CA -- San Diego -- Balboa Park -- Natural History Museum -- Exhibit: Fossil Mysteries:
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Description of Pictures: Fossil Mysteries
A walk through prehistoric southern California.
From dinosaurs to mastodons to ancient sea cows, discover the rich fossil history of our region. Ponder a mystery, examine the strong fossil evidence from the Museum's collection, and use scientific tools to discover answers. Traveling through a 75-million-year timeline--from the age of dinosaurs to the Ice Ages--experience an unfolding of the prehistory of Southern California and Baja California, Mexico.
A highly interactive exhibition, Fossil Mysteries explores big themes in science: evolution, extinction, ecology, and Earth processes. Abundant fossils, models, murals, and dioramas offer unique multi-sensory experiences. You'll see the world—past and present—in a whole new way.
* Look at and touch real fossils and rocks—the clues to solve countless mysteries.
* Assemble a story about a dinosaur's life, death, burial, and discovery.
* Examine and identify microfossils.
* Move like an animal or build an animal!
* Make the Earth change shape by moving interactive models.
* Imagine prehistoric plants and animals that lived in southern California and Baja California.
* Find survivors of the past.
Ponder mysteries such as:
* Where are the dinosaurs in our region?
* How did prehistoric animals evolve?
* How did they live, move, and interact?
* What did they eat?
* How did our region take shape?
* How did mass extinction reset the world stage?
* Why did some animals become extinct?
* How do fossils relate to our lives today?
Museum members and visitors may recognize William Stout as the painter who created the prehistoric murals in Fossil Mysteries at theNAT, but there is much more to this talented artist than meets the eye. From film design to comic books, LP covers to T-shirts, murals to theme park design, William Stout’s attentions and talents seem to know no limits. Learn more about this artist, how he got his start, and why he digs paleoart. Stout’s murals and paintings are on permanent display at zoos, museums, and attractions across the country. Learn more about his work in Fossil Mysteries at http://bit.ly/1mjliIK.
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Specific picture descriptions: Photos above with "i" icons next to the bracketed sequence numbers (e.g. " ") are described as follows:
NHMFOS_190722_016.JPG: Fossil Mysteries
NHMFOS_190722_031.JPG: Mastodon Matriarch of the Marsh
Ancestral San Luis Rey River Valley
200,000 years ago
Mural by William Stout
NHMFOS_190722_053.JPG: Pleistocene Predators
20,000 years ago
Mural sketch by William Stout
NHMFOS_190722_084.JPG: Giant Sloths with Mallows
20,000 years ago
Mural by William Stout
NHMFOS_190722_097.JPG: Hoofed Natives
20,000 years ago
Mural sketch by William Stout
NHMFOS_190722_118.JPG: Time: 21,000 years ago
Place: Mission Valley, San Diego
NHMFOS_190722_136.JPG: Going, going, gone
Press the button and ponder why the mammoths became extinct.
Large mammals thrive in this lush landscape. Plentiful water fills rivers, ponds, and lakes. Plants grow in a rich tapestry of trees, shrubs, grasses, and herbs. The air is cool. Elsewhere, glaciers tie up ocean water, lowering global sea level.
NHMFOS_190722_143.JPG: Time: 11,000 years ago
Place: Mission Valley, San Diego
NHMFOS_190722_151.JPG: People arrive in North America, hunting and gathering along the fertile coast. The climate warms and dries. Sea level is rising, flooding coastal river valleys. Rainfall patterns change. Some plant species die out. Forests shrink. Big mammals grow scarce.
NHMFOS_190722_155.JPG: Time: 3,000 years ago
Place: Mission Valley, San Diego
NHMFOS_190722_170.JPG: Mammoths, mastodons, and other megafauna are gone. Human population continues to increase. Did people or climate change cause the big mammal extinction?
NHMFOS_190722_179.JPG: An American native
Horses evolved in North America then became extinct here.
Native to North America, horses dispersed to Eurasia, Africa, and South America. They flourished until about 10,000 years ago, but then died out here. This kind of local extinction is called extirpation.
Horses survived on other continents. Providing power and transportation, they helped shape human history. Europeans brought horses with them when they settled the Americas after 1492. How might history be different if horses had survived here prior to European settlement?
NHMFOS_190722_183.JPG: Perhaps horses died out in North America because they have multiple stomachs. The large plant-eaters that did survive here have multi-chambered stomachs. Camels (which evolved in North America too) have multi-chambered stomachs, yet they didn't survive here. This apparent paradox underscores the complex nature of extinction.
NHMFOS_190722_198.JPG: Giant Sea Cows in Kelp
3.5 million years ago
Mural by William Stout
NHMFOS_190722_215.JPG: Different skulls fit different roles
NHMFOS_190722_255.JPG: A long, drawn-out birth
Our region, including the peninsula and gulf, was born of plate tectonic forces
NHMFOS_190722_259.JPG: Slow, steady movement shapes the land
NHMFOS_190722_268.JPG: Look into these crystal balls
Slices through this rock reveal bands of light and dark minerals, the cross-sections of spheres made of crystals grown in magma. A product of plate subduction, the circulating magma cooled slowly miles below Earth's surface, allowing time for large grainy crystalline orbs to form layer by layer.
NHMFOS_190722_274.JPG: Beauty under pressure
This jade was not always jade. It began as ocean crust basalt. Plate movement transformed it. Gravity pulled the water-soaked plate of ocean floor basalt toward the mantle. Heat and pressure changed the rock's chemistry and texture, turning it into jade -- a metamorphic rock.
NHMFOS_190722_353.JPG: An end and a beginning
These rock layers preserve evidence of a catastrophic event.
The layers in this rock are like chapters in a book. Each one tells a bit of Earth's history.
NHMFOS_190722_356.JPG: Geologists have long recognized the dark coal layer as the beginning of a new major era -- the Tertiary Period. Below, dinosaur fossils are common. Above, mammal fossils become abundant and diverse. But closer inspection of sedimentary layers like these from Wyoming reveal a surprise.
NHMFOS_190722_359.JPG: The lower layer of dark gray mudstone formed along the mud banks of a lazy river.
NHMFOS_190722_366.JPG: Using a microscope, scientists found 79 kinds of fossilized pollen from lush flowering plants, conifers, and ferns preserved in this rock layer.
NHMFOS_190722_370.JPG: The thin grey claystone contains 1,000 times more iridium than the other layers. This element is rare on Earth, but common in asteroids.
NHMFOS_190722_373.JPG: This layer also holds crystals of quartz, riddled with fractures running in different directions. This type of unusual "shocked" quartz only forms from high velocity impacts. An impact crater, also of this age, lies buried on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
NHMFOS_190722_379.JPG: A bed of coal, formed from plants in a swamp, makes up the upper black layer. Here, fern spores dominate the fossil record.
NHMFOS_190722_384.JPG: Hardy plants that grow from wind-borne spores, ferns are often first to recolonize areas devastated by fire or volcanic eruptions.
NHMFOS_190722_387.JPG: Sedimentary rocks of this age in other parts of the world contain similar patterns -- the presence of iridium followed by a sudden drop in plant diversity and a predominance of ferns.
Hypothesis: As asteroid, perhaps six miles wide, slammed into Earth 65 million years ago. Many ecosystems collapsed and ferns took over on land, for a time. After the impact, life endured, but it would never be the same again.
NHMFOS_190722_399.JPG: Now you see them, now you don't
A pattern in the fossils may explain the process of extinction.
NHMFOS_190722_407.JPG: Throughout Earth's history, extinction has created opportunities for new species to evolve. In the 10 million years following the asteroid impact, the fossil record shows how the dinosaurs' demise created a lucky break for mammals.
NHMFOS_190722_410.JPG: If an asteroid caused the extinction, were some animals better protected than others?
NHMFOS_190722_420.JPG: Sheltered in burrows or underwater, some animals survived the sudden wave of intense heat and ensuing fires that followed the asteroid impact.
But water didn't protect all the animals in the ocean. Why?
NHMFOS_190722_425.JPG: Marine food webs depend on tiny free-floating phytoplankton. When asteroid dust blocked sunlight, the phytoplankton died and other marine life became extinct.
Oddly, many fresh water plants and animals survived. What was different about these environments?
NHMFOS_190722_433.JPG: Algae form the base of most freshwater food webs. Algae may go dormant during hard times. When conditions improve, they often recover.
On land, the last of the dinosaurs became extinct. (Their descendants, the birds survived.) Why were the dinosaurs so vulnerable?
NHMFOS_190722_438.JPG: Again, food webs may be the answer. Lack of sun killed plants, then plant-eating dinosaurs starved. After a while, predatory dinosaurs had no food either.
NHMFOS_190722_440.JPG: Raptor dinosaur
Fossils: 72 million years old
End of the Cretaceous Period
Baja California, Mexico
NHMFOS_190722_447.JPG: What killed the dinosaurs?
Ponder a worldwide murder mystery.
The trail of evidence has grown stone cold. But rocks and fossils preserve a wealth of information, if you know what to look for.
NHMFOS_190722_450.JPG: Based on all this evidence, most scientists agree that an asteroid struck the Earth, causing the extinction of the last of the dinosaurs, and many other animals and plants.
However, a series of massive volcanic erupted lasted for several million years at the end of the Cretaceous, releasing tremendous volumes of carbon dioxide. The resulting global warming may have contributed to this mass extinction. It's still a hot topic for scientific inquiry!
NHMFOS_190722_452.JPG: Around the world, a changing variety of dinosaur fossils occurs in rocks ranging from 230 to 65 million years old.
Hypothesis: Dinosaur species evolved and perished. In the end, the dinosaur lineage became extinct.
NHMFOS_190722_457.JPG: A huge crater, 65 million years old, shows no signs of past volcanic activity.
Hypothesis: An asteroid, perhaps six miles wide, collided with Earth and blasted out a crater.
NHMFOS_190722_463.JPG: A think layer of claystone, also 65 million years old, contains an extremely high concentration of iridium, an element common in asteroids but rare on Earth.
Hypothesis: The asteroid vaporized upon impact, and iridium dust fell to Earth.
NHMFOS_190722_469.JPG: A fine layer of charcoal, also 65 million years old, is found in many sites around the world.
Hypothesis: Fiery hot debris from the impact ignited massive wildfires.
NHMFOS_190722_475.JPG: Scientists measure a sudden decrease of the isotope carbon 13 in rocks 65 million years old.
Hypothesis: Impact debris, dist, and smoke blocked the sun's energy, profoundly affecting plant growth.
NHMFOS_190722_481.JPG: Fossil pollen preserved in rocks shows a dramatic difference in the plant communities before and after the impact.
Hypothesis: Effects of the impact decimated existing plants. Only hardy ferns and fungi proliferated in the immediate aftermath.
NHMFOS_190722_513.JPG: A new menu for dinosaurs
Exactly which plants did hadrosaurs eat during the Cretaceous?
NHMFOS_190722_533.JPG: Ammonites and Mosasaur with Dinosaur Reef
75 million years ago
Mural by William Stout
NHMFOS_190722_567.JPG: Likes long walks on the beach
Fossils reveal how this Lambeosaurus lived.
NHMFOS_190722_571.JPG: Mark Rehkopf
Research Casting International
NHMFOS_190722_582.JPG: Every predator plays a role
Albertosaurus had to kill and eat prey to survive.
NHMFOS_190722_589.JPG: Like T. rex, but nimble and quick
Albertosaurus skeletons suggest abilities and adaptations.
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Wikipedia Description: San Diego Natural History Museum
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The San Diego Natural History Museum is a museum located in Balboa Park in San Diego, California. It was founded in 1874 as the San Diego Society of Natural History. It is the second oldest scientific institution west of the Mississippi and the oldest in Southern California. The present location of the museum was dedicated on January 14, 1933. A major addition to the museum was dedicated in April 2001, doubling exhibit space.
The San Diego Natural History Museum grew out of the San Diego Society of Natural History, which was founded on October 9, 1874. The Natural History Society was founded by George W. Barnes, Daniel Cleveland, Charles Coleman, E. W. Hendrick and O. N. Sanford. It is the oldest scientific institution in southern California, and the second oldest west of the Mississippi.
In its initial years, the San Diego Society of Natural History was the region's primary source of scientific culture, serving a small but growing community eager for information about its natural resources. Early society members established a Volunteer County Weather Service in 1875, petitioned to create Torrey Pines State Reserve in 1885 and Anza Borrego Desert State Park, and garnered support for the San Diego Zoological Society.
Hotel Cecil, Sixth Avenue
In 1887, the Society was given a lot on Sixth Avenue between B and C streets by E. W. Morse, a former president of the city's short-lived Lyceum of Natural Sciences. The Hotel Cecil was eventually built on part of the society's lot, and in June 1912 the Society began to meet there.
In 1910, the San Diego Society of Natural History hired Kate Stephens, an authority on terrestrial and marine mollusks, as curator for its collections. These included the personal collection of her husband, mammalogist and ornithologist Frank Stephens, who donated over 2000 bird and mammal specimens to the Society in 1910. In June 1912, Katherine and Frank Stephens installed the Society's first museum exhibits at the Hotel Cecil, where they could be viewed by the public on selected afternoons.
The Sixth Avenue property hosted the museum's exhibits for a very short time, roughly 1912-1917. However, it remained the property of the Society until 1987, when it was sold to the Trammel Crow Company. Money raised by the sale became part of the Museum of Natural History’s endowment fund.
Exposition Buildings, Balboa Park
Various supporters of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition at Balboa Park expressed interest in repurposing buildings from the Exposition. This was complicated because the actual title to the land in Balboa Park remained with the City of San Diego. In June 1916, museum supporter G. S. Thompson proposed that "The one legal ground that a private museum corporation has that will permit it to occupy city-owned buildings in a public park is that the museum authorities maintain exhibits that will be free, i.e., without admission charges, and open at all times to the public."
The museum eventually occupied three different buildings from the Exposition in Balboa Park, none of which was ideally suited to museum use. In 1917, the Society paid $500 to the Panama-California Exposition Corporation for the vacant Nevada State Building. The Society moved its growing collections and library into the building in February 1917, thus creating the San Diego Natural History Museum. Frank Stephens served as the first director of the museum from 1917 to 1920. The Board identified its mission as being "to educate and help people know and love nature". Using specimens from the museum's collections, the institution developed educational outreach programs with city and county schools.
Unfortunately, many of the buildings at the Exposition had been intended as temporary structures. The two-story Nevada building, with its arcades, flanking wings, and Spanish-Renaissance trim, was not built to last. The museum obtained permission from the Park Commission to move to the 1915 Foreign Arts Building, which it remodeled in 1920. When the Foreign Arts Building proved too small, the museum expanded into the 1916 Canadian Building (previously the 1915 Commerce and Industries Building). This new space was opened to the public on December 9, 1922. The museum's intention was to eventually combine the buildings.
William Templeton Johnson Building, Balboa Park
From 1922 until his death in 1946, Clinton G. Abbott was the museum's director. During Abbott's period as director, the museum was able to build and move into long-term quarters. Other notable naturalists and curators of this period include Guy Fleming, Laurence M. Huey, and Laurence M. Klauber.
In 1925, a nearby fire raised concerns about the safety of the existing museum buildings. Community leaders recognized the need for a permanent museum of adequate size that would be both fire-proof and earthquake-proof. Ellen Browning Scripps was a major benefactor of the proposed building project.
In 1832, San Diego's leading architect, William Templeton Johnson, was commissioned by the Society of Natural History to design its new museum building on Balboa Park's East Prado. Johnson had earned his reputation with his design of the Fine Arts Gallery (now the San Diego Museum of Art) and the downtown San Diego Trust & Savings Bank, among other buildings. The museum building combined Spanish and Moorish touches. Yellow and blue tiles mark a row of arches under a balustrade; surprisingly, given the Spanish influences, the building did not have a tiled roof.
The construction of the permanent headquarters was made possible through a grant of $125,000 from Ellen Browning Scripps, and by public subscription. However, the full amount needed for the building could not be raised in the Depression years. Only the first unit of the building, at the south end of the lot, and one wing extending toward the north, could be built. The north and east exterior facades were left plain as temporary walls slated for future expansion, and remained so for 60 years. The $175,000 Natural History Museum building was formally dedicated on January 14, 1933.
World War II
The Society was notified on March 8, 1943, that the United States Navy wished to take over the Natural History Museum for hospital use at once, becoming the infectious diseases ward. Some renovation took place in the facility, including the addition of an elevator designed to handle hospital gurneys and a nurses' station between floors. Both features remain in use today. The U.S. Navy takeover of the museum building for the duration of World War II resulted in damage to the collections, exhibits, and the building itself. The main library and its librarian were moved to San Diego State College; the rest of the treasured and fragile exhibits were hastily packed, crated and moved into a total of 32 separate places. Exhibits too large to be moved were stuffed into the north wing on the main floor. Director Clinton G. Abbott and a staff of four were allowed only limited access to an area of the basement.
Once staff were allowed to reoccupy the building, on July 1, 1949, major renovations commenced. Forced to look at all collections and exhibits by this rehabilitation process, the board adopted a firm policy to restrict collections to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The museum continued its steady growth with post-war San Diego, despite periods of financial stress. The American Alliance of Museums accredited the museum in 1974.
Postmodern Expansion, 2001
In 1991, Michael Hager took over the position of President and CEO of the San Diego Natural History Museum. With Robert F. Smith, he led the museum through a strategic planning process that focused the museum's collection strategies on southern and Baja California, and led to the development of the Biodiversity Research Center of Southern California, a collaborative Environmental Science Education Center for the United States and Mexico, and a major capital campaign for the expansion of the museum itself.
In April 2001, new design and construction more than doubled the size of the 1933 building, from 65,000 square feet (6,000 m2) of usable space to approximately 150,000 square feet (14,000 m2). The entrance received a new Postmodern style facade and glassed atrium. The project architects were Richard Bundy and David Thompson Architects Inc. The expansion also provided new space for the museum's research, educational, and administrative activities.
In December 2009, the San Diego Natural History Museum was awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design−LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (LEED-EB: O&M) Certification. It is one of the oldest privately owned institutions to achieve the award.
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