig had ended with a nearly complete plesiosaur... unfortunately minus the skull.  I wanted to influence the 'gods of paleontology' in a positive manner with the suggestion that we were going to find the skull this time.  Things didn't work out, however, and the dig was cut short, finding only the tail, half the pelvis, and assorted bone fragments (Bottom of this page).  We would have to return several years later to get the rest (1998). Credit for the drawing goes to Ken Carpenter of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
shirt07a.jpg (4070 bytes) (1997) In 1995, I discovered a series of mosasaur vertebrae with embedded sharks teeth. It was an interesting specimen and was presented as an abstract at the Kansas Academy of Science meeting in 1996: Everhart, M. J., P. A. Everhart and K. Shimada, 1995. New specimen of shark bitten mosasaur vertebrae from the Smoky Hill Chalk (upper Cretaceous) in western Kansas. Kansas Acad. Sci. Trans. 14(Abstracts):19. and discussed later in a paper: Shimada, K., 1997. Paleoecological relationships of the late Cretaceous lamniform shark, Cretoxyrhina mantelli (Agassiz). Journ. Paleon. 71(5):926-933. In the Spring of 1997, I met with a film crew from the Paleoworld series and re-enacted the discovery of this specimen. The film crew was really impressed and surprised when I gave them the T-shirts. Apparently, no one had ever done that before.
shirt20a.jpg (5092 bytes) (1998) In the first week of June, 1998, we met the crew from the Cincinnati Museum and worked on two plesiosaur sites...   One, an elasmosaur, was found by Pete Bussen and the other, a pliosaur, was found by my wife, Pam.  Unfortunately, both were disappointments in that we were unable to find much of either animal. On top of that, the weather was unseasonably cold.... and wet.  The T-shirts were definitely not enough to keep warm in, so on the first day, we had to make an emergency run to the nearest Wal-Mart (about 40 miles) and stock up on clearance sale winter clothes and gloves for the crew.  By Saturday morning, the temperature dipped down to freezing, but the sun came out and everything improved.  Credit for the plesiosaur skeletons in the design goes to: Buchanan, Rex C. (ed.), 1984. Kansas geology: An introduction to landscapes, rocks, minerals and fossils. University Press of Kansas. 208 pp.
shirt09a.jpg (6605 bytes) In 1999, we went back to the second New Jersey State Museum plesiosaur site, this time with a field crew from the Cincinnati Museum.  With the help of the landowner and a big earth mover to remove the side of the hill, we finished the dig we started 4 years earlier. The T-shirt design is my attempt to put flesh on the bones of the plesiosaur skull I used on the 1995 T-shirt. The plesiosaur head is drawn from a specimen of Styxosaurus snowii at the Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas.
shirt14a.jpg (3765 bytes) (1999) At last, I started getting some professional help with the designs on my T-shirts.  This is Tylosaurus proriger by Russell Hawley of the Tate Museum in Casper, Wyoming. An excellent design and the best selling T-shirt from Oceans of Kansas.  See all of Russell's artwork for Oceans of Kansas here. It also on the title page of my book, Oceans of Kansas - A Natural History of the Western Interior Sea.
shirt10a.jpg (7743 bytes) In 2000, I decided that we should have a commemorative T-shirt for the new Millenium.  The skull of Clidastes liodontus was chosen for the design, this time coming from the 1898 mosasaur publication by Williston: Williston, S. W., 1898. Mosasaurs. The University Geological Survey of Kansas, 4:81-347, pls. 10-72.
shirt11a.jpg (9299 bytes) (2000) This original design was actually done for the presenters at the 2000 Kansas Academy of Science annual meeting.  An variant done for Oceans of Kansas Paleontology is shown HERE. At the time, the Kansas School Board had removed the teaching of evolution and several other subjects from the curriculum.  The not-so-hidden message in the shirt was that Kansas had a history in the fossil record that went back almost half a billion years.  I'm sure that this shirt was an important factor in the 2001 reversal of the School Board's decision (NOT! :-).  The shirt gives a brief pictorial summary of the various kinds of fossils to be found in Kansas.
shirt13a.jpg (5956 bytes) (2000) This was a hurried design that originated from a request for assistance from a Japanese researcher who was interested in visiting Kansas and seeing fossils of marine reptiles. Within two weeks of our initial contact, Dr. Usami and his assistants flew from Tokyo, Japan and arrived in Wichita, Kansas. We were then off on a ten-day, whirlwind tour that included the KU Museum of Natural History, Museum of Geology at Emporia State University, the Sternberg Museum of Natural History at Fort Hays State University, Castle Rock, the Fick Fossil and History Museum, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Zoo, the Denver Aquarium, the Museum of Geology at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.... whew!
shirt15a.jpg (4707 bytes) (2000) The only specimen of a Globidens mosasaur known from Kansas (discovered by Pete Bussen) is commemorated on this T-shirt. Again, the design is by Russell Hawley of the Tate Museum in Casper, Wyoming.
shirt16a.jpg (6051 bytes) This was the T-shirt design for the presenters in the paleontology symposium at the 2001 Kansas Academy of Science meeting in Lawrence, Kansas.  The five gentlemen in the picture (E. D. Cope, O. C. Marsh, S. W. Williston, C. H. Sternberg and G. F. Sternberg) were recognized for their contributions during the first one hundred years of Kansas paleontology. Since that time, I've realized that I left out several of the REAL first paleontologists in Kansas: Prof. Benjamin F. Mudge, Dr. George Miller Sternberg, Dr. John Janeway and Dr. Theophilus Turner (discoverer of Elasmosaurus platyurus in 1867).
shirt17a.jpg (3716 bytes) (2001) In an attempt to get over the "Ugly" plesiosaur shirt above, I did another T-shirt with a more anatomically correct plesiosaur design.  "Elasmosaurus feeding on Enchodus" was drawn by by Russell Hawley of the Tate Museum in Casper, Wyoming. This picture was published on the cover of the Fall, 2001 issue of the Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science in association with the following article: Cicimurri, D. J. and M. J. Everhart, 2001. An elasmosaur with stomach contents and gastroliths from the Pierre Shale (late Cretaceous) of Kansas. Kansas Acad. Sci. Trans 104(3-4):129-143.
shirt18a.jpg (9120 bytes) The 2001 Oceans of Kansas Paleontology T-shirt commemorates the discovery of the first known Plioplatecarpus mosasaur specimen from Kansas.  This design is adapted from drawings provided by Robert Holmes. More more information on this genus, see:   Holmes, R. B., 1996. Plioplatecarpus primaevus (Mosasauridae) from the Bearpaw Formation (Campanian, Upper Cretaceous) of the North American Western Interior Seaway, Jour. Vert. Paleon., 16(4):673-687.
shirt19a.jpg (5322 bytes) (2001) This shirt was based on a new pliosaur design from Russell Hawley, from the specimen of Dolichorhynchops osborni in the Sternberg Museum of Natural History
shirt21a.jpg (7181 bytes) (2002) - In early April, I had the opportunity to talk about mosasaurs on camera when a film crew doing a documentary on paleontologist Joan Wiffen came all the way from New Zealand to Kansas to see our fossils.  This shirt commemorates the similarity of mosasaurs (Tylosaurus proriger and T. haumuriensis) found in Kansas and in New Zealand. Video footage of the skull of the Tylosaurus proriger in the Fick Fossil and History Museum at Oakley, Kansas, was included in the resulting film:  "The lost dinosaurs of New Zealand" (2002).
shirt22a.jpg (6025 bytes) (2002) This shirt was given to the presenters at the Third Annual Paleontology Symposium during the Kansas Academy of Science Meeting at Fort Hays State University.  The shirt commemorates the discoverer of the type specimen of Xiphactinus audax Leidy 1870 (Dr. George M. Sternberg) and his nephew, George F. Sternberg, who dug and prepared the famous "Fish in a Fish" Xiphactinus exhibit at the Sternberg Museum.
shirt23a.jpg (8360 bytes) (2002) The macho, white on black T-shirt of the year features a photograph of the re-constructed skull of Platecarpus planifrons, a very rare specimen (FHSM VP-13910) in the Sternberg Museum collection. This skull was the subject of a SVP poster at Bozeman, MT in 2001:   Everhart, M. J. and Johnson, S. E., 2001. The occurrence of the mosasaur, Platecarpus planifrons, in the Smoky Hill Chalk (Upper Cretaceous) of western Kansas. Jour. Vert. Paleon. 21(suppl. to 3):48A. Abstract.

NOTE: while this was a popular design, unfortunately my identification of the skull was wrong... It actually turned out for the better since the skull represented a new species ... Selmasaurus johnsoni....

Although I have produced more than a dozen T-shirt designs since 2002, none have been for sale. For the most part, they have been provided to authors of papers presented at my Paleontology Symposium during the annual meeting of the Kansas Academy of Science.

Email comments and / or questions to Mike Everhart