About Amy P

Amy is the Director of Adult Education at HMNS.

Dinosaur Drama Makes for a Stellar Documentary: Dinosaur 13 screening coming to HMNS December 9

Join Peter Larson and Robert T. Bakker at HMNS for lecture and final screening of Dinosaur 13 in the Giant Screen Theatre Tuesday, December 9.HMNS Dinosaur 13 screening December 9

When paleontologist Peter Larson and his team from South Dakota’s Black Hills Institute made one of the world’s greatest dinosaur discoveries in 1990, they knew it was the discovery of a lifetime — the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found. The dinosaur quickly became known to the world as ‘Sue,’ named after amateur paleontologist, Susan Hendrickson, who located the first fossil fragments of the historic find.

Larson recalls the exhilaration of the find, and of toiling in more than 100°F to recover the skeleton before it could be damaged by weather, oxidation, and other forces of erosion: “We all wanted to see what the skeleton was going to look like,” Larson says in the film.

“It was – it still is today – the most exciting, the most wonderful excavation – the most incredible thing we have ever done,” his brother, Neal Larson echoes.

Through interviews with the principal players in the story that unfolds, filmmaker Todd Miller portrays what happened next. Shortly after the excavation, a ten-year battle ensued with the U.S. government, powerful museums, Native American communities, and competing paleontologists over the legal custody of Sue. 

Academic paleontologists were outraged that a historic find would be planned for exhibition at a commercial facility (the Black Hills Institute), Native American communities filed complaints that the find was improperly removed from land that belonged to them. And, in an unusual argument, the federal government requested nullification of the sale of the prospect rights for the fossil by the landowner, who now also argued that he had never intended to sell Sue to Larson. 

In the government’s view, the fossil had become land, making it inappropriate to transport, attempt to auction, or purchase Sue without legal standing. Larson and his crew soon found themselves fighting for their own freedom. 

To celebrate the global television premiere of Dinosaur 13 in the US on CNN on Thursday, December 11, Lionsgate and CNN are presenting a special screening of Dinosaur 13 on the giant screen at the Houston Museum of Natural Science on December 9.

For more information about Dinosaur 13, please visit www.cnn.com/dinosaur13.

Lesson learned from Sue?
Being a dinosaur hunter takes great “Rex Appeal”— what happens when art, technology and politics blend into one epic tale.

So what happened to Sue?
With help from Disney and McDonald’s, Sue was purchased by the Field Museum at an auction in 1997 for $8.36 million. Since May 2000, she has been on display in the entry hall of the museum. She has been seen by an estimated 20 million visitors there.

Dinosaur 13 HMNS December 9

Sue at the Field Museum

Want to learn more about this amazing story?

If your answer is yes, you are in luck. We have 3 ways to learn more — all wrapped up in one fantastic evening at the Houston Museum of Natural Science on December 9.

  1. Peter Larson and Dr. Robert Bakker—live and in person—will share the inside scoop on the story of Sue.
  2. See the new documentary Dinosaur 13 on the Museum’s giant six-story screen.
  3. Purchase Peter Larson’s book Rex Appeal: The Amazing Story of Sue, the Dinosaur That Changed Science, the Law, and My Life, which he will sign for you, and read it cover to cover before midnight. (HMNS was able to secure a stash of this out of print book acclaimed by paleontologists.) “[this is] the book anyone who loves dinosaurs must have!” says Dr. Robert Bakker.

Lionsgate & CNN Films present a film screening and panel for Dinosaur 13 followed by a lecture by Peter Larson and Robert Bakker, Ph.D.
Tuesday, December 9, 6 p.m.
Houston Museum of Natural Science 

Join paleontologists Peter Larson and Dr. Robert T. Bakker for a lecture on this important period in paleontology, followed by a screening of Dinosaur 13— featuring Larson and Bakker – presented by Lionsgate and CNN Films.

Paleo activities for kids of all ages begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Grand Entry Hall. McDonald’s open until 6 p.m. Book signing by Peter Larson and Dr. Robert T. Bakker will follow the program.

Click here to purchase tickets in advance.

Want Peter Larson to keep you posted on his dinosaur finds?
Follow him on Twitter: @PeteLarsonTrex

Dinosaur 13 Peter Larson

 

Scientist who discovered oldest skeleton in the Americas comes to Houston November 12

The controversy over who settled the Americas, and when, has been raging for some time. Combatants have lined up on every side to stake intellectual territory. Every point is debated. For historians, the use of the word “America” is even problematic. 

However, as human remains begin to surface and DNA studies are undertaken, new knowledge is leading us to new understanding. Tomorrow’s history books are being written based on new findings made by marine archaeologists in Mexico.

FIRST AMERICANS

 

FIRST AMERICANS

The complete, well preserved skeleton of a young girl from over 12,000 years ago was found in an underwater cave on the Yucatan Peninsula. The chamber where her remains were found is now known as “Hoya Negro,” or Black Hole. Nicknamed “Princess Naia,” her remains are among the oldest yet found in the Americas. Her discovery is reshaping our understanding of human migration into the Western Hemisphere.

Princess Naia’s discovery is undoubtable one of the most significant and exciting finds in for those researching Paleoamericans.

Marine archaeologist Dr. Dominique Rissolo, the expedition coordinator, will announce the latest scientific findings from the project at the Houston Museum of Natural Science on November 12. This lecture is cosponsored by AIA – Houston. Reserve your advance tickets today, available online and at 713.639.4629—you’ll be able to say you heart it in Houston before it is featured in the January issue of National Geographic Magazine.

Dr. Dominique Rissolo rappels into a Mayan cenote. Photo Credit: Sam Meacham

Learn more about Princess Naia in “Most Complete Ice Age Skeleton Helps Solve Mystery of First Americans, Ancient bones provide glimpse of the New World’s earliest inhabitants” by Glenn Hodges for National Geographic, May 15, 2014.

 

Archaeology in Houston? Uncovering Memorial Park’s History

Did you know that the US Army set up camp on the banks of Buffalo Bayou — where Houston’s beloved Memorial Park is today?

Memorial park Archaeology 1

Yes, Camp Logan was built as an emergency training center in World War I built in 1917 with the capacity to house 44,899 troops at a time.

“As you walk or run through Memorial Park now, it’s hard to imagine a huge sprawling military base on its grounds, but historic photographs of the camp depict row after row of tens on raised wooden platforms along graded streets near mess halls and latrines – and many of those foundation features are still visible in the wooded areas of the park,” comments historian and archaeologist Louis Aulbach.

The streets in Camp Logan were unpaved or surfaced with oyster shell or cinders. A 600-ton deep water well south of Washington Avenue serviced the camp, producing over 1 million gallons of water per day.

Memorial park Archaeology 2

“The thing that surprises us is how little you will hear or read about Camp Logan in any of the books dedicated to Houston’s history,” says Linda Gorski of Houston Archeological Society, “Most of the residents of River Oaks have no idea that Camp Logan extended across Buffalo Bayou and that horses and men paraded on grounds that are now their front yards.”

Little was recorded about Camp Logan so historians and archaeologists Louis Aulbach and Linda Gorski have been piecing the history back together from archaeology work conducted in Memorial Park, postcards from soldiers and maps.

They will present this unique story of Houston history at the Houston Museum of Natural Science on November 4 at 6:30 p.m. This lecture is sponsored by the Houston Archeological Society. Following the lecture Aulbach and Gorski will sign copies of their newly published book “Camp Logan: Houston, Texas 1917-1919.”

This presentation will be a tribute to the soldiers who trained at Camp Logan—including nine Medal of Honor winners and seventy one African American soldiers who won the French Croix de Guerre. Visit www.hmns.org/lectures for more information. Advance tickets are available online and at 713.639.4629.

Memorial park Archaeology 3

Historians Linda Gorski and Louis Aulbach on Buffalo Bayou near Memorial Park.

Quick, To The Bat Cave: Four Reasons to Celebrate Bats This Week

This week is an important week for the winged mammals!

  1. The Rafinesque’s big-eared bat is making its debut in the new Farish Hall of Texas Wildlife at HMNS (Hint: you have to look up to find it)
  2. Houston’s Batgirl Dr. Cullen Geiselman is speaking at HMNS about what makes bats so important on October 27 (More info below.)
  3. Halloween is the battiest holiday around!
  4. An epic move to help conserve the world’s largest bat colony will also take place on October 31.

Over 15 million Mexican free-tailed bats make their summer home at the Bracken Cave outside of San Antonio—making Bracken Cave the largest concentration of mammals on Earth.

Bracken Cave Bat Emergence video: 

The City of San Antonio, Bat Conservation International (BatCon) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) partnered to protect the habitat Bracken’s bats have used for thousands of years from land developers. Read more about the conservation plan from the San Antonio News and BatCon.

Dr. Cullen Geiselman has studied various species of bats all over the world. She is Vice Chair of the BatCon board and a former staff member. To help celebrate these mosquito-eating machines, join us on Monday at HMNS for Dr. Geiselman’s bat talk.

Amy Bats

Bats: The Night Shift
Cullen Geiselman, Ph.D., Bat Conservation International
Houston Museum of Natural Science, Wortham Giant Screen Theatre
Monday, October 27, 6:30 p.m.

Bats have radiated into almost every habitat on Earth, bringing with them their important ecological responsibilities. Their great diversity of feeding strategies is a testament to the adaptability of these nocturnal animals and reveals their important roles they play within ecosystems. Bat researcher Dr. Cullen Geiselman will discuss the great variety of bats, including the 38 species in Texas of which eight call Houston home.

For more information and tickets, visit www.hmns.org/lectures.

This lecture is cosponsored by Rice University’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, and included in their course Biodiversity: A Wildlife and Ecosystem Necessity.

Learn more about Dr. Geiselman in “Adventures of Cullen Geiselman, Batgirl” by Lisa Gray, Houston Chronicle, July 26.