Museum Musings
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Dinosaur Q&A


While I’m a fan of the idea of Chris Pratt leading a gang of Velociraptors, nothing compares to the original Jurassic Park. And, nothing compares to watching this most iconic of dinosaur films with an actual paleontologist! 

Author and paleontologist Dr. Anthony Martin of Emory University will lead the special presentation Science on Screen: Jurassic Park at Fernbank Museum, Sunday, March 22.* Before Dr. Martin delves into the science behind the film (can we talk about thatTriceratops poop??), I had a few questions for him.Tony Martin Blog

What is your favorite part of being a paleontologist?
My favorite part of being a paleontologist is going outside and searching for fossils, especially with other paleontologists. I’m really happy whenever I get the chance to do this.

Why are my arms so short?
Blame your ancestors and evolution for that. Your great-great-great-great grandparents probably didn’t need big arms to survive a typical day during the Mesozoic Era, so your arms reflect that history, which is perfectly, normal. Besides, long arms are overrated.

What is your favorite dinosaur?
Oh, that’s easy: Oryctodromeus cubicularis. This was a small ornithopod dinosaur from Montana that lived during the Cretaceous Period, about 95 million years ago. One reason why it’s my favorite dinosaur is because it’s the only known burrowing dinosaur, fossilized in its den with two younger dinosaurs of the same species. Even better, I was lucky enough to co-name it! Its name literally means “digging runner of the den.”

Have you ever met Jeff Goldblum?
No, I haven’t. But you know what’s really sad for him? He hasn’t met me yet, either. Hopefully it will happen someday: after all, life finds a way.

Do you have any snacks?
What did you have in mind: Chihuahuas or Great Danes? Wait a minute: why are you looking at me like that?

Black and blue or gold and white?
I like dresses of all colors, regardless of how people perceive them.

Do you think feathers would look good on me?
Oh, for sure. I’m thinking iridescent black for most of your body, with some yellow and red feathers on your arms, and hot pink on the top of your head. With an ensemble like that, think of how you’d rock the Buckhead night life!

When can we go to Jurassic Park?
I’m sorry to report that ‘Jurassic Park’ closed about 145 million years ago. Fortunately, though, we can still see the living descendants of dinosaurs today as birds. Which is pretty cool, because that means you can watch the relatives of ‘Jurassic Park’ in your backyard every day.

You can find Dr. Martin on Twitter at @Ichnologist. And you can find me on Twitter at@giga_a_dino and on Facebook

—Giggy A. Dinosaur

*Admission to Science on Screen: Jurassic Park is free, but space is limited and. reservations are required. 

Written by Fernbank Museum at 11:45

A DINO-Mite Celebration

They may be over 90 million years old, but age hasn’t diminished the need to host a birthday party for the dinosaur stars of Fernbank Museum’s permanent exhibition Giants of the Mesozoic. The world’s largest dinosaurs will celebrate their seventh anniversary at Fernbank with the popular Dinosaur Birthday Bash on Saturday, August 23, 2008 from 10am to 2pm.

Giggy Therm

This prehistoric party will feature a mock dino dig, appearances by Giggy A. Dinosaur, big bubble fun, free treats* from Whole Foods Market Briarcliff, a kids' DJ and more.


Can’t wait until it’s party time? Here’s a fun craft you can make at home, a Giggy Thaumatrope!

We’ll see you Saturday!

—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing

*Treats are available while supplies last and are limited to 1 per person.

 

Written by Fernbank Museum at 09:57

Adventures in DIRT! A Return to Summer Camp

Fernbank's offiical blog started with a post I wrote after joining one of Fernbank’s first mock digs during summer camp. That was (ahem) a few years ago, so I decided it was time to re-visit the dig pit and live vicariously through our young, energetic and very excited campers. 

First, it was time to fuel up for our adventure. Campers enjoyed a picnic lunch in the Museum’s Great Hall, under the watchful eyes of the world’s largest dinosaurs.

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Please don’t feed the dinosaurs.

I decided to head to the dig pit early to take photos before the flurry of activity started. Much to my chagrin, as the campers arrived, I heard one of them ask (referring to me) “Is she a fossil.” I didn’t take it personally. (Note: look into stronger face cream.)

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My reaction to being confused with a fossil.

Before we dug in to the day’s adventure, Kaden Borseth, Fernbank’s Education Program Manager–Earth Science, gave a quick overview. He explained what the campers would be looking for, the tools they’d be using, as well as the best method for recovering the fossils they found. When it comes to paleontology (and archaeology), gentle is the key! You don’t want to damage your discovery.

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A quick “how to.”

And then we began! Not with a starting pistol, but with an exited flurry of little hands grasping tools and shifting dirt. It wasn’t long before the first declaration of “I FOUND something.” It would not be last.

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Campers worked in teams.

Excited voices called out items as they found them. Eggs, legs, ribs and more. As each piece was uncovered (after a celebratory wave to show the others), they were carefully cleaned off and set aside.

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But these weren’t just random pieces, like a really cool (and a bit dirty) puzzle, the pieces formed a dinosaur!

steggy.jpg

Almost done!

It was great to be a kid again, even if just for a couple of hours.

Found something.jpg

Adventures in dirt!

This unique activity was developed by Fernbank educators and is one of many engaging programs offered by the Museum. And while mock digs aren’t currently offered to the public, you can take advantage of a variety of drop-in programs offered throughout the summer. Activities include chemistry demonstrations, animal encounters and more. Look for the “Today at Fernbank” sign when you arrive for details.

Click here to see more photos from today's dig.  

—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing 

Written by Fernbank Museum at 17:01
Welcome to the official blog of Fernbank Museum of Natural History. This blog is an opportunity for the people that keep Fernbank running and constantly expanding, to share stories from their point of view. We hope you’ll enjoy these first-hand, behind-the-scenes glimpses of what goes into keeping a world-class natural history museum running. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on these stories, to hear your personal experiences and hear any suggestions for topics. Happy reading!

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