Nevermind the Titanosaure, you can touch a Meteorite in the Natural History Museum

Billions of years ago, an early planet orbiting the Sun was shattered, perhaps in collision with another protoplanet. The fragment now known as the Willamette meteorite was probably part of the planet’s iron-nickel core.

Thousands of years ago, this meteorite, traveling some 64.000 kilometres per hour, crashed into Earth’s surface.

Over many centuries, rainwater interacting its iron sulfide deposits produced sulfuric acid, which slowly etched and carved large cavities.

Only about 600 of the 25.000 meteorites found on Earth are made of iron. The material was created deep inside stars, which produce energy by fusing lighter elements into heavier ones – for example hydrogen into helium. 

Touching it is warmly encouraged.

The 15.5-ton Willamette Meteorite

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An influx of knowledge that raises even more questions; like, how to find out how much you weigh on the Moon:

Weight on the moon conversion formula

Or, you can go on this scale:

20,9 pounds equals almost 9,5 kilos (no diet necessary on the Moon…)

Learning is fun at the American Museum of Natural History
Upper West Side, Manhattan

November 13th, 2016

Natural History Course

Walking through the immensity of the Museum of Natural History, in Upper West Side. Every room another wonder of our Cosmos.

Megaloceros

Megaloceros (Greek: μεγάλος – megalos + κέρας – keras, meaning “Great Horn”) may be the largest deer ever to have lived. It belongs to the group called artiodactyls (Greek: άρτιος – ártios + δάκτυλος – dáktylos, meaning ‘even finger/toe’) – hoofed mammals that usually have an even number of toes. Generally, only male artiodactyls have antlers. In living deer, they are used during the mating season for wrestling with other males and attracting females. Then, they are shed. This means that Megaloceros regrew its enormous antlers every year!

Stenomylus hitchcocki

Stenomylus (Greek στενός – stenos “narrow” and μύλος – milos [latin: mola] “molar” meaning ”narrow tooth”. This group of camel skeletons was buried in dune sand in western Nebraska 22 million years ago. These individuals are only some of the numerous completely preserved camel skeletons that were found together at a site in Agate Springs National Monument. Stenomylus lived in a region where dune fields extended widely. It was relatively primitive in its body skeleton, but had the more advanced feature of very high-crowned teeth – presumably to cope with sand-laden food, which rapidly wears down the teeth. 

If I understood correctly, ”hitchcocki” was added in honour of Dr. Edward Hitchcock, a geologist and President of Amherst College, whose Ichnology Collection of dinosaur footprints and tracks is invaluable (read more about it here).

 

Mammuthus

Mammoths were widespread during the Ice Ages. Some had woolly fur to keep them warm. This is a ”non-woolly” mammoth that lived in southern parts of the United States, which were not covered by glaciers. Like living elephants, Mammoths had trunks. We can’t see it on this skeleton, because soft parts are rarely preserved as fossils. But we can see where the trunk was attached, at the large single opening high on the front of the skull. The Greek myth of one-eyed giants, the Cyclops, may have arisen when ancient people found fossil provoscidean skulls and mistook this nostril opening for an eye socket. Most mammoths died out by 11.000 years ago but a few somewhat dwarfed forms persisted until about 3.000 years ago on remote arctic islands.

Titanosauria
(click on photo for a panoramic view and caption)

This stuffed beauty
(although I instinctively dislike stuffed animals)

Creatures of the sea hanging in mid-air
And those that came from the cold

American Museum of Natural History

November 13th, 2016

Initiation ~

~ to the wonderful world of Broadway.

A quiet start, none of the big musical productions of which I am not a big fan anyway, but with The Humans; a play that has now completed two very successful rounds off- and on Broadway, so much so that a national tour has been announced for November 2017.

It is about a family from Pennsylvania, visiting their younger daughter and her boyfriend on Thanksgiving Day. The kids live in an old semi-basement apartment in Lower Manhattan, complete with loud neighbours, weird noises, electricity and plumping systems that had seen better days – long time ago.

Most of us have been involved in similar situations (minus the Lower Manhattan apartment) some time in our lives, with a family drama unfolding within a few hours around a dinner table. Perhaps that’s what makes this play so successful, besides the beautiful playwriting (by Stephen Karam), excellent staging (by Joe Mantello) and fine performances by the entire cast: the fact that we can all relate to any number of people, funny or awkward situations, acidic conversations, emotional reconciliations, fragile human relations, at any given point during the play.

Schoenfeld Theatre
236 West 45th Street
New York

November 9th, 2016