Quite wonderfully, I had the chance to visit the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto a few weeks ago. The amazing museum boasts more than 6 million artifacts and about 40 galleries of art, archaeology, and natural science. Being the science enthusiast that I am, I went straight to the dinosaur exhibit (half real, half produced). They were absolutely amazing – I could not help but wonder what the animals looked like when they were around — a tantalizing reminder of the different world that the Earth once was.
First up was the Lambeosaurus, which is a late-Cretacious period herbivore dinosaur (lived about 76-74 million years ago). Very unique headgear.
Albertosaurus (found in Alberta), a fearsome Cretaceous predator built for speed and agility that lived during the late Cretacious period (about 76-74 million years ago)
Quetzalcoatlus – the largest pterosaur that ever lived. It lived during the late Cretaceous period (70-65 million years ago). To me that was the weirdest of them all – a scavenging flying lizard?
Giant sea turtle from a Cretaceous North American sea
Immense Jurassic dinosaur
Oviraptorosaurs (from Creatacious Asia and North America, about130-65 million years ago) – were toothless but had well-developed jaw musculature. They have some really obvious skeletal similarities with extant birds (not known with certainty if they were actually capable of flight). They also had feathers.
Solnhofen limestone – a much acclaimed fossil deposit (deposited in salty lagoons 150 milion years ago) that has yielded an amazing diversity of fossilized late Jurassic organisms; provides soft tissue impressions of jellyfish, squid, crab, and shrimp.
Jurassic sea stuff
Age of the Mammals
Mars Rocks and Meteorites from the Moon
ACTUAL rocks from Mars — The result of meteorite impacts that resulted in rocks being blown off the Martian surface and crossing the orbit of our planet to eventually fall as meteorites.
NWA 5298 shown here had been part of a lava flow on Mars some 200 million years ago and was launched towards Earth 20 million years ago. The amazing collection also included meteorites from the moon!
This is just a smaller fragment of a much larger metro rite that hit Earth about 50,000 years ago in Arizona. At the moment of impact, it was estimated to have been 50 metres in diameter, weighing 150,000 tonnes, and and traveling at 12 km/s. It released as much energy as 2.5 megatonnes of TNT, blasting a crater 1700 metres wide and 170 metres deep!!
I very much enjoyed my visit to the Royal Ontario Museum. It was like a mirror into the past.