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Curious Collections: A Single Dino Toe

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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

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Stay Up Late at SciCafe, Global Kitchens, and One Step Beyond

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A number of the Museum’s after-hours series were recently featured in The New York Times article “Staying Up Late in Museums.”

Reporter James Barron noted the Museum’s history of offering stellar programs “since long before [the movie] ‘Night at the Museum,’” highlighting past SciCafes, including last summer’s Hunting the Hidden Reptiles of Madagascar. Check out the next SciCafe, which will feature bioluminescence experts John Sparks and David Gruber, on Wednesday, November 2. 

Tags: SciCafe

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Beyond Planet Earth: An Elevator to the Moon

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Below, astrophysicist Michael Shara, who curated the forthcoming exhibition Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration, explains how a lunar elevator would work—and why it might inspire a new sport.

We humans are barely toddlers when it comes to space exploration. Our first baby steps off our home planet 50 years ago took us to low Earth orbit. By 1973, 12 intrepid men had walked on the moon’s surface. Since then we have sent robots to every planet in our solar system. The Hubble Space Telescope has shown us that the ordinary matter we are made of comprises only 4 percent of the mass of the universe. The Kepler orbiting telescope has proved that billions of worlds orbit the stars of our Milky Way galaxy. What will we accomplish in space in the coming centuries, as our steps become surer and bolder?

Tags: Hayden Planetarium, Space Exploration

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Young Naturalist Researches River Contaminants

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Seventeen-year-old Joshua had fond memories of swimming in Arkansas’s Strawberry River, a popular site for community gatherings and picnics. But after the construction of a wastewater treatment facility upstream, no one would enter the waters. “The wonderland where I spent so many hours as a child is deserted now, and nobody swims or fishes in that section of the river,” Joshua would later write. “I decided to find out for myself if the [facility] had indeed contaminated the water, or if the community had overreacted.”

Tags: Young Naturalist Awards

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