Check out this Megalodon’s megawatt smile, and step inside if you dare

Meet our Megalodon! Among the 60 new mounts set to debut this summer at HMNS’ brand spanking new Paleontology Hall is this Megalodon jaw, which spans 12 feet.

Megalodon Jaws

The Paleontology Hall was designed to be interactive, so most of the mounts were designed in action poses. Not to be left out, the jaws of this Megalodon will be displayed swallowing a swimming elephant.

Look how they dwarf our Paleontology curator, David Temple:

Megalodon Jaws

Check out the rest of this sneak peek and be sure to stay up-to-date on all our Paleo plans:

Megalodon Jaws

Megalodon Jaws

Megalodon Jaws

Terra Cotta Take Two: The warriors are back in Warriors, Tombs and Temples, opening Friday

Following the enormous success of Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s first Emperor in 2009, the warriors are back for a new exhibit spanning three dynasties in Warriors, Tombs and Temples: China’s Enduring Legacy – opening Friday.

TCW II: Warriors, Tombs and Temples

Where Terra Cotta Warriors focused on artifacts from the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, Warriors, Tombs and Temples will encompass a greater span of history throughout three dynasties: The Qin, Han and Tang.

In addition, the warriors to be unveiled Friday have benefited from more advanced conservation techniques, and some figures even have their original paint in tact. Among these is a Terra Cotta Warrior whose face is painted green – known as the kneeling archer – which is being revealed for the first time.

TCW II: Warriors, Tombs and Temples

Also featured in the new exhibition are 200 ancient works of art, many never before seen outside of Chin. Some of our unbiased favorites? A gold-coated iron dragon who expertly balances on his two front feet (pictured above); intricate, miniature reliquaries crafted to house the finger bones of Buddha; and a magnificent life-size figure of a chariot horse, typical of the horses discovered in the tomb compound of Emperor Qin Shihuangdi.

WTT finger coffins

Want to do your own digging through the warrior remains? Warriors, Temples and Tombs is on view until Sept. 3.

Why James Delgado > James Cameron: See a real underwater explorer speak April 12

James Cameron’s got nothing on Dr. James Delgado. Although the multimillionaire and filmmaker made a historic dive Monday to a depth of 35,576 feet, it’s Delgado who headed up the historic excavation of the R.M.S. Titanic – the inspiration for that other guy’s most famous film.

james vs

On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking in April 1912, new images were released in the April 2012 edition of National Geographic that depict the entire wreckage for the first time in a single frame.

For the first time ever, the boat’s full expanse is photographed at its resting place more than 2 miles beneath the Atlantic Ocean.

Although the images look as though they were shot from a distance, the ocean depths are far too dark to light the wreck powerfully enough – and doing so would be dangerous to the ship’s remains. Instead, the images were assembled mosaic-style by experts at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and took months to complete.

To create an accurate image of the full wreckage, researchers layered optical data on top of sonar images gathered from an exhibition in 2010 that is widely regarded as the most extensive research and recovery trip to date. During that trip to the wreck site, the eighth since its discovery, three robots circled the boat using side-scan and multibeam sonar to capture hundreds of images per second.

Titanic | James Delgado appearance

Delgado, the chief scientist for the excavation and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Director of Maritime Heritage, told the National Geographic the reconstructed images were “a game-changer.”

“In the past, trying to understand Titanic was like trying to understand Manhattan at midnight in a rainstorm – with a flashlight.”

Delgado will be at HMNS on April 12 to discuss expeditions to the wreck site and the technology that has made such imaging possible.

In addition to discussing his own historic visit to the ocean floor, Delgado will outline options for the Titanic’s future preservation.

To reserve tickets, click here!

Those who can, teach: Tracking the Painted Lady life cycle with pasta

Hey there, today marks another installment of my handy how-to’s for educators.

This particular activity is awesome when paired with observing Painted Lady butterflies grow and change in your classroom.  It’s a visually appealing model that represents a unique hands-on opportunity to record the stages in the life cycle of organisms in their natural environment — using inexpensive materials and items gathered from outdoors.

caterpillar

Photo by squeakychu

What You’ll Need:

From Caterpillar to Butterfly by Deborah Heiligman (very basic)
The Lifecycles of Butterflies by Judy Burris and Wayne Richards (more detailed)
Light blue construction paper cut into 3 x 18-inch (8 x 35-cm) strips – one strip per child
Rotini pasta – one piece per child
Bowtie pasta – one piece per child
Mini shell pasta – one piece per child
Orzo pasta (rice also works well) – one piece per child
Small twigs or brown craft stems cut into 3-inch strips – three per child
Fresh leaves or leaves cut from construction paper– two per child
Wildflower or flower sticker – one per child
Washable markers
Liquid water color paint in green and another color of your choice
Scissors
School glue

Kat-Caterpillar to Butterfly

What You Do:

1.    Cut construction paper into strips; one per child.
2.    Color rotini pasta and mini-shell pasta green by placing pasta in a baggie with green liquid water color and shaking gently.  Spread out and allow the pasta to dry.
3.    Color bowtie pasta a bright color of your choice in the same manner.

Next:

1.    Read:  From Caterpillar to Butterfly by Deborah Heiligman aloud to the class. This story is about a Painted Lady Butterfly raised in a classroom. Painted Lady Butterfly Kits are available in the Houston Museum of Natural Science Museum Store (use your educator’s discount!).  Live specimens will ship to you after you mail in the card contained in the kit — allow time for this.
2.    Take your class on a short field trip in the green areas on school grounds.
3.    Each child will collect three small sticks and two fresh leaves.  (Keep in mind that it is a good idea to check with school administrators to verify that collecting on school grounds is permissible.)
4.    Each child will fold a strip of light blue construction paper into four equal sections, creasing well.
5.    In the first section, a stick and a leaf are glued into the square, as if it were a leaf hanging from the stick.  Glue a single piece of orzo atop the leaf.  What does the orzo represent?
6.    Glue a stick and leaf in a similar way in the second square. Glue a piece of green rotini pasta to the top of the leaf.  What does this represent?
7.    In the third square, a stick should be glued with one mini-shell pasta hanging straight from the middle.  What does this represent?
8.    In the last square, a flower or flower sticker will be glued, along with the colorful piece of bowtie pasta.  What does the bowtie pasta represent?  Why do we have the flower in this square?
9.    Label each section as follows:  EGG, CATERPILLAR, CHRYSALIS, and BUTTERFLY.  They must be labeled in this order.
10.    Have children practice presenting the butterfly life cycle to one another using the project that was created.

Cockrell Butterfly Center

Questions to expand those  kiddie minds:

Why did you glue the “egg” and the “caterpillar” to the leaves?
Why did you glue the “chrysalis” to the stick?
Why was there a flower with our butterfly?
How many stages are there in the butterfly’s life cycle?
How is your life cycle similar to the life cycle of a butterfly?  How is it different?
Name other life cycles you observe around you.

Enjoy!