1912-1987 – amateur paleontologist
Francis Tully was a pipefitter for Texaco who devoted his free time to his hobby of walking the landscape, searching for the tell-tale smooth stones which, when cracked open, may hide a fossil inside. One day in 1955, Tully was walking the banks of Mazon Creek near Braidwood when he spotted a stone that had naturally split in half. After taking a look at the fossil inside, Tully knew he had found something special. He took the stones to Field Museum’s experts, who had never seen anything like the creature Tully had uncovered.
In 1966, the fossil was introduced to science and was given the Latin name, “Tullimonstrum gregarium” or Tully Monster. The Tully Monster was selected as the Illinois State Fossil by the school children of Illinois in 1989.