Monday, July 18, 2011

Have you ever seen a Tully Monster (Tullimonstrum gregarium)?

Roger Kuhns has!

In his performance at Riveredge, Kuhns used his scientific background to describe the creature and its importance in the field of science while using his song writing and performance expertise to keep us riveted.

So what is a Tully Monster?

Description: A soft-bodied animal known for its long proboscis (ending with a jaw and teeth) that passed food to the mouth. Triangular horizontal and dorsal fins facilitated swimming. A transverse bar through the middle of the body with swellings on the end may have been sensory organs.

Habitat: Oceans

Photo from

Diet: Carnivorous

Where found: Mazon Creek in Will and Grundy Counties, Ill. (it’s also Illinois’ State Fossil-no surprise!)

Current status: Extinct-Tully Monsters lived during the Pennsylvanian Period

Living relatives: Possibly mollusks and snails

Discovered: By Mr. Francis Tully in 1958. He brought specimens to the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History. When no one could identify it, it became known as the Tully Monster.

Kuhns found one when he was 8 years old while digging in a quarry for fossils. The find sparked his interest in geology and led him to his career.

Why they’re important: Other than being the source of inspiration for Kuhns, the animal is preserved in ironstone as an outline. The Mazon Creek fossil deposits are some of the most important in North America because soft part of many organs have been preserved and contain plants and animals.

Photo from

Score: 1 point if you knew what a Tully monster was. Extra credit point for posting Wisconsin’s State Fossil.

The Insider


  1. Is theis your final answer?

  2. Hi: Nice page ! Would you like a better photo of the Tully your showing from ISM ? I'm the person who collected this fossil back in Oct. 23,1973 and I Still own it and yes ESR saw it within two days of collecting it. I'm also the person who collected the Holotype of Mayomyzon on May 27th, 1967 !! I'm am Mayomyzon !