Care of Magical Creatures

The University of Alberta is currently hosting an exhibit called Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine, in the John W. Scott Health Sciences Library. Let’s Talk Science, a Canadian science outreach organization with a U of A chapter, was asked to organize ‘classes’ for a Harry Potter-themed science day, so my good friend Scott Persons and I put together “Care of Magical Creatures”. You may think it would be hard to mix magic and mythology with science, but we were pretty happy with how much natural history education we were able to convey over the course of the day. For those interested in science outreach and education, here’s how to do your own Care of Magical Creatures class. You might be surprised by the results!

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Let it snow…

Well it’s a balmy -37C windchill here today (but just -27C without, so it’s not so bad! right?), and wonderfully snowy, and what do you know but there’s an article about our day in Dinosaur Provincial Park last December.

You can read Ed Struzik’s complementary (and complimentary) pieces in the Edmonton Journal:

Science rewrites assumptions about prehistoric animals.”

and

Dinosaur hunter Phil Currie shows no sign of slowing down.” This one features a nice video of us preparing the Daspletosaurus jacket for the helicopter lift, and the helicopter lift itself.

Houston Museum of Natural Science

On my way home from Buenos Aires I had an eleven hour layover in Houston. Having just about exhausted the entertainment potential of the Houston airport on my nine hour layover on the way down, and feeling quite confident that there was no way I could stay awake the whole time if I stayed in the airport, I decided to venture in to Houston to poke around for the day. I managed to visit the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Houston Zoo, which are both located in the immensely pleasant Hermann Park.

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Birds at the Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales

After finishing up with the dinosaur hall at the Buenos Aires natural history museum, I was pleasantly surprised to find more dinosaurs when I headed upstairs. I can’t recall a time where I’ve actually seen dinosaurs in the bird gallery – often the dinosaur story ends with the origin of birds, but when the birds are on display it’s usually more about extant bird diversity and conservation. So it was really nice to see the origin of birds explained right at the very beginning of this exhibit. Continue reading