This year's annual Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting was held in Cincinnati, and I was quite pleased to be greeted in Concourse B of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport by a mastodon skeleton.
|This seemed like a good omen.
This is hardly the only airport to have fossils. Sometimes they are part of the building stone; at Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport, for example, you can hardly walk around without seeing fossils in the (non-local) flooring stone. Most of the fossils are bits and pieces of shells, but there are some nice coiled cephalopods, and if you have time they're certainly worth a pause. (It would be fun to do a thorough photographic inventory, but I imagine it would probably have to be explained so as not to appear nefarious.)
|Two cephalopods with part of my foot for scale.
|A generous assortment of large fossil debris.
In other cases the fossils are on display, as at Cincinnati. One of my favorite examples is the Brachiosaurus at Chicago O'Hare. I've become fairly familiar with this mount over the years since I first saw it on the way to Mongolia, as O'Hare has been practically a required stop on my trips east from MSP.
|On this visit in 2019 the brachiosaur was decked out in Chicago Bears livery for the NFL's centenary.
Back to Cincinnati. (Well, not literally; the airport is actually across the Ohio River in Kentucky.) In the mastodon photo above another skeleton can be seen in the distance. I'd been in a hurry when I arrived, so I hadn't explored farther, but made it a point to do so when I departed. It turned out there were five more mounts in the concourse, which makes me wonder if there were any in Concourse A. The animals chosen for exhibit are all typical Ice Age fauna of the area (in fact, all have been found at Big Bone Lick not too far down the river). One notable absence, if only by name, was the giant beaver Castoroides ohioensis, so I kind of hope there were more in Concourse A.
|Cervalces scotti, the "stag-moose"; think of a moose with fancier antlers.
|A dire wolf pursues an extinct peccary.
|A giant ground sloth; the mounts are convenient to walk around, particularly nice for appreciating the unusual anatomy of this animal.
|A Smilodon smiling.