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  • HMNS at Sugar Land: Installing the new Dig Pit | BEYONDbones
    the Pleistocene and weathered away Fortunately he was reburied before the weathering was complete When you uncover him in the dig he is almost exactly as discovered only a few tail bones and skull bones were repositioned Another cast fossil is a recreation of the famous Mongolian Fighting Dinosaurs This fossil was discovered and 1971 and features the skeletons of a Velociraptor and a Protoceratops locked in a combat that neither won This mount has some restoration bones were added to fully complete the skeletons but the positioning dinosaurs are as discovered and amazing Stan the T Rex is on display in the entrance hall Tucked in a corner of the dig pit is a cast of the most complete skull of Acrocanthosaurus known Discovered in Oklahoma this razor backed therapod was a fearsome predator in the early Cretaceous of Texas Tracks attributed to Acrocanthosaurus have been found in the Paluxy River near Glen Rose Texas in Dinosaur Valley State Park This cast copy was made after the initial preparation and before the individual skull bones were removed to restore the skull so you the view is exactly what was seen in the field and after initial cleaning Lastly to complete this hands on collection of Cretaceous dinosaurs there are two panels from the Tyrannosaurus Stan One features his spectacular skull and the other a section of thoracic vertebra and ribs A fully articulated and mounted copy of Stan is on display in the entrance hall Volunteers and staff fill the dig pit with matrix The matrix is a recycled rubber product and a popular material for playgrounds Unlike the ancient sediments covering dinosaur bones in less controlled environments these can be successfully removed with scoops and a variety of brushes The experience offers budding paleontologists the opportunity to keep

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/10/hmns-at-sugar-land-installing-the-new-dig-pit/ (2016-02-12)
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  • 100 Years – 100 Objects: Copper | BEYONDbones
    artifacts one for each year of our history Check back here frequently to learn more about this diverse selection of behind the scenes curiosities we will post the image and description of a new object every few days This description is from Joel the Museum s President and Curator of Gems and Minerals He s chosen spectacular objects from the Museum s mineralogy collection which includes some of the most rare and fascinating mineral specimens in the world that we ll be sharing here and at 100 hmns org throughout the year Keweenaw Peninsula Houghton County Michigan Large clusters of free growing blocky copper crystals like this 18 4 cm specimen are extremely rare This piece appears to be from the same mine as a superb 13 cm specimen known to have come form the collection of B S Butler who with W S Burbank wrote the classic work on the copper deposits of Michigan in 1929 As with many such early specimens the specific mine name was lost or not recorded Nevertheless this is one of the finest copper specimens known from Michigan Marvel at the world s most spectacular collection of natural mineral crystals in the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals at the Houston Museum of Natural Science You can see more images of this fascinating artifact as well as the others we ve posted so far this year in the 100 Objects section at 100 hmns org 0 0 0 This entry was posted in Gems Minerals and tagged 100 years 100 objects copper copper mines gems HMNS minerals preserving artifacts preserving objects by Joel Bookmark the permalink About Joel Not only is Joel the President of the Museum he s also a curator He has the rare distinction of having held almost every job here

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/10/100-years-100-objects-copper/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Go Stargazing! October Edition | BEYONDbones
    ll need a clear northern horizon to get a good look at it Sagittarius the Archer known for its teapot asterism is in the southwest Jupiter is in Sagittarius Look for the enormous Summer Triangle consisting of the stars Deneb Vega and Altair high in the west As familiar summer patterns shift to the west the constellations of autumn take center stage The Great Square of Pegasus is high in the east at dusk The star in its upper left hand corner is also the head of Andromeda Facing north you ll see five stars in a distinct M like shape this is Cassiopeia the Queen Her stars are about as bright as those in the Big Dipper and she is directly across the North Star from that Dipper In fall while the Dipper is low Cassiopeia rides high Moon Phases in October 2009 Full October 4 1 11 am Last Quarter October 11 3 56 am New October 18 12 32 pm 1st Quarter October 25 7 41 pm photo credit Jay Scott Photography The Full Moon of October 4 is the Full Moon nearest to the fall equinox Therefore it is the Harvest Moon The ecliptic which is the plane of the solar system set against the background stars makes a very shallow angle with the horizon on late summer and early fall evenings Since the Moon orbits us in almost the same plane where Earth orbits the Sun we see the Moon near the ecliptic When the ecliptic makes a shallow angle with the horizon a shift in position along the ecliptic translates into less height above or distance below the horizon As a result around the start of fall we see the Moon rise at about the same time for several days around Full Moon Harvesters

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/10/go-stargazing-october-edition-2/ (2016-02-12)
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  • 100 Years – 100 Objects: Sponge encrusting a Cephalopod | BEYONDbones
    and description of a new object every few days This description is from David Temple the museum s curator of paleontology He s chosen a selection of objects that represent the most fascinating fossils in the Museum s collections that we ll be sharing here and at 100 hmns org throughout the year Sponge Protospongia rhenana encrusting a cephalopod Orthoceras Devonian Hunsruck Slate Bunden bach Germany HMNS 498 This sponge Protospongia rheana is an example of a delicate animal preserved after being drowned in oxygen poor silt 390 million years ago A sessile animal this sponge attached to a hard spot on the sea floor On this example it attached itself to the hard remains of the cephalopod orthoceras This sponge may have been buried in place in or broken free of the seabed and swept by currents along the bottom before settling in a low area its final resting place Wander among prehistoric beasts in the Paleontology Hall a permanent exhibition at the Houston Museum of Natural Science You can see more images of this fascinating artifact as well as the others we ve posted so far this year in the 100 Objects section at 100 hmns org 0

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/10/100-years-100-objects-sponge-encrusting-a-cephalopod/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Fall Butterflies in Houston | BEYONDbones
    a hand lens or magnifying loupe to see this They also sometimes glue random bits of dead leaf material along the midvein higher up Then during the day the little caterpillar which is about the color of a dead leaf bit itself sits at the end of the frass chain hidden in plain sight So clever When it gets larger it moves into a rolled leaf also held together with a bit of silk Gulf Fritillary Agraulis vanillae We then noticed the much showier spiny black and orange caterpillars of the most common butterfly we saw that day the spectacular gulf fritillary Gulf frits like all members of their subfamily the longwing or passionflower butterflies eat passionflower vines as caterpillars Gulf fritillary caterpillars on passionflower vine And there was plenty of the native Passiflora incarnata or maypop growing in the Meadow The butterfly itself is one beautiful bug especially the males which like many other butterflies and songbirds are more brightly colored than females Males are a brilliant orange above with a few black spots females are similar but a duller orange The underside of both has sunrise like hues of pinkish orange on the upper wing and spots of silver yes silver spots spangling the lower surfaces of both fore and hind wing rendering the butterfly very difficult to see when perched in the vegetation We also saw several buckeyes one of our prettiest butterflies with large eyespots and multi colored patterns in brown purple orange and blue on the upper wing surface The underside is quite drab and cryptic it is hard to imagine it is even the same butterfly but this is true of most butterflies that the underside is drab or camouflaged no matter how showy the upperside We found buckeye caterpillars too blackish and spiny easy to see on the slender upright stems of their hostplant Agalinis fasciculata or false foxglove I was determined to identify some skippers even though this large group of mostly small mostly brown mostly very fast flying butterflies had heretofore been a bigger challenge than I wanted to take on But I had my reputation to uphold We did come across several individuals and luckily the group was patient as I flipped through the field guides Eventually we managed to identify to all of our satisfactions the skippers we saw including a clouded skipper an ocala skipper we think and a fiery skipper Much easier to ID was the showy in skipper terms white striped longtail the brilliant white stripe on the underside showing clearly when it perched to sip from the lavender blazing star Liatris or ironweed Vernonia flowers blooming profusely in the Meadow at this time We did not see any blues or hairstreaks well I saw a tiny Ceraunus blue and a gray hairstreak after the group had left but we did see several other interesting insects A pretty scoliid wasp metallic black with bright creamy white spots on the abdomen was very interested in the abundant

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/10/fall-butterflies-in-houston/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Lucy, meet Ardi | BEYONDbones
    the forest cover and its replacement by grasslands Creatures adapted to living in trees were now forced to cross grasslands in order to go from one island of trees to another the thinking went However crossing through the grass would make them very vulnerable to predator attacks Walking upright allowed one to see predators sooner thus representing a beneficial adaption to a changing environment We now know that the origins of upright walking pre dates the widespread disappearance of the forests and their replacement by grasslands Bipedalism did not evolve as an adaptation to receding forest cover and expanding grasslands Back to the drawing board in other words Bipedalism is now thought to have evolved in a tree environment Questions remain how and why Among living non human primates researchers have observed bipedal stances in creatures such as orangutans as they move around in the trees while chimpanzees most often stand upright when they feed on small objects in the trees Early human ancestors such as Ardipithecus who lived in a tree environment may have had similar adaptations The discovery of the genus Ardipithecus and the study of the environment in which they once lived have caused us to revisit and refine the thinking on the origins of upright walking However we can t be sure that bipedalism first emerged in the Awash Valley Its origins may lie even further back in time Upright walking may also relate to another aspect of Ardipithecus behavior monogamy Here is where a hypothesis originally dating back to the 1980s has found new traction Dr Owen Lovejoy suggests that instead of fighting for access to females a male Ardipithecus would supply a targeted female and her offspring with gathered foods and gain her sexual loyalty in return Walking upright freed his hands to carry the food thus helping him to achieve this goal The fossil Lucy How does Ardi relate to Lucy Ardi pre dates Lucy by more than a million years She was larger and heavier than Lucy Lucy was a more adept upright walker than Ardi Both Ardi and Lucy lived well before stone tools were in use Their brain size was similar to that of a chimp Both were found in the same region of Ethiopia with Ardi s site just 46 miles 74 kilometers away from where Lucy s species Australopithecus afarensis was found in 1974 What traits does Ardi share with us Australopithecines and chimps Like chimps Ardi had an opposable big toe However she was probably not as agile in the trees as a chimp Unlike chimps however she could have carried things while walking upright on the ground and would have been able to manipulate objects better than a chimp And contrary to what many scientists have thought Ardi did not walk on her knuckles White said Ardi was not a chimpanzee but she wasn t human stressed White who directs UC Berkeley s Human Evolution Research Center When climbing on all fours she did not walk

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/10/lucy-meet-ardi/ (2016-02-12)
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  • A Pipe Dream | BEYONDbones
    secondary oil recovery is to inject water into the reservoir Another way is to inject carbon dioxide Both methods will bring the pressure back up The amount of oil flow will depend on the viscosity of the oil how thick it is and the porosity of the rock how many tiny hoes are in the rock and permeability ability for liquids to move through the rock photo credit David C Foster But how does the oil move from the well to the pipeline There are two devices that help do this The first is a wellhead It serves as an interface between the well and the outside world It can also help to maintain a steady pressure and flow The other is a Christmas tree which controls the flow who has the best Christmas spirit People in the oilfields they have a Christmas tree up all year long It has valves on it that can be opened up or closed to change the amount and pressure flowing through it so a well can be connected directly to a pipeline Some of the deep water wells may not have a pipeline running to them In that case they can use specially constructed ships to take the oil from the well to where it can be offloaded Since a pipeline s path is not always downhill how do they keep it flowing The pipelines have pumps that keep the product crude oil natural gas etc moving along Crude oil contains a waxy substance so a device known as a PIG pipeline inspection gauge this little pig went to market this pig went to town this pig cleaned the Alaskan Pipeline all the way home is run through every now and again to clean it up A Christmas Tree on display in the

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/10/a-pipe-dream/ (2016-02-12)
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  • 100 Years – 100 Objects: Field Microscope | BEYONDbones
    our Museum s history and our collections of historical technologies that we ll be sharing here and at 100 hmns org throughout the year Made by William Cary London England c 1820 HMNS 119 Museum Purchase 1970 Included in the Museum s collections are examples of the various tools used by scientists through history There are several examples of early optical equipment such as microscopes This microscope is very compact Each piece has a special place in the fitted mahogany case The case was designed to be portable and to provide protection for the instrument inside It was easy to carry to share discoveries with friends or to carry into the field When assembled the microscope attaches to the top of the case with a screw mount and disassembles to fit compactly into the top tray as shown here The long brass arm in the center of the box screws in to a threaded hole on the outside of the box lid The barrel or main body tube of the scope the tube on the left fits into the arm and the eyepiece is screwed onto the top and lenses screwed onto the base Underneath this top tray are fitted slots for glass slides and a series of small containers to hold the specimens collected in the field for future study This microscope is deceptively simple The craftsmanship required to make all the various pieces and grind the lenses required great skill Early instrument makers like Mr Cary developed reputations for the quality of their work They signed their microscopes the same way that artists sign their work Most instruments are found unsigned This model is signed on the pillar Cary 181 Strand London You can see more images of this fascinating artifact as well as the others we ve

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/10/100-years-100-objects-field-microscope/ (2016-02-12)
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