Play Pterosaurs: The Card Game!
Challenge your friends to this Pterosaurs card game, and explore animals and plants that lived during the Mesozoic Era along the way. The game was co-designed with students in the Museum’s #scienceFTW program based on an existing biodiversity card game, Phylo.
Purchase or print the cards, play the game, and don’t forget to download the companion app which reveals animations of pterosaurs walking, flying, and more!
Museum researcher Mary Blair is blogging from Vietnam, where she’s surveying for endangered primates called slow lorises—at night. In her latest post, read about spotting pygmy lorises, bay owls, and avoiding the smelly, ill-tempered gaur.
Read the full dispatch from Vietnam.
Fifty years ago today, the 1964−1965 New York World’s Fair opened at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. During the Fair’s two six-month runs, it drew over 50 million visitors to Queens to see a multitude of exhibitions showcasing technological innovations and international cultures.
As noted in the New York Times last week, one of the highlights was the Dinoland pavilion, sponsored by Sinclair Oil Corporation, which featured nine life-size models of dinosaurs, including Brontosaurus (now Apatosaurus), Triceratops, and a 20-foot-tall Tyrannosaurus rex, that loomed over enthralled visitors in a spectacular outdoor re-creation of a Jurassic environment.
Tyrannosaurus rex from the Sinclair Oil Corporation Dinoland pavilion. Via Flickr/Karen Horton
The towering sculptures were crafted out of fiberglass by wildlife artist Louis Paul Jonas, who earlier in his career had studied with naturalist and pioneering taxidermist Carl Akeley. Jonas had even helped create the African elephant group for the Museum’s Akeley Hall of African Mammals as well as sculptures for the Hall of Asian Mammals. To produce Dinoland’s fiberglass models, Jonas worked with another Museum luminary: the then-89-year-old Barnum Brown, the fossil hunter who had discovered T. rex at the turn of the 20th century.
Click here for a video about Barnum Brown.
By the early 1900s, Brown had gained fame as a great dinosaur collector (and as a snappy dresser), sending back more then 1,200 crates of fossils back to the American Museum of Natural History from far-flung expeditions. (For more about Brown’s incredible life and career, read the 2010 book Barnum Brown: The Man Who Discovered Tyrannosaurus Rex by Museum Curator Mark Norell, chair of the Division of Paleontology, and Research Associate Lowell Dingus.)
By the time preparations for the 1964 New York World’s Fair were getting under way, Brown had become a bona fide celebrity, hosting a weekly CBS radio broadcast and consulting on Walt Disney’s Fantasia. As the man who had introduced American audiences to dinosaurs and fossil hunting, and as the curator of vertebrate paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History, Brown was the natural choice to consult on Dinoland, an attraction designed to bring together then-recent scientific discoveries with the spectacle of a prehistoric world populated by dinosaurs.
While working on the exhibition, Brown traveled frequently to Louis Paul Jonas’s studio, in Hudson, NY. Unfortunately, Brown did not live to see Dinoland become a reality; he died shortly before the opening of the World’s Fair on April 22, 1964.
Brown measuring the femur of Tyrannosaurus rex, 1938 (AMNH Vertebrate Paleontology Archive, 5:6 Portrait box)
Today, Brown’s legacy continues not just in the fossil halls of the Museum—where no fewer than 57 of the specimens on display are his discoveries—but in the in the worldwide love of dinosaurs and paleontology that he helped to spark.
Extinct mollusks known as ammonites inhabited the planet for more than 300 million years—almost twice as long as dinosaurs—before disappearing in the mass extinction event more than 65 million years ago.
As many as 10,000 species may have existed, ranging from tiny organisms that measured only a fraction of an inch across to formidable animals more than 2 feet in diameter, such as the spectacular 75-million-year-old specimen shown above, which is on view in the Museum’s Grand Gallery.
Learn more about these amazing ammonites.
Happy Earth Day!
From the archives: Children viewing Globe of the World exhibit in the Hall of Earth History. Photographed by Alex J. Rota in 1969. AMNH/333906
Find more many more archival images on our new online database of digital images from the Library’s collections.
If you’re a real history buff, don’t miss our upcoming Slide Slam, happening Monday, April 28. New York-based artists Alexis Rockman and Mark Dion will share how the Museum’s Library collections have influenced their work, and as a memento, each guest will receive a packet of historic 35 mm slides from the Library’s collection!
Find out more about this event.
Happy Birthday to John Muir!
Born in 1838, Muir was a naturalist and preservationist who founded the sierraclub. In 1903, Muir took Theodore Roosevelt on a famous camping tour of Yosemite and persuaded the President to add Mariposa Grove and Yosemite Valley to Yosemite National Park.
Did you know? The new Theodore Roosevelt sculpture at the center of the recently reopened Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall depicts the President as he looked during that Yosemite trip.
Webby-Nominated Poison App: Skippy -
*Spoiler Alert: If you don’t want to know what happens to Skippy the Dog in the Power of Poison app, don’t click on the above link!
Just a few more hours to vote for The Power of Poison: Be a Detective iPad app for a 2014 Webby People’s Voice Award. Find clues in the lab and try to solve the case!
Download the free app and cast your vote here.
A diorama in the Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs exhibition brings to life a scene from the Romualdo Formation from a time when pterosaurs ruled the skies and hunted for fish along an ancient coast.
Curators created the scene based on fossils found at the Araripe Basin in Brazil. Many are beautifully preserved, immediately recognizable as the animals they once were. The fossils are also of particular geological interest because they date from a time—110 million years ago—when the continents weren’t in the same positions as they are today. South America was only starting to split off from Africa, and a north-south seaway may have run down through today’s Brazil, including through the Romualdo.
Learn more about this prehistoric scene.