NSF Summer Research Experience for STEM Teachers in Comparative Biomechanics, Paleontology and Evolution

Inside_Dinosaurs_RET 2016Research Experience for STEM Teacher position is available at the University of Missouri Integrative Anatomy program for the summer of 2016. The teacher will design and conduct studies that explore the anatomy and biomechanics of birds, dinosaurs, and crocodilians as part of the NSF-sponsored Inside Dinosaurs program to better understand the evolution of vertebrate feeding biomechanics and the origins of avian cranial kinesis. The teacher will work under the supervision of Drs. Casey Holliday and Kevin Middleton, alongside postdocs, graduate students and undergraduates. We are particularly interested in teachers interested in helping translate research in biomechanics, vertebrate paleontology and bone biology into grade 6-12 classroom activities and/or web modules that foster the understanding of physics, biology and evolution in line with NGSS. The teacher will be involved in all components of their project as well as a variety of related projects being conducted in the department.

Candidates should be available for May 31-July 30th or thereabouts. We will provide parking and a stipend of $4000 for ~20/hrs a week for 8 weeks of the summer.

The ideal candidate should be interested in developing and promoting new curricular materials for local and online STEM students based on their experiences in the program. The position is renewable for 2 additional summers and resources are available to aid in dissemination of findings and materials at national conferences as well as the development of teacher workshops to test and evaluate the new curricular materials. Individuals should be creative, industrious, detail-oriented and comfortable working as part of a team. Experience in biology, anatomy, physiology, physics, mathematics, or geology is required. Experience with field, collections, or laboratory work in these areas is a plus but not necessary.

Application deadline: April 10, 2016

Applications should include: Contact information for two professional references, CV/resume and a one page statement that describes your interest in the position, goals and any previous research-teaching experiences.

Applications should be sent to Dr. Casey Holliday at hollidayca@missouri.edu with ‘2016 RET application” in the subject line. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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NSF Summer Research Experience in Comparative Biomechanics, Paleontology and Evolution

Inside_Dinosaurs REU 2016Research Experience for Undergraduate positions are available at the University of Missouri Integrative Anatomy program for the summer of 2016. THE REU students will design and conduct studies that explore the anatomy and biomechanics of birds, dinosaurs, and reptiles as part of the NSF-sponsored Inside Dinosaurs program to better understand the evolution of vertebrate feeding biomechanics and the origins of avian cranial kinesis. The REU students will work with a team of researchers under the supervision of Drs. Casey Holliday and Kevin Middleton. We are particularly interested in students interested in conducting projects in comparative biomechanics, vertebrate paleontology and skeletal tissue biology. The REU students will be involved in all components of their project as well as a variety of related projects being conducted by other researchers.

The REU students will join a broader summer internship program through the University of Missouri. In addition to a full-time faculty-mentored research experience, students engage in educational programming including professional development, topical small group seminars, 14 evening lectures given by University of Missouri faculty and staff, and social activities. All students participating in the Summer Program develop a research abstract and create a poster to present at the Summer Forum.

Candidates must be available for May 31-July 30th. We will provide transportation fees, room and board at University of Missouri dormitory and dining facilities, transportation fees, support for their research and a $3500 stipend.

The ideal candidate should be interested in pursuing a career in anatomy, paleontology or biomechanics, creative, industrious, detail-oriented and comfortable working as part of a research team. Experience with field, collections, or laboratory work in these areas is a plus but not necessary. Background or at least coursework in biology, anatomy, physiology, mathematics, or geology is required. To be eligible you must not have received your degree before January 2016.

Application deadline: March 1, 2016

Applications should include: copy of unofficial transcripts, contact information for two academic references, CV/resume and an one page statement that describes your interest in the REU position, academic goals and any previous research experiences.

Applications should be sent to Dr. Casey Holliday at hollidayca@missouri.edu with ‘2016 REU application” in the subject line. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

 

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Postdoctoral Fellow Position Open: Evolution of Dinosaur Jaw Musculature and the Origins of Avian Cranial Kinesis.

POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW POSITION Spring 2015

Position Details:

Project title: Evolution of Dinosaur Jaw Musculature and the Origins of Avian Cranial Kinesis. Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO.

The Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences at the University of Missouri School of Medicine invites applications for a postdoctoral research associate. The position is for one year and is renewable up to 3 years. The successful applicant will work under the supervision of Drs. Casey M. Holliday and Kevin M. Middleton on a National Science Foundation-funded program in 3D Cranial Biomechanics and Morphometrics. The position is 80% Research and 20% Outreach (allocation is negotiable) and offers a competitive salary plus benefits. Review of applications will begin March 1, 2015 and remain open until filled with an anticipated start date of August 1, 2015.

Responsibilities:

1) The candidate will work directly with PIs Holliday and Middleton to develop and conduct analyses of cranial biomechanics and morphometrics of fossil and extant dinosaur species. They will also interact with coPIs Julian Davis and Lawrence Witmer on occasion.

2) The candidate will help develop 3D anatomical and biomechanical visualizations and mobilize these data to appropriate online databases and outreach locations.

3) The candidate will present findings in collaboration with project leaders and associated students. The candidate will develop and participate in the Inside Dinosaurs education and outreach program at University of Missouri. Funds for research expenses and travel are available.

Qualifications

By the start date, all elements of the PhD, including the dissertation, must be completed and the degree conferred in biological, earth sciences, engineering or similar field, with an emphasis on vertebrate biomechanics and paleobiology.

Additional qualifications include demonstrated experience in one or more of the following: 3D computational biology, Morphometric analysis, and/or 3D anatomical visualization such as experience working with CT image data and with 3D model rendering software (Amira, Maya), MATLAB, and R; demonstrated experience managing personnel and leading research projects; and demonstrated ability to publish in English-language peer-reviewed journals.

Prefernce will be given to individuals with interests in morphology-based research and whose interests complement those of current faculty in the Integrative Anatomy group (http://anatomy.missouri.edu) will be given priority. The Integrative Anatomy Group provides a collegial environment with substantial opportunities for intellectual creativity and diverse research.

Application Materials

To apply please submit (1) cover letter including contact information for three references; (2) curriculum vitae; and (3) a research statement including previous experience and future plans

University of Missouri web site is hrs.missouri.edu/find-a-job/academic/.  At the top of the webpage, select ‘prospective employees’ and search for ‘pathology’ to reach the link for the position.  The Job ID number is 15786.

Benefit Eligibility

This position is eligible for University benefits. The University offers a comprehensive benefits package, including medical, dental and vision plans, retirement, and educational fee discounts.  For additional information on University benefits, please visit the Faculty & Staff Benefits website at http://www.umsystem.edu/totalrewards/benefits.

Equal Employment Opportunity

The University of Missouri is an equal access, equal opportunity, affirmative action employer that is fully committed to achieving a diverse faculty and staff. The university will recruit and employ qualified personnel and will provide equal opportunities during employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, status as a protected veteran or status as a qualified person with a disability. For more information, call the Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resource Services/Affirmative Action officer at 573-882-4256. To request ADA accommodations, please call the Director of Accessibility & ADA Education at 573-882-5835.

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Looking for a Postdoc Fall 2015

As part of our NSF grant on Avian Cranial Kinesis, we’ll be looking to fill a 3yr Postdoc at University of Missouri, Summer/Fall 2015.

The official ad won’t come out for a while, but any interested parties should contact me (Casey Holliday). I’ll be at SICB and EB/AAA this Spring to chat.

In general, we’re looking for someone with skills and interests to help develop 3D computational modeling, musculoskeletal biomechanics, morphometrics and 3D viz associated with testing patterns of skull form & function across phylogenies. Experience and vision with Strand7, Maya, Matlab, R, Avizo, and/or similar software packages is highly favorable. Some background in reptile and avian cranial anatomy is very helpful but not required.

Feel free to distribute widely.

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We’re Back

Poor neglected blog page! The lab is bustling!

1620531_10204546420236421_3261568282529368030_nSome big news: We’ve been funded by NSF to pursue a project on the biomechanical and evolutionary patterns underlying the origins of avian cranial kinesis. We’ll be developing a series of 3D computational, morphometric, and visualization tools to better understand the relationships between muscle forces, joint shape, loading, feeding function and cranial evolution along the line to birds. We’re collaborating with Kevin Middleton (Mizzou), Larry Witmer (Ohio University) and Julian Davis (University of Southern Indiana).

We’ve got 5 presentations at SICB 2015 in lovely West Palm Beach: sicb2_01

The Functional and Evolutionary Significance of the Crocodyliform Pterygomandibular Joint HOLLIDAY, CM*; SELLERS , KC; VICKARYOUS, MK; ROSS, CF; PORRO, LB; WITMER, LM; DAVIS, JL; University of Missouri; University of Missouri; University of Guelph; University of Chicago; Bristol University; Ohio University; University of Southern Indiana

More than one way to be a giant: convergence and disparity in saurischian dinosaur hip joints during body size evolution TSAI, H.P.*; MIDDLETON, K.M.; HOLLIDAY, C.M.; University of Missouri; University of Missouri; University of Missouri

Material properties of the mandibular symphysis in Alligator mississippiensis SMOLINSKY, AN*; MIDDLETON, KM; PFEIFFER, F; HOLLIDAY, CM; University of Missouri; University of Missouri; University of Missouri; University of Missouri

Ontogeny and complexity of the mandibular symphysis of crocodylians. JACOBY, MJ*; GANT, CA; SELLERS, KC; HOLLIDAY, CM;  University of Missouri-Columbia

Estimates of Three-Dimensional Cranial Joint Forces in the American Alligator SELLERS, KC*; DAVIS, JL; MONGALO, M; JACOBY, MJ; HOLLIDAY, CM; Univ. of Missouri; Univ. of Southern Indiana; Univ. of Missouri; Univ. of Missouri; Univ. of Missouri

 

Stay tuned for updates on a search for a postdoc and more.

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ICVM-10 Symposium on Reptile Skeletal Biology

ICVMInterested in the latest research on reptile development, biomechanics and evolution? Come to our symposium at the International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology in Barcelona next Tuesday (July 9, 2013). If not, be sure to catch some of the other outstanding talks held in the neighboring rooms. 

Symposium 7: Reptile Skeletal Biology: Investigations Into Tissue Morphology, Development, and Evolution

Organizers: Casey Holliday, University of Missouri; Matthew Vickaryous, University of Guelph

Reptiles are one of the most ancient and morphologically diverse radiations of tetrapods.  An important feature underpinning this diversity is the skeleton. While the reptilian skeleton has a long history of appreciation by palaeontologists, morphologists and ecologists, it is now emerging as an important model for many developmental and biomedical biologists.  Furthermore, the adoption of various cutting edge approaches in molecular, imaging, and experimental techniques is leading to major revisions and re-interpretations of several longstanding ideas.  This symposium will focus on exploring some of the most intriguing and fundamental questions in evolutionary developmental biology from a uniquely reptilian perspective.  Our participants will bring forward important advancements in the study of the origin and evolution of body plans, morphogenesis and regeneration, and physiology and functional morphology . The goal of our assembled international panel (including participants from Japan, Germany, UK, France, Canada and the US) is to provide a productive and collaborative forum to share, critique and exchange approaches, techniques and species-specific expertise.  Building on the recent publication of the Anolis genome and recent funding to complete the Alligator genome, reptilian biology is undergoing an unparalleled renaissance and our symposium will highlight the latest research using turtles, lepidosaurs, crocodylians, and their fossil ancestors.  ICVM-10 presents an exceptional opportunity to highlight this next generation of reptilian skeletal biology, and its ever growing potential for the broader study of development, evolution, and functional morphology.

09:30

S-036 SKELETAL REGENERATION FOLLOWING TAIL LOSS IN LIZARDS

Vickaryous, Matt; Coates, Helen; Delorme, Steph University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada

10:00

S-037 SQUAMATE VERTEBRAL HISTOLOGY AND MICROANATOMY -DEVELOPMENT AND EVOLUTION

Houssaye, Alexandra Steinmann Institut für Geologie, Paläontologie und Mineralogie, Universität Bonn, Bonn, Germany

10:30

S-038 COMPARATIVE SKULL MECHANICS OF THE LIZARDS TUPINAMBIS MERIANAE AND VARANUS ORNATUS

Gröning, Flora (1); Jones, Marc (2); Curtis, Neil (1); O’higgins, Paul (3); Evans, Susan (2); Fagan, Michael (1) (1) University of Hull, Hull, United Kingdom; (2) University College London, London, United Kingdom; (3) University of York, York, United Kingdom

11:00

S-039 A COMPARISON OF TURTLE AND CHICKEN ONTOGENY REVEALS THE BASIS FOR DIVERGENT HARD PALATE MORPHOLOGY

Richman, Joy; Abramyan, John; Leung, KelvinLife Sciences Centre, University of British Columbia, Canada

12:00

S-040 HOW DID ENAMEL MATRIX PROTEINS EVOLVE IN REPTILE TEETH AND ARE THEY PRESENT IN OSTEODERMS?

Sire, Jean-Yves (1); Gasse, Barbara (1); Silvent, Jérémie (1); Delgado, Sidney (1); Belheouane, Meriem (1); De Buffrénil, Vivian (2) (1) Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France; (2) Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris, France

12:30

S-041 DEVELOPMENTAL PLAN OF THE AMNIOTE SHOULDER GIRDLE AND ITS EVOLUTIONARY DIVERSITY

Nagashima, Hiroshi (1); Hirasawa, Tatsuya (2); Sugahara, Fumiaki (2); Takechi, Masaki (3); Sato, Noboru (1); Kuratani, Shigeru (2) (1) Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Niigata, Japan; (2) RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology, Kobe, Japan; (3) Iwate Medical University, Yahaba-cho, Japan

14:30

S-042 MORPHOLOGY AND FUNCTION OF THE REPTILE MANDIBULAR SYMPHYSIS

Holliday, Casey (1); Hieronymus, Tobin (2); Nesbitt, Sterling (3); Vickaryous, Matthew (4) (1) University of Missouri, Columbia, United States; (2) Northeastern Ohio Medical University, Kent, United States; (3) Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, United States; (4) University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada

15:00

S-043 DEVELOPMENT AND EVOLUTION OF MESOPODIALIZATION IN THE ICHTHYOSAURIAN LIMB SKELETON

Maxwell, Erin (1); Scheyer, TorstenM. (1); Fowler, Donald (2) (1) Universität Zürich, Paläontologisches Institut und Museum, Switzerland; (2) McGill University, Department of Biology, Canada

15:30

S-044 FRONTIERS IN THE EVOLUTION AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE REPTILIAN SKULL

Bhullar, Bhart-Anjan (1); Marugan-Lobon, Jesus (2); Racimo, Fernando (3); Bever, Gabe (4); Rowe, Timothy (5); Norell, Mark (6); Abzhanov, Arhat (1) (1) Harvard University, Cambridge, United States; (2) University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain; (3) University of California, Berkeley, United States; (4) New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, Old Westbury, United States; (5) The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, United States; (6) American Museum of Natural History, New York, United States

16:00

S-045 CONSERVATION OF PRIMAXIAL REGIONALIZATION IN THE EVOLUTION OF THE SNAKE BODY FORM INDICATES HOMOPLASY IN HOX GENE FUNCTION

Head, Jason (1); Polly, P.David (2) (1) University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, United States; (2) Indiana University, Bloomington, United States

17:00

S-046 IN VIVO CRANIAL BONE STRAINS DURING FEEDING IN THE LIZARDS TUPINAMBIS AND UROMASTYX

Porro, Laura (1); Ross, Callum (2); Herrel, Anthony (3); Evans, Susan (4); Fagan, Michael (5); O’Higgins, Paul (6) (1) University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom; (2) University of Chicago, Chicago, United States; (3) CNRS/Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France; (4) University College London, London, United Kingdom; (5) University of Hull, Hull, United Kingdom; (6) University of York, York, United Kingdom

 17:30

S-047 ARCHOSAUROMORPH BONE HISTOLOGY REVEALS EARLY EVOLUTION OF ELEVATED GROWTH AND METABOLIC RATES

Werning, Sarah (1); Irmis, Randall (2); Nesbitt, Sterling (3); Smith, Nathan (4); Turner, Alan (5); Padian, Kevin (1) (1) University of California, Berkeley,CA, United States; (2) Natural History Museum of Utah & University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, United States; (3) The Field Museum, Chicago, IL, United States; (4) Howard University, Washington, DC, United States; (5) Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, United States

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It’s a Veggie-raptor, Lex! Veggi-raptor!

A discussion by Henry Tsai

Most dinosaur fans would agree that theropods are among the best characterized of dinosaurs. From agile speedsters like Velociraptor to lumbering powerhouses like Tyrannosaurus, these bipedal beasts appear to the public as ideal killing machines, with jaws full of sharp teeth and the legwork to keep up with their prey.

However, recent studies of maniraptorans, the theropod group that included both dromaeosaurs like Velociraptor and modern birds, have revealed a variety of odd theropods that seem to have abandoned the predatory way of life. Therizinosaurs, a group of pot-bellied, long-necked theropods, possessed leaf-shaped teeth and slightly curved claws. Since none of these features appear useful for predation, popular hypotheses suggest ground sloth-like herbivory for these animals.

Oviraptors add to the puzzle with sharp, recurved claws at the end of powerful forelimbs and robustly built, yet toothless, beaks. This mishmash of seeming carnivorous and herbivorous traits has led to hypotheses of oviraptor diets ranging from leaves, fruits, shellfish, nuts, and even the eggs of other dinosaurs.

Finally, troodonts, the closest relatives of the obviously carnivorous dromaeosaurs, appear to have had teeth more suitable for dicing plants than for ripping meat. These lines of evidence suggest herbivory either evolved multiple times independently; or that herbivory was primitive to the entire Maniraptora, with the carnivorous dromaeosaurs as the odd-‘saurs out. Future studies on bite mechanics and tooth wear will certainly be necessary for uncovering more about the behavior and ecology of these mysterious plant-eating “raptors.”

Figure. Feeding strategy of various maniraptorans. A) The herbivorous therizinosaur Nothronychus. (picture credit: Victor Leshyk) B) The oviraptor Gigantoraptor, whose diet is still under dispute. (picture credit: Nobu Tamura) C) The carnivorous dromaeosaur Deinonychus, shown feeding on a hapless Zephyrosaurus. (picture credit: Emily Willoughby)

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Towards Finding Invisible Whiskers in Fossil Crocs

Our paper on Alligator Trigeminal Nerve Scaling and Significance is out in Anatomical Record:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ar.22666/pdf

You can catch University of Missouri’s press release here:

https://nbsubscribe.missouri.edu/news-releases/2013/0404-new-measurement-of-crocodilian-nerves-could-lead-to-better-understanding-of-ancient-animals%E2%80%99-behavior-mu-researcher-finds/

and a snazzy video describing the research here:

http://vimeo.com/user2631252

 

This was all part of a lab rotation project by Grad Student and Life Sciences Fellow Ian George. Ian tried his hand at a Blog Post too, take it away Ian:

Croc brains and ganglia

Croc brains and ganglia

How is it that alligators are deadly accurate hunters, even on the darkest nights when their prey makes no sounds? The answer to that are dome pressure receptors, highly sensitive small black dots that pepper the sides of their face, first described by Von During (1974), which act much in the same way as whiskers do on a cat (Soares, 2002; Leitch & Catania, 2012). As soon as an unsuspecting animal disturbs the water to get a drink, these invisible whiskers detect the tiny waves they create and the alligator can strike having neither seen nor heard the animal. While we can see and count these dots in living alligators, what about in their ancestors? When did this specialized sense first appear?

Before we can determine if fossil crocodyliforms may have had these dome pressure receptors (DPRs), which are a soft tissue structure, we first need to look for some feature on the skull associated with them. Just like in humans, the face of the alligator gets its sensation from the trigeminal nerve (CNV). This nerve supplies sensation to the face of all vertebrates and evidence suggests that it is larger when there are specialized receptors present like whiskers or DPRs. This large nerve also has a large hole in the skull associated with it, the trigeminal fossa, which we can measure in living alligators and fossil crocodyliforms. Therefore this hole in the skull is an excellent place to measure the nerve that supplies the DPRs because it is present in both living alligators as wells preserved in fossils.

Alligator trigeminal nerve

Alligator trigeminal nerve

Our recent article in the Anatomical Record explores the trigeminal DPR system through an anatomical investigation of a range of different sized alligators, a few crocodiles and some fossil crocodyliforms. We CT scanned alligator heads to get volumetric measurements, dissected them to better understand the anatomy of the trigeminal nerve, and finally histologically sampled the nerve to measure how many fibers were in it. This latter part helped distinguish the relative contributions of motor versus sensory portions of the nerve. Our findings show that the trigeminal nerve scales with skull size in the alligator as well as with brain size, an important factor when measuring nervous tissue. Together with data we took from the skulls of fossilized crocodyliforms comparing the relative size of the trigeminal fossa and the maxillomandibular foramen in the skull to the overall size of the skull and brain, we can now get a good idea of relative face touch. Integrating these data with perhaps integumentary osteological correlates may then give us a good idea about DPR evolution.

This important new tool can give us new information about the habitat these extinct crocodyliforms may have lived in. If the trigeminal fossa in an extinct croc is substantially smaller than that of a living crocodylian, it may not have had DPRs or at least have had a less-sensitive face. This has bearing on the animal’s relationship with its environment and certainly can be applied to other taxa that have well encrusted trigeminal fossae.

Leitch DB, Catania KC. 2012. Structure, innervation and response properties of integumentary sensory organs in crocodilians. Journal of Experimental Biology 215:4217–4230.

Soares D. 2002. An ancient sensory organ in crocodilians. Nature 417:241–242.

von During M. 1974. The ultrastructure of the cutaneous receptors in the skin of Caiman crocodilus. Abhandlungen Rhein.-Westfal. Akad 53:123–134.

 

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Dinosaurs and Cavemen is a Success!

Greetings, I wanted to take this space to report on a fairly successful event were were able to pull of at Rock Bridge High School. As described previously, members of the Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences and the Department of Anthropology (the umbrella term we like is Integrative Anatomy) got together to host a K-12 and beyond outreach event alongside Columbia Public Schools Planetarium. Before I get started I wanted to thank everyone that put so much time and effort into the production and then execution of the event:

Libby Cowgill, Kevin Middleton, Scott Maddux, Dave Dufeau, Carol Ward, Alex Woods, Elizabeth Moffett, Sarah Swartz, Ian George, Henry Tsai, Amy Reynolds Warren, Chet Savage, Rachel Munds, Kaleb Sellers, Elizabeth Lo Presti, Ally McEntire, Ashley Hammond, Rob’yn Johnston, Zack Winkler, and finally the Director of the Planetarium Melanie Knocke.

We had 400 people come see 5, 40 minute long planetarium shows (Earth’s Wild Ride) and the Planetarium collected a little less than $500 in donations. Before and after each show, guests were given the opportunity to take part in a number of activities we developed. The movie touched on numerous parts of Earth’s tumultuous history including the Late Cretaceous Extinction event and the Late Pleistocene glaciation of Europe, hence “Dinosaurs & Cavemen”. The Missourian newspaper had a good write-up with photos. 

We front-loaded the effort on this to develop a number of activities that we can easily employ during future outreach events. As several of the faculty are always trying to figure out how to incorporate their research into broader impacts, it is events like this that not only help us get our chops up, but help expose the community to what is actually going on at Mizzou. Most people had no idea we have faculty that study Neandertals, dinosaurs, crocodiles, or other animals. Since many of the activities and tables can be transported easily (I basically emptied my office for some of the tables) I started to think about how effective a Mobile Museum would be in the this part of the country…you know…get a sweet RV filled with people and gear and go tour (like this one) some of more rural and urban schools around the state. Maybe during retirement, we can stop by Canyonlands.

The Activities:

Walk Like a Dinosaur: We cut out and placed numerous anatomically-correct stenciled tracks of Tyrannosaurus, Dromaeosaurus, Titanosaur and Australopithicus (i.e., Lucy) to parallel a kraft-paper runway. On the runway, kids could strap little theropod feet onto their shoes, dunk them in some water, and then leave prints along the trackway. Kevin devised a fairly ingenious strap-on dino sandal made from velcro straps, plywood, and sponges for this. This was a huge hit and I was even able to wear the relatively tiny sponge feet, don Henry’s mache Velociraptor mask and scare the crap out of a 4yr old. Thanks to Dana Ehret for providing the inspiration for this and Ally for supervising to make sure everything went well.

Little Lascaux: Kraft paper was hung on the wall. Stencils and examples of various Pleistocene animals that were depicted in the original cave were provided by Amy and Chet. Kids and parents and whomever was then enabled to create this massive mural on the wall. It included fire-breathing animals, rainbows, aurochs and potentially the earliest cave drawing of a hand turkey. We filled 2, 12ft murals with images that still sit rolled up in my office.

I Dig Dinosaurs: The venerable brush sand off a skeleton. Henry, Elizabeth and Ian sculpted a pretty sweet life-sized velociraptor skeleton out of ceramic clay placed it in 4 separate trays and covered it with vermiculite. We provided a poster of Velociraptor thanks to Scott Hartman as well as a copy of the Sue the T. rex quarry I still have from my younger days. This was a huge hit.

Know Your Knapping:  Alex Woods is a master knapper and held demonstrations all afternoon using a giant tool box full of stones, points, caribou antler, flint nodules, and atlatl. He always had a gaggle of kids around him as he pressure flaked, processed leather, and demonstrated how to take down a mammoth.

The Tables:

Everything Tyrannosaur: Casts, posters and help interpreting a random assortment of  tyrannosaur casts I have.

What is a Fossil?: trace fossils, molds and casts.

Cretaceous Fauna: We had some material from North America but mostly dinosaur casts I have from Gaston Design. So, this was a bit too weighted towards Asian dinosaurs. Next time we do this we’ll likely focus more on Missouri fauna and Geology, particularly if a recently submitted State grant funds us to revitalize the Missouri Chronister Dinosaur Site.

We Survived the Extinction: Basically a who’s who of vertebrate comparative material from the lab: alligators, turtles, birds, mammals, animals in jars, you name it. This was a very popular table led by Dave Dufeau and Kaleb Sellers.

Neantertal’s vs Modern Humans: Anthro (Elizabeth, Rachel, Zack) had a nice couple of tables that had posters taped down onto the tables featuring biogeography, major anatomical features and an assortment of casts and artifacts illustrating the differences between the two arguable sympatric, hybridizing recent hominids.

Digital Paleo: Finally, we had a table that had a Clear & Stained alligator on a light box the got lots of attention. Next to it were two laptops. One had a loop of the Edmontosaurus chewing movie you can find at Palaeontologia Electronica and the 2nd had a draft our our 3D Alligator Jaw Muscle pdf that is in the pipeline at PLoS. It was great to see 8 year olds be able to easily manipulate the file to check out parts of the internal anatomy of an alligator.

Below I will spam pictures from Scott Maddux and myself:

 

 

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Dinosaurs & Cavemen Public Event

Saturday March 9th. Rock Bridge High School Planetarium. 1-5pm

Saturday March 9th. Rock Bridge High School Planetarium. 1-5pm

Saturday March 9th, a brigade of University of Missouri undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty will be at the local high school planetarium to provide an afternoon of discovery and excitement open to the general public. Come by, bring your families, catch a movie, help paint “Little Lascaux”, see how your footprints compare to those of human ancestors and Tyrannosaurus, help excavate fossils, and learn how global climate change has impacted plants and animals during the Late Cretaceous and Late Pleistocene time periods. Support your local planetarium! Support your local paleontologists!

March Public Shows at the Columbia Public Schools’ Planetarium
 
Earth’s Wild Ride” Event:
Dinosaurs, Cave Men, and Our Changing Planet
 
March 9, 2013
1:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm, 4:00pm
 
Sixty five million years ago, an asteroid impact contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs.  Twenty thousand years ago, much of a cooling Earth was covered in ice. These are just two ways Earth’s surface has changed over the millennia. 
 
Columbia Public Schools’ Planetarium & the University of Missouri’s Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences and Department of Physical Anthropology are teaming up to show just how our changing planet effected life on its surface.
 
·        Watch Earth’s Wild Ride planetarium show and see a tour of the night sky.
·        See dinosaur fossils
·        Compare your foot print to those of a dinosaur
·        Learn how cave men lived
·        Paint a cave mural
·        and more …
 
In the Planetarium:
Earth’s Wild Ride is set on the surface of the Moon in the year 2081.  A grandfather and his grandchildren watch a solar eclipse from scenic cliffs overlooking their moon colony. As they watch the Moon’s shadow move across Earth, the grandfather tells stories of crashing asteroids, roaring dinosaurs, frigid ice ages, erupting volcanoes, and more. A star tour will be give after each show.
 
Outside the Planetarium Doors:
Learn about dinosaurs and cavemen and the different times in which they lived. See fossils and artifacts! Help paint a cave mural! Compare your footprints with those of dinosaurs!
 
Admission to this event is free, but donations of $2 per person are welcomed.
 
CPS Planetarium is located within Rock Bridge High School at 4303 S Providence Rd in Columbia Missouri.  The planetarium is open for public shows on the second Saturday of each month.   School groups and private groups can reserve a weekday show by phone (573-214-3148) or email:Planetarium@columbia.k12.mo.us
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