Sunday, July 29, 2012

The new paleontology exhibit at HMNS

Although it opened almost two months ago, Kirby and I did not finally get around to visiting the new hall of paleontology at the Museum of Natural Science until this weekend. Here are some photos.
The new hall, which is a permanent exhibit, is described as a "prehistoric safari" that begins with the early aquatic life forms of over 500 million years ago and follows all the way through early fishes, plants, amphibians, dinosaurs and early mammals to the evolution of modern man.
The exhibit starts with an impressive collection of trilobites, which appeared in the Cambrian Period about 525 million years ago and managed to hang around for the following 270 million years before finally going extinct.
The hall features a broad array of plant as well as animal fossil, including a very large and rather beautiful assortment of petrified wood.
 Flying insects, such as this dragonfly ancestor, began to appear about 315 million years ago.
The sharp teeth of Tyrannosuarus Rex, which lied between 67 and 65.5 million years ago. Like the rest of the dinosaurs, T-Rex was wiped out by an extinction event that may have been caused by an asteroid impact.
Triceratops is instantly recognizable by the horns and frill of its skull. This particular specimen apparently includes fossilized skin as well as bone.
The new hall is only a handful of weeks old at this point, and some of the exhibits are still under construction. Here, a curator reconstructs what appears to be a skeleton of an early mammal.
This frightening skeleton belongs to "Slothzilla,"an enormous ground sloth that (perhaps thankfully) no longer exists. In addition to its impressive size and powerful limbs, this beast had massive claws that could tear apart predators like saber-toothed tigers.

Anyway, the new exhibit is as expansive as it is impressive and a handful of pictures on a blog don't come close to doing it justice. So go to the museum and check it out for yourself!

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