Saturday, December 11, 2010

Houston Museum of Natural Science

Dinosaur Hall, photo courtesy of Houston Natural Sciences Museum

Big news from the Houston Museum of Natural Science (Houston, TX)! They've unearthed a nearly complete, articulated Dimetrodon skeleton, scheduled to go on display in the museum's paleo hall in 2012 (This is a big deal because, despite what you see in museums, paleontologists rarely find nearly whole fossil vertebrates).

Check out the HNSM blog post here. Oh, and Dimetrodon is a synapsid, not a dinosaur. It's also from the mid-Permian, so predates dinosaurs by about 30 million years. Oddly enough, although it looks like a reptile, it's actually closer to mammals.

Cyn and I took a trip to the the Houston Museum of Natural Science a couple years ago. It's just one museum in the Houston Museum District, near Rice University.

Homo sapiens (foreground) with juvenile Edmontosaurus

The museum, which is now a century old, has at the center of its Mesozoic display a Tyrannosaurus rex that stalks an adult and juvenile Edmontosaurus. A large sauropod stands aloof from the whole thing, while a Quetzalcoatlus soars overhead (see top photo). A number of smaller "raptors" and birds watch from afar.

Turtle (Toxochelys, I believe) and Mosasaur

The museum also features a number of life re-creations, including an ankylosaur being attacked by a pack of dromaeosaurs. (The ankylosaur, in fact, is the one Sinclair had built for the New York World's Fair. Two others are in Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose.).

Dromaeosaurus (top left), Ankylosaurus (left), and Homo sapiens

More pictures from the Natural Sciences Museum can be found here. Also, apparently, they're currently expanding the museum, so these pics will soon be out of date :-).

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