All of Us!

All of Us!
Finally! All together with enough time to spare (??) to capture a picture of all six of us in the same spot, same time. Now this is a precious photo! I tried to get one last year for our Christmas card and didn't succeed. So when I had the chance I threw out the lasso and rounded everyone up (at my niece's graduation party) to grab a couple snapshots. My oldest son, Casey, and his girlfriend Nika are on the left; and my youngest son, Brady, and his girlfriend Jenne on the right; that leaves Bob and I in the center. (Bob is the one who doesn't look very happy about having his picture taken!!)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Big Apple: Day 4, Part 5, 3rd Portion of AMNH - Dinosaurs

This portion of our little adventure into the museum was absolutely dynamite!! It was so neat to be able to get up close and personal with the remains of so many historic pieces of past.  Let's not dawdle.  Keep the line moving ... as our next stop will be in the fourth-floor halls which include the Hall of Vertebrate Origins, Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs (recognized by their grasping hand, long mobile neck, and the downward/forward position of the pubis bone, they are forerunners of the modern bird), Hall of Ornithischian Dinosaurs (defined for a pubic bone that points toward the back), Hall of Primitive Mammals, and Hall of Advanced Mammals.  These you will find just as interesting, too.  So, if you are not yet bored, next up . . . dinosaurs.  

Mammut:  This particular skeleton is one of the most complete mastodon skeletons ever found in North America.  It was discovered by workers digging for peat fuel near Newburgh, New York.  After uncovering the skull, they dug further and found the rest of the skeleton standing upright, just as it must have sunk into the bog centuries ago.

Gomphoterium: An early relative of the elephant that lived in Texas about 10 million years ago, and like others in this tall, short-necked group of mammals, it probably used its tusks to protect itself and to reach for food.

Irish Elk

Irish Elk:  This Irish Elk display was so cool. The antlers were huge and simply amazing! For your information, during the last Ice Age, the Irish elk (related to the living red deer) was widely diffused in Europe as far east as southern Siberia but it survived the peak cold period which occurred around 20,000 years ago.  Following that, the Irish elk slowly became restricted to Europe, and ultimately to Ireland, 11,000 to 10,000 years ago. Representing the last populations of this breed of deer, abundant remains of this species have been found in the peat bogs in Ireland.
Megalonyx Wheatleyi

Megalonyx wheatleyi ("great claw"): About 9 million years ago, before the Isthmus of Panama had formed, megalonychid ground sloths crossed from South America to North America. Megalonyx wheatleyi was the result of almost 8 million years of sloth evolution on this continent.

Smilodon: The enormous canine teeth of the saber-toothed cat are its most obvious feature, but not all carnivores have them.  The most distinguishing evolutionary feature of this group of mammals is found further back in its mouth -- a pair of scissorlike teeth on each side that are used for slicing meat.

What's a trip to someplace special without having your picture taken with your newest friend!!


Triceratops:  Triceratops, which literally means "three-horned face",  is one of the most recognizable of all dinosaurs.  It bears a large bony frill and three horns on its large four-legged body, and imploring resemblances with what we now know as the rhinoceros.

I have to say that you gotta love the triceratops -- think Cera, the little triceratops in The Land Before Time.  I loved to watch this movie with my sons when they were little and to this day, I still enjoy it immensely and could watch it over and over again.  Thus, possibly began my love of and curiosity with dinosaurs.  Do you remember it?  The scheme concerns a young orphaned Apatosaurus (Longneck) named Littlefoot whose mother was killed by a Tyrannosaurus (Sharptooth).  He goes on a journey in search of an oasis, the Great Valley, to escape the impending drought.  Along his way he accumulates four juvenile companions.  And how can we forget them!  There is Cera the Triceratops (Three Horn) who always seems to hold a chip on her shoulder, feels a need to prove herself and is in search of her own kind; Ducky the Saurolophus (Big Mouth/Swimmer) who is quite the blabbermouth and also the depressed child of the bunch but soon is able to abort the funk he has fallen into; Petrie the Pteranodon (Flyer) who suffers from a fear of flying; and Spike the Stegosaurus (Spiketail) who they happen upon when he is hatching.  A tale of determination sprinkled with danger, bravery, tears, joy and fortitude, it is a definite much-watch flick, if you haven't seen it!


Tyrannosaurus:  Also known as T. Rex, the Tyrannosaurus was by far the largest carnivore of its time.  A carnivore, T. Rex was one of the largest known land predators, measuring up to 40 feet in length, up to 13 feet tall at the hips, and up to 7.5 tons in weight.   They possessed large and powerful hindlimbs, but their forelimbs were small, although remarkably strong for their size. 

As long as we are mentioning flicks, once again I ask you -- do you remember the movie, Night at the Museum? (Well, duh, I've talked about it a lot in my NY posts since that is where are at and the Museum of Natural History is where that movie takes place.)  Anyway, now do you remember the Tyrannosaurus skeleton nicknamed Rexy who behaves like a dog? Meet Rexy, above.  I loved that character -- he was ferocious until Ben Stiller would throw something for Rexy to fetch.

Unfortunately, we didn't go through every display, which if you will recall in the movie there was GumGum (Easter Island Head display voiced by Brad Garrett), and Teddy Rossevelt played by Robin Wiliams, among many others.  

And for good measure ... here is one more ...

Stegosaurus:  It was noted on a board at the Museum that there is still a continuing debate about the Stegosaurus in that scientists' opinions differ on whether its front legs splayed out to the side or were held straight up and down when the animal walked.  To illustrate these two possibilities, the adult skeleton is show with the front limbs sprawled out and the juvenile is mounted with the legs more erect.  

Now the funny story about our trip to the museum, or at least this specific part of the museum. 

Nika and I were taking a long peek at a display beside Rexy, with our backs to Rexy.  As we turned to start walking past Rexy, we both heard quite a loud escape of ... gas ... yes, a fart!  Unfortunately, we both thought the same thing – the other person did it.  We glanced at each other quickly and realized, hysterically, that it wasn’t the other and then immediately turned to the side to see a man standing next to Rexy appearing quite pompous and totally unaware that we had heard his little flatulence escapade which at the time seemed to ring throughout the hall.  In essence, I am sure that it wasn’t that loud; just loud enough for our ears and enough for the two of us who by now were getting a little tired from the day trip thus far, that we were tickled to the bone with laughter.  We hastily retreated from this end of the hall. 

Now if you think I may be turning this into a little bit of a vulgar ending to this post, please first consider a couple things.  The English word fart is one of the oldest words in the English vocabulary.  The word is also used as an endearment.  But what may be most telling of what we heard is akin to the fact that in 1929 Thomas Wolfe had the phrase “a fizzing and sulphuric fart” cut out of his book, Look Homeward, Angel, by his publisher. 

Yes, in this case, too, it that may describe it very well ... fizzing and sulphuric. 

Either way, it was too much for these two tired little spectators to handle and fearful of making a scene ourselves, unlike what our one-man band just accomplished, we did the only thing we could at the moment . . . we ran.  

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