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The University of Alabama

‘Discovering Alabama’ to Unveil Fossil Whale at UA as Part of 20-Year Celebration

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – In recognition of the contributions made over the past 20 years, The University of Alabama Museum of Natural History is pleased to have Dr. Doug Phillips, host of “Discovering Alabama,” unveil its most recently acquired fossil specimen on display; a 63-foot skeletal cast of a basilosaurus whale (Alabama’s state fossil).

No Alabama fossil has held the public attention as has this 40-million-year-old sea-monster of a mammal. The fossil is scheduled to be open to the public during a special reception celebrating 20 years of production of the “Discovering Alabama” television series and natural history programs.

“I can’t think of anyone in Alabama’s recent history who has done more to bring about awareness of our state’s natural resources and rich cultural heritage than Doug Phillips has with ‘Discovering Alabama,’” said Randy Mecredy, assistant director of UA’s Alabama Museum of Natural History. “It’s especially suitable to have Dr. Doug present the fossil as a way to honor all of our friends, viewers and supporters of the ‘Discovering Alabama’ show, and we invite them to share in this special event.”

Join Phillips and many other distinguished guests and friends as the complete fossil whale, Basilosaurus cetoides, is unveiled for the first time in Alabama on Sunday, Nov. 13, at 2 p.m. in the Grand Gallery of Smith Hall on The University of Alabama campus.

The public is invited to this free open-house reception to enjoy refreshments, see the basilosaurus whale, and catch a sneak preview of the most recently completed “Discovering Alabama” shows, “Little River Canyon National Preserve” and “Alabama’s National Forests” (both shows are scheduled to be aired in high definition on Alabama Public Television on Sunday night beginning at 8 p.m.)

The purchase of the replica whale fossil was made possible by a donation from Steve Johnson, who serves on the Board of Regents for the Alabama Museum of Natural History. “We are grateful to Mr. Johnson for his generous contribution and pleased to unveil this display as part of the celebration of the 20 years of production of the ‘Discovering Alabama’ television series,” said Mecredy.

For more information about the “Discovering Alabama” 20-year celebration, e-mail Stacey Turner at, call 205/348-2039, or see Nov. 7 news release at

The Alabama Museum of Natural History holds collections of natural history, geology, paleontology, ethnology, botany and zoology that are among the oldest in the state. Exhibitions of fossils from the Coal Age, Dinosaur Age and Ice Age are found in the Beaux Arts Grand Gallery of Smith Hall on The University of Alabama campus.

The Museum is open Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children and seniors. For more information about The University of Alabama Museums, visit or call 348-7550.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

  • CONTACT: Erin Boyer, 205/910-0077
    Chris Bryant, 205/348-8323