The Coal Age Galapagos

The sea cliffs at Joggins, Nova Scotia are a thing to behold – kilometers of gently inclined, layer-cake geology recording thousands of years of a Carboniferous coal swamp’s ebb and flow. It’s a hugely important place scientifically and historically, as it influenced Lyell’s ideas about stratigraphy and geology, and Darwin’s ideas about evolution. It’s often called the “Coal Age Galapagos” because its significance for understanding Carboniferous palaeoecology was akin to the Galapagos for Darwin’s work. It is a cool place to visit, and I got to join Hillary Maddin‘s team from Carleton for a few days earlier this June! In the photo above, Hillary is pointing out some of the lycopod trees that remain upright in the cliff. Follow her arm and you’ll see a great example at about 1:30 underneath the top shadowy layer. All told, we saw about 25 of these along the cliffs during our time there. Continue reading

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The Mysterious Fathoms Below

Meet Blue, one of nine blue whales that perished in thick sea ice off the coast of Newfoundland in 2014. Two of these whales washed ashore, and the ROM team salvaged the body that landed at Trout River. After years of preparation, Blue’s skeleton is now part of an amazing exhibition all about the biology, history, and conservation of whales. After a great video introduction to Trout River, and stories about how the ROM collected such a massive specimen, we’re treated to a dramatic view of Blue’s real skeleton. In the background, huge video projections of living blue whales swim by. Continue reading

Zuul makes an appearance at #FNLROM!

Zuul made its first public debut at the ROM last week for the DinoNite Friday Night Live!

David and I had a wonderful time chatting about Zuul with probably about 300 people over the course of the evening. Palaeo lab technicians Ian Morrison and Brian Iwama created a beautiful mounted cast of Zuul‘s skull and jaws (so the original could remain safe and sound back in our collections spaces) – it’s so good you can hardly tell it’s not the original fossil! Continue reading