Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Museum Visits - Royal Tyrrell Museum Part 2

If you've ever been to the Field Museum in Chicago, there are two things that you at least probably remember. One would be Sue the Tyrannosaurus, and the other is the Evolving Planet exhibit, which takes museum guests in a "walk through time." Today, our focus is not on the Field Museum, but on the second half of the Royal Tyrrell Museum and their own walk through time exhibit.

The first stop is the Burgess Shale, a fossil formation from the Cambrian era, approximately 500 Million Years Ago. Organisms, such as the predatory Anomalocaris shown above, were highly complex, nearly all of them easily mistakable for aliens from another planet. My favorite is the Opabinia. The room was very dark, so I apologize for the somewhat poor quality of the photo. 

Continuing our trip through the Paleozoic, there's a microscope for visitors to observe fossilized microorganisms. Neat. Past that, and you've reached the Devonian. Present is a really cool diorama of a Devonian "coral reef." 

Of course, a Devonian exhibit isn't complete without a Dunkleosteus. I can say without a doubt that Dunkleosteus is the most famous Devonian fish currently known. 

Back down at the main floor, and we've reached the Carboniferous era, about 360 MYA. Amphibians had now evolved, and tetrapods were now one step closer to conquering land. A little fun piece of trivia: the Carboniferous era marked the point in which atmospheric oxygen reached their highest. The result? Super-sized bugs like Arthropleura, a 6 foot long millipede.

The final stop in the Paleozoic era: the Permian. Eryops was one of the more famous prehistoric amphibians, making numerous appearances in (mainly vintage) dinosaur books.

Dimetrodon mounts. Another bit of trivia that some of you might already know: These reptiles are more closely related to mammals, us, than they are to dinosaurs! 

Exiting the Paleozoic era, and we're greeted by the Triassic. Up above are remains of Shonisaurus, one of the biggest genera of ichthyosaur. 

And that concludes part 2 of the Royal Tyrrell Museum! In part 3, we'll explore the Dinosaur Hall, the museum largest exhibit. Until next time!

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