Sunday, November 20, 2016

Meanwhile, over at the Science Museum

Recently, the Science Museum of Minnesota reconfigured the exhibit space for the paleontology in conjunction with changes to other parts of the floorplan. I don't recall if the previous configuration had been stable all the way back to the 2005 Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting (I do know a nice Goniopholis was added around 2010), but where once it had looked like this:

January 2013; watch the space on the left of the Stegosaurus.

Now it looks like this:

That Triceratops wasn't there before...

Two major components, the Morrison dinosaurs and the Wannagan Creek fossils, are still where they had been. The major differences are in the section on the east, with the removal of some visible lab space and some more portable specimens, most notably a sort of "circus ring" of small- to medium-sized Cenozoic animals, mostly mammals.

And a tortoise.
In their place are a group of mounts from the Oligocene of coastal South Carolina (transferred from the floor above) and the well-known Science Museum Triceratops, relocated from another part of the floor. A Triceratops going mobile is just not a common occurrence these days, so naturally the event received some local coverage. A few other pieces were also rearranged, including the Xiphactinus lurking behind the Stegosaurus in the first picture above, some of the remaining mammals, the Goniopholis, and your friend and mine Thescelosaurus. Green River Formation fossils also get more prominence.

Triceratops (who also answers to "Fafner") plus overhead pterosaur pal in foreground. The South Carolina mounts are visible in the background by the neon; you can see a whale, pseudodontorn,and sea turtle in the air above the hind end of a mostly obscured croc (next photo).

Estuarine croc Gavialosuchus (or Thecachampsa) carolinensis has an honest face. I was glad that space was made for the South Carolina mounts; many places have Morrison dinosaurs, but you can't see Wannagan Creek and South Carolina fossils just anywhere.

On the one hand, the Triceratops no longer has its niche with the backdrop:

On the other hand, you can now walk around the whole mount, if for example you should want to look at the legs and hips:

Like this, perhaps.

I may cover some of these exhibits in a bit more detail in the coming weeks, given the approaching busy holidays. Till then, though, Allosaurus bids you all adieu:

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