I'm a museum educator with an eye for paleontology, science history, animals and the occasional bit of pop culture nonsense. My long-winded blog is here.



Photo of the Day: Iguana Encounter
Photo by Lorenzo Mittiga (Kralendijk, Bonaire, Netherlands); Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands


Photo of the Day: Iguana Encounter

Photo by Lorenzo Mittiga (Kralendijk, Bonaire, Netherlands); Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands

Meet a Mount: Lane the Triceratops

Taxon: Triceratops horridus

Specimen Number: BHI 6220

Year Created: 2012

Dimensions: 25 feet long

In 2002, a Black Hills Institute team retrieved the Triceratops known as “Lane” from private land near Lusk, Wyoming – the same area where Charles Sternberg found the classic “mummified” Edmontosaurus in 1908. Like the Edmontosaurus, Lane was found with fossilized impressions of skin and other integument covering large portions of its body. Surprisingly, this specimen revealed that Triceratops was almost certainly adorned with sizable quills or spines, which were spread evenly across its back and haunches.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science purchased the Lane skeleton and integument impressions, both of which have been on display in the museum’s enormous (30,000 square feet!) Hall of Paleontology since 2012. Exhibit curator Robert Bakker specifically instructed the BHI team to mount Lane in an energetic trotting pose. With two feet off the ground and its forelimbs held erect and under its body, the Lane mount exudes speed and strength - and is a far cry from the sprawling AMNH Triceratops. At 85% complete, Lane is the single most intact Triceratops found to date. Nevertheless, a full description of the specimen and its skin impressions has not yet been published.


Thanks to all you awesome people, it looks like I passed 300 followers recently! Here’s a random museum dinosaur from my hard drive:

That’s “Gorgeous George” the Daspletosaurus in the lobby of the Field Museum circa 1960, in a spot now occupied by Sue the T. rex. While I’m at it, here’s George in his new digs upstairs and Sue holding court in the lobby.



10 photos of Galapagos tortoises chowing down. Just because.

I have never eaten food that made me as happy as those tortoises are.

Except once, and it was thin sliced golden beets stuffed with goat cheese in pomegranate molasses and I actually snarled at the waiter like an animal when he tried to take the plate away afterwards.

So what I’m saying is be very careful trying to take those pumpkins away from those tortoises, even if you think the tortoise is totally done, because bitch, you do not KNOW.


ANOTHER ANATOMY POST! Only three vertebrate groups have successfully evolved flight: Birds, Bats, and Pterosaurs, which are NOT dinosaurs, and are an extremely diverse group of reptiles! Pterodactyl is not the only one. However, birds ARE dinosaurs. Avian dinosaurs!

Wings are not some extra structure you tack on to a creature and somehow the arms go away— they ARE arms. Think about that when you are designing creatures with wings and also giving them arms. That means your creature has six limbs.

Next anatomy post: The anatomy and evolution of DRAGONS. If you guys have any requests, feel free to send them in!

Museums and the Triceratops Posture Problem - Part 2


About Dinosaur 13…


Dinosaur 13  is a powerful and surprisingly moving documentary about the debacle surrounding Sue the T. rex. It’s important story to tell, if only to make sure the mistakes made are not made again. And I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone speak about the emotional aspect of finding and caring for a fossil quite so poignantly. 

That said, the film almost completely avoids the inherent problems with commercial fossil collection, and badly misrepresents commercial collectors’ relationship with academic paleontologists. I’ll be the first to say that the Black Hills Institute and the Larsons have done some terrific work (making affordable Stan the T. rex replicas available for museums worldwide, for example), but you can’t sugarcoat the fact that collecting fossils for profit is fundamentally against the interests of paleontology as science.

The film only deals with this controversy for about 60 seconds, but there’s one particularly absurd line which alleges that academics took over paleontology in the 70s and have been trying to muscle out the free-market competition ever since. This is nonsense. In the early 20th century, paleontology was largely about collecting cool trophies, and valuable data was literally dynamited away. The rise of academic paleontology changed it into a legitimate, data-driven science. Today, paleontologists give us valuable insight into how the world we know came to be…we’ve come a long way from just being about a parade of dead curiosities. Unfortunately, commercial fossil collecting brings back the trophy-hunting mentality. The high price tag of Sue in particular has inspired legions of fossil poachers with far fewer scruples than the Larsons to loot public lands in search for their own $8 million payday. Every fossil collected and sold as a trophy is a major loss to science, to public museums, and to all of us.

I did enjoy the film, and I think it provides a much-needed look into the political realities of paleontology. I only wish the filmmakers had taken a wider view of the events it covers.



Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton in the AMNH in New York.
And also the skulls of a T-rex and an Albertosaurus, another tyrannosaurid.
As you probably realize, this is next to the Allosaurus skeleton and in front of the Apatosaurus one.

Un Tiranosaurio Rex en el Museo Americano de Historia Natural.
Con él los cráneos de otro T-rex y un Albertosaurus, otro tiranosáurido.
Como quizás hayan notado, esta exhibición está al lado del esqueleto de Allosaurus y en frente del Apatosaurus.

Again I need to go to the museum so badly!!! Jeeeez Cant wait to see my favorite dinosaur again And that sketch day sounds better and better each day!