Thanks to the readers of my blog, I got to go to the Field Museum in Chicago for my birthday. I took an airplane there.
I stayed at a hotel downtown. In this picture I'm looking out the window at all the huge buildings and people and cars. On the window there was a sticker that said, "Due to a higher than normal insect population, we recommend keeping the windows closed." We kept the windows closed.
I got to the Field Museum at 5:30 pm and waited to check in and stay overnight. Once we checked in, we put our sleeping bags down in the Cambrian area of the Evolving Planet exhibit. After that, we looked around in Evolving Planet.
|In front of the What is an Animal? exhibit|
I saw some fossils of Ordovician coral and also one fossil of a huge orthocone nautiloid which was probably about three feet long.
Here I'm pointing at an illustration of a Devonian lake with Eusthenopteron, Bothriolepis, a tetrapod in the background, and fish that I think are possible acanthodians.
This is the jawless fish exhibit. In the middle is my favorite one, a huge Drepanaspis fossil. There are also two tiny Tenaspis headshields, which look kind of like Bothriolepis without the arms or the jaws.
This was a huge Dunkleosteus head shield that was even bigger than the one I saw at the Smithsonian. I slept right next to it because it turned out there was a glowing exit sign in the Cambrian exhibit. But I didn't mind sleeping next to Dunkleosteus! And I was close to a fossil of a huge Orodus shark that was approximately 25 feet long in life. There were also fossils of Stethacanthus, Symorium, Helicoprion, and Bandringa.
Here are the fossils of Helicoprion (on the right), Bandringa (in the middle), and Stethacanthus (on the left). Helicoprion lived from the Carboniferous to the Triassic, Bandringa lived in the Carboniferous Mazon Creek, and Stehacanthus lived from the late Devonian to the early Carboniferous.
I saw one of the only known fossils of Tiktaalik, a bizarre tetrapod-like fish...
...and the boomerang-shaped skull of Diplocaulus, a strange amphibian from the late Carboniferous and early Permian.
I really liked the Carboniferous Forest section of Evolving Planet. The most obvious thing there besides the plants was the four foot long Arthropleura on the floor. There were insect noises coming from up in the "trees." There was also a real fossil of Arthropleura cristata.
One of my favorite things in the whole museum was a pregnant ray,
Part 2: My amazing behind-the-scenes tour of the collections room!
A million thanks to: Paul Mayer, Jane Hanna, University of Chicago Secular Student Alliance, Stephen & Kayla & Greta, Casey, Mike, Dave Monroe, PZ Myers, and the 72 incredible people who pitched in to help fund our trip to the Field Museum.