Natural History

Monthly Archive: December Natu

Yellowjackets (a.k.a. Late Summer Picnic Pests)

Posted: September 28, 2011 - 10:24 , by Antonia Guidotti
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We love picnicking outside in the summer but in August and September our meals are inevitably cut short because of wasps. What are they and what can we do about them?

Space junk: what goes up …

Posted: September 26, 2011 - 11:35 , by Ian Nicklin
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The ability to place man-made devices – satellites – in orbit around our planet has revolutionized the ways in which we communicate and allowed us to study our planet, our solar system and our universe in ways not otherwise possible. In fact, satillites are so useful that there is a growing lack of space in outer space. Our planet is surrounded by literally tens of millions of pieces of man-made material ranging from dust and flecks of paint, to multi-tonne satellites and spent rocket components.

Summerasuarus: Dino Storage

Posted: September 21, 2011 - 08:53 , by admin

Recently, we visited at the Vertebrate Palaeontology Lab to see how dinosaur bones are extracted from their plaster field jackets after they are hauled back from the field by palaeontologists like Dr. David Evans.

But where does the ROM store these fossils once they are free from their rock matrix? Welcome to Vertebrate Palaeontology Collections room, housing more than 75,000 fossilized bone specimens ranging in size from small toes to an entire row of Hadrosaur skulls!

From the Field: Farewell Churchill

Posted: September 15, 2011 - 13:37 , by David Rudkin

July 27

The weather forecast was pretty much on the money, and a dismal dawn yields to thunder-squalls rolling across the tundra. But, after breakfast and a second cup of coffee, the rain eases and we are a shade more optimistic about our flight out later this morning. Time for one last walkabout of our temporary home.

From the Field: Finding “Miss Piggy” and Late Ordovician fossil fragments

Posted: September 12, 2011 - 09:43 , by David Rudkin

July 24

Away to the airport this morning to see Ed off to Winnipeg - there goes our ace bear protection and GPS expert! At least we had a chance to do the firearms familiarization before his departure, so all are up to speed on handling various pyrotechnic deterrents. I’ll ride shotgun in Ed’s absence, with Matt as backup, and incoming member Sean adds another pair of sharp eyes to the fossil team.

Summerasaurus Part VI: Un-jacketing dino bones in the Vertebrate Palaeontology Lab

Posted: September 9, 2011 - 08:52 , by admin

Today, we thought we’d offer you a behind-the-scenes look at the Vertebrate Palaeontology Lab to see what happens to dino bones between being excavated and being put on display or used for research.

Unopened plaster field jackets stored on metal shelves.

From the Field: Ancient Sea Scorpion Fossil Found

Posted: September 7, 2011 - 08:39 , by David Rudkin

July 23

Clear skies at last! Down to the coast to catch good morning lighting and a fortuitously low tide, so we can see in detail how fossil-bearing Upper Ordovician carbonate deposits (445 million years old) at our main locality “lap” against the elevated flanks of a much more ancient rock mass. This highly resistant Proterozoic (about 2500 million-year-old) quartzite body is the remnant of a small island that formed part of an archipelago in shallow Ordovician subtropical seas.

Summerasaurus Part V: The Badlands

Posted: September 2, 2011 - 09:10 , by admin

Walking through the badlands is like walking through a western novel: canyons cut through the prairie, exposing layers of brown, gold, black and white sediment. Clichés keep popping up: tumbleweeds roll by, cactus pop out from unexpected places, and cattle skulls bleach in the sun. Scorpions hide in coal seams, soaking up the sun’s heat from the black rock that camouflages them. It’s a bit overwhelming at first, but once you accept the fact that you’re in a place unlike anywhere else in Canada, it all becomes simple and beautiful.