Day 180: Visit a dino lab

March 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’ve taken more field trips in graduate school than I did throughout all of undergrad. Today we went to Paul Sereno’s lab at the University of Chicago, a paleontologist who has been featured in National Geographic, and in 1997 was named one of People magazine’s 50 most beautiful people (according to Wikipedia). Here are some of the awesome things we saw:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the photos above is the arm of a T-Rex. Check out the closeup of his claws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On top is a fossil of the head of a giant alligator, similar to the one depicted in the horror movie Lake Placid. Below is a model to show how big they would’ve been.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The girl who gave us a tour was an artist who specialized in recreating dinosaur skin, such as on the models above. On the left is a Raptorex, who we were told has skin like an elderly person. She used split peas to make a bumpy green texture on the dinosaur on the right.

Most of Sereno’s fossils have been found in Niger, where he conducts digs in the middle of a desert for months at a time. It sounds like a really interesting career. Overall, it was a super cool way to spend a class. Now I’m determined to someday take a journalistic expedition with a paleontologist.

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