National Fossil Day is set aside for paleontologists across the country to share the importance of studying fossils.

“The thing about a collection is you never quite know why it might be useful,” Pigg said. “People look at the organic material off of leaves that were collected 400 years ago. When someone was collecting pretty flowers in the 1700s, they had no idea what DNA was. They had no idea that anyone would be able to get the DNA out of it and learn something.”

Since the advent of digitization, less active collections are far more accessible than ever before, according to Pigg, making digital scans of the fossils an important initiative.

Still, she said it’s important to have physical fossils and for people to see them — which is why she brought “Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway” to ASU. The art exhibit, created by artist Ray Troll and paleontologist Kirk Johnson, brings together the best of the ASU Natural History Collections fossils and Troll’s fossil-inspired artwork to explore questions about evolution, extinction and early life on Earth.

The exhibit is open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Dec. 15. For more information, visit the School of Life Sciences website.

Jason Krell

Communication and events coordinator, Center for Evolution and Medicine