|Clash of the titans.|
The first of these is the impressive Terror of the South dome, which is probably fair to call the museum's centrepiece exhibit. The other is the Nature Research Center, which opened a few years ago as a new wing to the museum, so it was totally new to me on this visit. All photos were taken by yours truly, click the break to continue...
Ah, NCSM 14345, a fossil mount so familiar to dinosaur fans, one of - if not the - most awe-inspiring, beautiful theropod dinosaur specimens in the world. NCSM 14345 (or 'Acro' as it's nicknamed in the museum) is the go-to specimen of Acrocanthosaurus atokensis, a predatory carcharodontosaur ('landshark') dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous. It's the most complete and largest specimen of Acrocanthosaurus ever found (about 11.5 m long, and in life it probably would've weighed over 6 tonnes) and prior to its discovery in the 1990s in the Antlers Formation of Oklahoma, Acrocanthosaurus was a poorly-known animal whose relations to other theropods were mysterious.
|'My, Acrocanthosaurus, what tall neural spines you have!'|
'All the better to confound my phylogenetic relationships
when based on inadequate remains, my dear!'
And then Acrocanthosaurus gobbled him up.
|Astrodon makes a face appropriate for having|
a bite taken out of your thigh. Also, my dad is
in this picture. Hi, dad.
The sauropod model allows a pretty big degree of motion around it, which led to me taking this rather neatly-framed picture from in between its forelimbs. Even though Astrodon is a 'small' sauropod, its size is still truly impressive, and from this vantage point it is easy to image just how incredible and threatening a smackdown between predator and prey on this scale would be - two animals the size of bull elephants circling each other, knowing full well that each is powerful enough to do the other deadly harm...
|One of my favourite photos that I've taken.|
|I got legs... that won't QUIT!|
|Some other leg joke, maybe?|
|If the rest of its body was there, the museum would've needed a bigger exhibit.|
|Note the big, tall-crowned molars, very handy for chopping up twigs and leaves.|
|Partial mastodon skull from North Carolina.|
|It is believed Kyptoceras defened itself from|
predators by using its nose horn as a slingshot.
|Cast of a small sample of Edmontosaurus |
skin in the Naturalist Center.