Saturday, October 31, 2015

October 17 -- Museum at Prairiefire


When 90th birthday festivities were originally being planned, Saturday the 17th was the day when most family members were available to celebrate.  Many different events were planned for the 17th.

In the morning, we met at the Museum at Prairiefire.  It is a small natural history museum, which has really high-quality exhibits in a very modern building with lots of spectacular stained glass windows.

When you walk in the door, you see a huge screen with live video of museum goers.  Animations of dinos, including T. rex walk, fly, or swim across the screen, going apparently right by (or through) the people who are visiting the museum.  A seriously fun attention-grabber.  You can see part of our group, with a feathered! T. rex, in the image below.  (Note also a reflected stained-glass window, lower right.)

A closer look at the screen, and the feathered T. rex.

You can interact with the animation, designing a critter with your own ideas about skin/feathers/coloring, and then wait to see your creation making its way by/through you and your friends and family in the lobby.

This big mural describes the time when Kansas was covered by ocean.

The special exhibit (which we did not see, due to time constraints) was about horses.  On the wall at left are many magnificent large images of wild horses on Sable Island in Canada.

If you stand where I stood to take the pic of the whole exhibit of large images from Sable Island, and you rotate 180 degrees, you see the life-size skeleton of a T. rex.

I'd never noticed those wispy bones under the neck.  I wonder what those are for!

This was the first time I'd been in a dino museum that was built since I took Dino 101.  It was interesting to see info that was all up to date.  (Older museums often have some up-to-date info, and some older info that does not reflect current best thinking about dinos.)

I remembered hearing in Dino 101 that young dinos often were different enough in form from mature adults that they had been thought to be of different species, but I do not remember that we heard this was true for T. rex.  (As always, click on any image to see a larger version.)

The one thing I saw that contradicted what we were told in Dino 101 is about the adult T. rex arms.  They are very short for the size of the critter (about the length of a human arm....), but they are very substantial.  We were told that the marks that tendons leave on bone reflects the usage -- heavy-duty usage leaves bigger marks than light usage.  Skeletal evidence is that T. rex arms saw serious heavy usage.  We have no idea for what, but the scientists in Dino 101 told us those arms were used, hard, for something.

This is a nice little museum, and the parts we saw were all free of charge.  Definitely worth a visit, if you are in the area!


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