Fowl Forensics: The Hips Don’t Lie

living_turkey

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

In the old days, paleontologists classified dinosaurs into two general groups: The Ornithischian, or “Bird-hipped” and the Saurischian, or “lizard-hipped” dinosaurs. As the names suggest, the Ornithischians had hip-structures similar to modern birds and the saurischians had hips structures similar to lizards. Although modern paleontologists have been able to distinguish many more precise divisions within the dinosaur family, these two broad groups still represent an important division in the evolution of dinosaurs.

But which of these groups do you think that turkey sitting on your table evolved from…..?

As it turns out, birds descend from Saurischian dinosaurs! Over time, their hip structure evolved to look like their more distant Ornithischian cousins. This is called convergent evolution: when two species evolve similar physical traits without actually being close relatives.

 

Ornithischian pelvis: Pubis points backwards (like in modern birds)

ornithischia_pelvis_structure-svg

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

 

Triceratops

Triceratops is an Ornithischian Dinosaur. Interesting fact: all Ornithischian Dinosaurs were herbivores.

 

Saurischian pelvis: Pubis points forward

saurischia_pelvis_structure-svg

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

 

t rex & struthio

T-rex was a Saurischian dinosaur. Most Saurischinas were carnivores, but not all. Sauropods are Saurischians.

 

 

Big or Small, All Donations Matter #GivingTuesday

givingtuesday_60016This month we are celebrating #GivingTuesday by sharing stories of all the wonderful people who donate their time and money to continuing HMNS’ mission of furthering Science Education. Faith donated the profits from her lemonade stand to help us out, this is what she has to say about it.

If you are interested in more information on what you can do to help HMNS out, check out our Giving Tuesday page

And if you are interested in giving to HMNS this holiday season, here is a link to our donations page

 

 

And here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Question: Faith, what is it that you did for the museum?

Answer: Well first I donated money in my sister’s name, Cecilia, and also me and my cousins raised a lemonade stand and I wanted to donate to the museum, and then my cousin wanted to donate to butterflies and my mom was like “Hey that’s perfect! Why don’t you donate to the museum?” and I wanted to give the money to the museum.

So, she posted it on Facebook and then we went to people’s doors that were close to our house and asked if they wanted to come get some lemonade and we got some lemonade from the grocery store  and then we put out some cups and some lemonade and a little water bottle for tips and we donated the money.

Question: Why did you donate the money you earned to the museum?

Answer: Because I like all of the things here, I like when they have expeditions and new exhibits… I like coming here to see the dinosaurs and I really like to see the animal exhibits upstairs.

Question:What is your favorite dinosaur and why is it your favorite?

Answer: T-rex, because it’s really the dinosaur everyone knows, it’s the king of the dinosaurs and my favorite type of dinosaurs are Therapods

Question: What would you tell other people who are interested in helping out HMNS?

Answer: Just probably raise money or give your money to the place that you like.

Swifter than eagles! Stronger than lions!*

 

griffons1

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, 1971; AOL Time Warner

Nope, not the *Hsawaknow but extraordinary beasts instead, arising from where the fantastical and the wondrous collide.

 

Some animals are so exotic that their initial discovery is difficult to comprehend. Stories of griffins, dragons and more may seem like tall tales to us today, but most mythical beasts actually have a basis in reality. People who unearthed odd bones and stones often relied on religious and cultural stories to explain what they had uncovered.

 

Griffins
More than two thousand years ago, gold miners sought their fortunes in the vast Gobi Desert. These miners were Scythians—nomadic people among the earliest to master mounted warfare. Relying on their accounts, Greek writers reported that in the sweltering heat of the desert, the miners battled the mighty griffin—a fierce half-eagle, half-lion hybrid that ferociously guarded extravagant treasures of gold. Because the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle the king of birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature.

 

griffons2

Joannes Jonstonus (1603-1675). Historiae Naturalis; Griffon (Tab. 62); 1657. (590 J73 vol. 2)

 

Classical folklorist and historian Adrienne Mayor, Ph.D. argues that the many similarities between Protoceratops dinosaur fossils and griffins indicate that the mythic creature likely originated from ancient paleontological observations.

The Greeks and Romans developed sophisticated concepts to explain the fossil evidence, concepts that were expressed in mythological stories.

 

griffons3Protoceratops. Mick Ellison/American Museum of Natural History

 

Dragons

Dragons are among the most popular and enduring of the world’s mythological creatures. These fabulous creatures of classical mythology continue to live in the modern imagination. Dragon tales are known in many cultures, and they populate our books, films, and television shows, shown as playful to fearsome.

A variety of creatures’ remains have been said to belong to dragons. With their enormous size, reptilian shape and threatening teeth and claws, some dragons might easily be taken for cousins of Tyrannosaurus rex. The fossil remains of extinct animals have sometimes been taken for dragon bones—and helped perpetuate old dragon stories.

 

griffons5

Falkor, Toothless, Drogon, Smaug

 

Fossils of lepidodendron (an ancient tree-like plant) have also been exhibited as dragon skins, even as recent as 1851, when pieces found were said to be of the body of a gigantic fossil serpent.

“The idea that impressive fossils played a role in how people of the past imagined monsters and giants has been influential on several surprising fronts. People now realize that in fossiliferous lands, the bizarre bones of extinct creatures could help to explain dragon imagery” writes Dr. Mayor.

 

griffons6Black Country Museum

… and more!

Join Dr. Adrienne Mayor of Stanford University and HMNS on October 20 for a paleomythology lecture on Mythological Beasts: Dragons, Griffins – and Dinosaurs? and a fun-filled Family Talk October 22 on The Griffin and the Dinosaur. Book signing of The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times and The Griffin and the Dinosaur: How Adrienne Mayor Discovered a Fascinating Link Between Myth and Science will follow both programs. Sponsored by AIA, Houston Society with support by KPMG.

HMNS Weekly Update

Frankenweenie (2012)

 

Friday, October 14 | 7:15 p.m. | Members: $4 | Tickets: $5

 
Frankenweenie
Young Victor conducts a science experiment to bring his beloved dog Sparky back to life, only to face unintended, sometimes monstrous, consequences.
 
 

BTS – Mummies of the World: The Exhibition

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October 18, 2016 at  6:00pm

Mummies of the World: The Exhibition presents a collection of mummies from Europe, South America and ancient Egypt-some 4,500 years old.

 

Go behind-the-scenes and learn about mummies and mummification through state-of-the-art multimedia, interactive stations and 3D animation, highlighting advances in the scientific methods used to study mummies, including computed tomography (CT), ancient DNA analysis and radiocarbon dating, all of which allows us to know who these mummified individuals were, where they came from and where they lived.

 

Among the mummies on display are the Vac Mummies, an entire mummified family from Hungary believed to have died from tuberculosis; the Burns Collection, a group of medical mummies used to teach anatomy in the early 19th century; an Egyptian priest named Nes-Hor who suffered from arthritis and a broken left hip; Egyptian animal mummies including a falcon, fish, dog and baby crocodile, many of which were deliberately preserved to accompany royals for eternity; and MUMAB, the first replication of Egyptian mummification done on a body in 2,800 years.

 

Coming Soon!

Lecture – Family Talk – The Griffin and the Dinosaur

Podoke attack! A ten-foot long podokesaur predator menaces the thin-necked herbivore Anchisaurus. Early Jurassic, Massachussetts, somewhere near Amherst College. 

Podoke attack! A ten-foot long podokesaur predator menaces the thin-necked herbivore Anchisaurus. Early Jurassic, Massachussetts, somewhere near Amherst College.

 

Exciting stories about griffins, dragons, sea monsters and giants have been told for thousands of years. Were they real? What is the truth? Children’s author Dr. Adrienne Mayor of Stanford University reveals some suprising secrets connecting fossils with fabulous creatures of myth.

October 22, 2016 at 9:00am

Suggested for grades 6-12 and adults.

Cosponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America Houston Society.

Tickets $5

 

Lecture – Future Humans by Scott Solomon

evolution astronaut

Drawing on fields from genomics to medicine and the study of our microbiome, evolutionary biologist Dr. Scott Solomon draws on the explosion of discoveries in recent years to examine the future evolution of our species. But how will modernization—including longer lifespans, changing diets, global travel and widespread use of medicine and contraceptives—affect our evolutionary future? Surprising insights, on topics ranging from the rise of online dating and Cesarean sections to the spread of diseases such as HIV and Ebola, suggest that we are entering a new phase in human evolutionary history—one that makes the future less predictable and more interesting than ever before.

 

Solomon of Rice University will present an entertaining review of the latest evidence of human evolution in modern times. Join us at HMNS this evening which is the book launch event for the new book is “Future Humans: Inside the Science of Our Continuing Evolution.”

This event is co-sponsored by the Baker Institute’s Civic Scientist Program.

October 25,2016 at 6:30pm

Tickets $18, Members $12