I was lucky enough to be invited to the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology by my friend (and curator of the museum), Dr. Andy Farke. Located in Claremont, California, it is just a quick train ride away from the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meetings happening this week in Los Angeles.
Dinosaur Joe, if you haven't heard, is a baby Parasaurolophus--a type of duck-billed dinosaur with a tube-like crest on its head. It's ultra cool for several reasons:
1. It is a pretty complete specimen.
2. It's young, so it teaches us how the species matured (the baby dino has the beginnings of a crest on its head!).
3. It was passed over by seasoned paleontologists as a non-important bit of bone. It was a high school student that drew their attention to it so that the discovery could actually be made.
And that's what's really sets the Alf Museum apart from anyone else: their work with high schoolers. They are located on the campus of the Webb Schools--an international boarding school for grades 9-12--and often take in students to assist in the lab, in research, and out on digs. It's a great opportunity for students, and obviously a great opportunity for the museum! Without these students, Dinosaur Joe may have never been found.
If you ever get a chance to swing by the area, make sure to stop in. You won't be let down (unlike the poor T. rex below).
|Mammals' gotta eat, right?|