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Showing blog posts tagged with "Paleontology"

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A 19th-Century Gift

From the Collections posts

Not long ago, a descendant of John William Draper, a celebrated 19th-century naturalist, gave the Museum Draper’s collection of fossils from Whitby, England. The set, mostly ammonites, was neatly stowed in a wooden box along with a handwritten list of contents dated 1844 and a price stamp of 28 shillings.

“It’s a lovely cabinet of curiosities,” says Neil Landman, curator in the Division of Paleontology, who suspects Draper bought the collection whole, perhaps as a gift for his children or because it was “the kind of thing any respectable naturalist would have owned.”

Born in England in 1811, Draper emigrated to the U.S. in 1832 and rose to prominence as a chemist, botanist, historian, and pioneering photographer. He served as president of New York University from 1850 to 1873 and was a founder of the NYU Medical School, where he taught chemistry until a year before his death in 1882.

Tags: Paleontology

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Graduate Student Links Dino Eggshells and Ancient Climates

News posts

Fourth-year Richard Gilder Graduate School (RGGS)doctoral student Shaena Montanari uses her geology training and subtle clues left by dinosaurs to reconstruct the environment of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert as it was 70 million years ago. Based on an innovative approach that takes cues from the geochemistry of dinosaur eggshells, Montanari’s latest findings—that late in the Mesozoic “age of the dinosaurs” the Gobi desert was a much wetter and warmer place than today—were presented this week at a poster session of the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

Tags: Paleontology

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Curious Collections: A Single Dino Toe

News posts

This specimen from the Museum’s paleontology collection is a single dinosaur toe covered with lichen.

Most likely collected in 1912 in Alberta, Canada, the toe is thought to belong to a hadrosaur (duck-billed) or ceratopsian (horned) dinosaur. The toe is the terminal phalanx, or the one that supported the hoof. The lichen growth, which occurred on the two damaged parts of the bone, shows that the bone was exposed on the surface of the ground for many years before being discovered.

Tags: Dinosaurs, Paleontology

New Research Points to Dinosaurs’ Colorful Past

News posts

There’s new evidence that dinosaurs, once thought to resemble scaly lizards, were in fact fluffy, colorful animals. In the video below, Curator Mark Norell, who is chair of the Museum’s Division of Paleontology and studies important feathered dinosaurs from Liaoning, China, shares his thoughts on the significance of two new studies about fossilized feathers reported in the current issue of Science magazine.

If you missed the live Twitter chat with Dr. Mark Norell about fossilized feathers on Friday, Sept. 16, click here to read the discussion. Add your own comments using the hashtag#DinoFeathers.

Tags: Dinosaurs, Paleontology

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NPR Traces History of Barnum Brown’s First T. Rex Skeleton

News posts

It’s a story more than a century in the making. Barnum Brown’s extraordinary fossil-hunting career—which took him from a frontier farm to the world’s top fossil sites and to the halls of the American Museum of Natural History—included the discovery of the first complete skeleton of the Tyrannosaurus rex.

The priceless fossil—the one used to describe the carnivorous species now synonymous with “dinosaur”—was displayed in the Museum for more than 30 years beginning in 1906. Then the story took a twist, which is traced in a recent NPR piece “Bone To Pick: First T. Rex Skeleton, Complete At Last.”

Tags: Dinosaurs, Paleontology

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