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Interview with Dr. Larry Meissner

Question: What background information can you give us regarding the acquisition of the cave by Concordia University at Austin [The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS)]?

Dr. Meissner: The cave was given to us by a member of The LCMS whose daughter was a student at Concordia. We got access to the cave for study purposes in 1996 and acquired legal ownership in 1998. The total property is about 3.5 acres.

Question: What types of activities have been happening at the cave recently?

Dr. Meissner: Right now we are still doing removal of disturbed sediments from the cave that were moved during previous excavations in the 1950’s through 1970’s. I have a grant from the 3M Corporation to take several hundred students and teachers from local schools to the cave for training and paleontological work.

Question: Any comments on the history of the cave before Concordia University acquired it?

Dr. Meissner: None other than what are in the bulletins you have from the UT Memorial Museum. Thankfully, between the late 1970s and the mid-1990s the cave was virtually "lost” and unentered. I know this because when we first entered the cave there were valuable fossils laying undisturbed on the cave floor—fossils that surely would have been taken had people been going in and out.

Question: Do you have any other comments you think would be helpful?

Dr. Meissner: We hope to apply for major funding for an excavation in virgin sediments in a couple of years when disturbed sediments have all been removed and analyzed. I have reason to believe that the cave extends much farther than what we currently see and that there are additional passageways or chambers where there may be more important fossils.

In conclusion: We thank Dr. Meissner for his help. Many photos of fossils found in the cave and photos taken during cave excavations are found at Concordia's website of the cave.

—Edward C. Lain and Robert E. Gentet

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