This is not your average family. The family business name gives it away. The name is “Creation Expeditions,” and you can take that literally.
What the DeRosa family doesn’t have in paleontology degrees, it makes up with some other crucial elements: knowledge and field skills on the subject, Christian faith and a mission to find and present evidence to support the theory of creationism — plus results from fossil digs that some university paleontologists would envy.
The family has combined its passions for the outdoors, adventure, fossils and dinosaurs with a religious ministry based on creationism that uses their nonprofit company to share their passions and faith with others on various kinds of fossil quests, from the Peace River in South Florida to the bleak but fossil-rich hills of South Dakota.
From his headquarters and crowded lab in Crystal River Florida, Pete DeRosa said, “We’re a multifaceted ministry whose primary focus is in the field of paleontology and creation science.”
The adventure, the fossil digs, the creationism ministry, and the expedition business all fit together perfectly for them, and they love what they say has become their calling.
And to show that the proof is in the results, on November 11, 2005 at 1:00 PM they will unveil the fossilized head of one of the three dinosaur skeletons they have found, unearthed and removed.
Preparation is long and painstaking and they have done the head of one carnivorous dinosaur for mounting, and more than half-exposed another plant eater from its bedrock so the skull is very discernible.
The head they’ve mounted is of an allosaurus, a meat-eating predator that stood on two legs and had short front arms. It was 10- to 12-feet high at the hip and its big head had a large jaw lined with long, serrated teeth made for cutting and tearing.
The head is impressive, but now the same painstaking work will have to be done on the rest of the skeleton.
Two of the dinosaur skeletons they’ve found have, by paleontology standards, they say, enough fossil bones to be considered complete. The third, a triceratops, has almost enough to be considered complete. The latter was a 30-foot-long, plant-eating quadraped with three horns on its plated head, two as long as hockey sticks.
Like the rest of the allosaurus, most all of the fossilized bones from the dinosaurs are packed in the plaster the DeRosas and helpers applied to remove them. One exception is the big edmontosaurus’ head, which has already been displayed.
That duckbill dinosaur’s head is still partially encased in rock and has been displayed in a few places. Often, the convention is to name your dinosaur, and the DeRosas named the allosaurus, which was found in Colorado, “Ebenezer,” and the edmontosaurus, which was found in South Dakota, “Ezekiel.”
Patriarch of the family and expedition leader Pete DeRosa said it will probably be a year until they can get to processing and fully extracting it because of the work still to be done on the rest of the allosaurus.
Expeditions to learn
The elder DeRosa said the family enjoys taking people on the fossil expeditions. “It’s really unique,” he said, adding that it’s different because the ministry doesn’t just teach it’s story, but it takes people into the field to get hands-on experience. He said Creation Expedition has taken people from all over the U.S. to digs and on fossil hunts. “It’s something very different from your average vacation,” he said.
On whether it has been luck or divine providence that the family has found three very complete fossil dinosaurs, the family has no doubt that their creator guided them. Everything has fallen into place, from the people who’ve helped, to the fossils they’ve found.
Their adventure is a business, a mission, a ministry and a calling all wrapped into one, and they love it. The allosaurus skull they worked so hard to recover and prepare is a symbol of that family venture. The elder DeRosa said, with obvious pride in his sons, that few 20- and 21-year-old paleontologists can say they have found and unearthed three mostly complete dinosaurs.
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