Christina and I are in New Haven, Connecticut this week for an iDigBio workshop, part of our work for the NSF-funded fossil insect digitization project. This evening there was an opening reception at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, and we arrived a bit early so we could look at the exhibits. The life-size Torosaurus sculpture in front of the museum set the right tone (above).
There was more than just the sculpture. Inside was a rare example of Torosaurus‘ massive skull:
There are several skulls of Torosaurus‘ better-known relative Triceratops on display nearby:
Yale’s Apatosaurus skeleton (the one that used to be called Brontosaurus) dominates the dinosaur hall:
Yale also has an iconic specimen of the giant Cretaceous sea turtle Archelon, which famously had its right hind flipper bitten off while the turtle was alive. It’s hard to appreciate how big a 12-foot-long turtle really is until it’s towering over you!
There were also numerous interesting mammal skeletons on display. I was especially intrigued with the Eocene proboscidean (elephant relative) Moeritherium. I had seen Moeritherium skulls in other museums, but not the postcranial skeleton, and I was surprised at how small it was.
I’ve had ground sloths on my mind a lot lately, so here’s a nice skeleton of Nothrotheriops:
The Peabody is a nice museum to visit as a paleontologist, as many of these are the types or the first known relatively complete examples of a lot of well-known animals. It’s especially nice for a paleontologist of my generation, as many of these skeletons were the basis for the reconstructions of fossil animals that were popular when I was growing up. And, as a final plug, the Peabody is a member of ASTC, which means that you get free admission with your VMNH membership.