Monday, March 10, 2008

I got bones......and small rocks.

Terror at the High Seas....of History
I had the amazing opportunity to travel the icy roads to Bozemen Montana and the Museum of the Rockies. Did I mention that the roads were icy?

That's the van I was riding in. I don't think my professor has driven on wintry roads often. Classic beginners mistake, passing a snowplow while going up hill in a fully loaded 12-passenger van. My neck still hurts.
The Museum of the Rockies is the product of Jack Horner(go ahead and look him up if you don't know who he is) who is so cool and awesome he told the college to pony up the dough for a bigger museum and they did it. He is the guy who first discovered 3 major things.
1) Dino eggs - He found the first several clutches.
2) Dinosaur Embryos - He found an embryo, need I say more, AMAZING.
3) Dinosaur Proteins - He had help on this one but to make a short story shorter they cut up a T-Rex thigh bone and it was so well preserved proteins were present, then they sexed it............. Which means they were able to decipher the gender of the specimen another Dino first.

When we first arrived where were taken downstairs to a fossil prep lab where they are opening jackets(plaster cases of the fossils) and assembling the fossils.

Man what a jigsaw puzzle. This is the assembly of a triceratops frill.
Triceratops and Torosaurous are part of the big projects there, let me explain. Jack Horner being the super cool genius that he is grabbed a grad student and asked him to falsify the hypothesis that triceratops and torosaurous are the same dinosaur, get it falsify That They Are the Same Dinosaur. Should be easy they look different so they are.......Wrong they did a ton of statistical checks and found out that these two species are one and the same just different developmental stages. Check the photos.


See the difference? Praise be to the Dino Rider!

Actually its more like this. First a Torosaurous Skull.

Now for the next picture click on it and maximize it so it is as big as it can be.....Its in stereo!

Look at it like a magic eye picture and you can get a 3d image to appear between the 2 pictures. These are courtesy of my good friend and an all around amazing guy Matt Cannady.

So Torosaurous has a bigger frill with holes in it and downward pointing horns.

Triceratops has a smaller frill and less downward point horns. This is the best background ever, if you don't see why meet with Sherlock Holmes for some observation skills.
The T-Rex in Stereo is a recreation with the original bones of how they found their first articulated T-REX.

The tail and crotch are closest to the picture and the head is overturned in the back.
This is a full size T-Rex and a juvenile. They thought they were separate species because T-Rex usually only has 12 teeth per mouth quarter and the little T-Rex species has 17. Turns out T-Rex loses his teeth as they change from tearing teeth to bone crushing teeth which is more evidence for T-Rex being a scavenger.

Now behold the toothy terror in 3d!

Giant Ammonoid Time!
This guy is huge, now the cool part is to picture the flat end in the front filled with squirrelly tentacles!

The next exhibit we (as the great and passionate geologists we are) went to was the mineral exhibit. Their minerals were nice and the only cool thing about them was their size. I could have fit my head....That's right my huge head in to this geode.

Even better is picturing my head in this geode in STEREO!

Now on a family note this one is for you Celeste

The white mineral surround by purple is......CELESTITE!

One last note on Dino species confusion. These three skulls all came from the same species. As the Dino ages his head inflates......much like alot of humans!

Lastly a video created by Matt Cannady. Did I mention about how cool and great he is?
Its a video of Dino shape based on skeletal pattern. It is the product of 7 or so photos pieced together. Its awesome.

Thanks for be a friend on this tour of what gets me excited!


Brad said...

Dinosaurs are the sweetest!

Celeste said...

Who knew you could learn so much on a blog! Thanks for putting in my rock!

b-ryce said...

wow. so what sex was the dino?

david said...

female, it contained a speciel protein that is found in birds which are laying eggs

Kevin and Amy Larsen said...

David, I think you and I have a lot in common! I was an archaeology major, but this stuff is all interesting to me too! Next time you're in CO we should all get together again.

Tracy Barrand said...

That museum was defiantly worth braving the ice for. There is so much cool stuff here, you must have been salivating Dave. it's a wonder your camera worked with all that saliva on it. I especially liked the slight differences in the frills and horns and eyes on the two T dinos and the fossilized dino embryo. ..sigh.. Geology looks really, really interesting. I guess it could be called "history in rocks"

Smith Family said...

The kids loved the pictures. He thought it was the coolest.

Aqualung said...

Dave, I have the perfect way for you to use your dino info....create dino heroscape characters and this totally awesome game board Brad could build for you with tacty glue. It could be big enough for the kids to play on.