Natural History

Monthly Archive: December Natu

Totally Buggin’: Spiders and Insects in Pop Culture

Posted: October 13, 2018 - 15:27 , by Kiron Mukherjee
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Image Credit: Director of Photography TRENT OPALOCH; Director NEILL BLOMKAMP. DISTRICT 9 image copyright TRISTAR PICTURES INC.

He slowly raises his head. It’s then that she notices a clicking noise emanating from beneath his jaw. The workings of his jaw begin to move. Something is not right. 

Image Credit: Director of Photography TRENT OPALOCH; Director NEILL BLOMKAMP. DISTRICT 9 image copyright TRISTAR PICTURES INC.

Eight-legged and Adorable

Posted: October 13, 2018 - 14:58 , by Kiron Mukherjee
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Jumping Spider. © Natasha Hirt, 2017. Used with permission.

Let me paint you a picture of a spectacular critter. Staring up at you is an adorable little animal precious enough that it could fit in your hand. You carefully pick him up, and his tiny feet tickle your palm. As he slowly nestles into your hand, you realize that their fluffy body is soft to the touch. When you lean in to say hello, he peers back at you with shimmering eyes so sparkly that it seems like a cartoon character has come to life. Just like you, he can appreciate an evening staying cozy inside with his human pals. What are you thinking of?

When Things Go Wrong for Right Whales

Posted: March 8, 2018 - 10:44 , by Hellen Fu
Carcass of right whale floating in ocean, researchers on large dinghy

Guest blog written by Environmental Visual Communication student Viridiana Jimenez

The death of seventeen right whales in 2017 represents a loss of over 3% of the population. The significance of this loss has sent the scientific community into a panic. Their deaths were primarily caused by ship collisions or entanglements with fishing gear. As frequent visitors to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, we must now work together to save this species from extinction.

When Whaling is Your Tradition

Posted: February 27, 2018 - 15:35 , by Hellen Fu
Inuit community standing on and near a recently hunted bowhead whale on beach

Guest blog written by Environmental Visual Communication student Ursula McClintock

In some Indigenous communities around the world, whaling is as much a part of their tradition as my family’s turkey dinner at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Whale hunting has played an integral role in feeding Inuit communities for millennia. Bowhead whales, among many other species of whales, were hunted to near extinction at the turn of the 20th century. Yet more often than not, Indigenous communities are cast in the same light as the commercial groups that are responsible for the near collapse of populations of these iconic marine animals.

What is it? Unexpected Life in Downtown Toronto

Posted: February 14, 2018 - 12:51 , by Antonia Guidotti
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Ostracoda, Podocopida. photo by Antonia Guidotti

ROM Natural History staff often receive specimens for identification.

In entomology, they frequently receive and identify common household pests, however, they recently received something a little bit more unusual. A community centre in the city, operating an Aquaponics lab, sent in a sample of some tiny, mysterious critters they found on the roots of their plants. Concerned they may be causing the plants harm, they were hoping the staff at the ROM could give them some insight as to what they were.

Trees for Life in Lakefield

Posted: February 8, 2018 - 10:46 , by Hellen Fu
Children playing in a large tree

Guest blog written by Environmental Visual Communication student Fenella Hood

When Rebecca Rose left her home in Leslieville and moved her three young children to the quaint village of Lakefield, she felt secure in the belief that she was improving their lot in life. Then one day a notice was slipped through her door from the Township of Selwyn announcing her next-door neighbour's severance application to build a second house and increase his selling power. His small corner lot boasts a stand of seven mature trees that will need to be cut down to make room for the build. “It felt like being kicked in the stomach. I don't want those trees to die, and I don't want to tell my kids.”

From Poop to Plankton: Working Together to Conserve our Ocean’s Gardeners

Posted: November 6, 2017 - 16:41 , by Stacey Kerr
Asha de Vos, P.h.D. holds two bottles of freshly collected blue whale poop off the coast of Sri Lanka. Photo Credit: Oceanswell

Guest blog written by Environmental Visual Communication student Meghan Callon

From the ROM’s recent “Out of the Depths” Blue Whale Exhibition to the upcoming Canada’s Oceans: Towards 2020 Symposium, the ROM has had a big focus on our oceans this year. In fact, there have been many eyes on Canada’s oceans recently. The Society for Marine Mammalogy Conference was held in Halifax, NS, just two weeks ago, bringing together some of the greatest ocean thinkers from around the world. There, Dr. Asha de Vos gave a keynote speech describing her journey to understanding how blue whales act as our ocean’s gardeners. Check out this blog to learn more about the incredible story of blue whale poop and the researcher who studies it!

True Blue Detectives

Posted: September 4, 2017 - 12:22 , by Stacey Kerr
ROM technician Oliver Haddrath extracting a DNA sample from blue whale tissue. Photo by Connor McDowell

Guest blog written by 2017 Environmental Visual Communication student Connor McDowell

The Royal Ontario Museum has marked yet another first for science with the Blue Whale Project. This achievement could hold keys to the conservation of this majestic, endangered mammal – not to mention a deeper understanding of the unique evolutionary history of the largest living animal on Earth. The beginning of this story starts two thousand kilometers away, on the shores of Newfoundland, Canada with something so small that you can't see it with the naked eye.

Hippos and Whales: Unlikely Cousins

Posted: August 24, 2017 - 13:32 , by Stacey Kerr
Whales and hippos share a common ancestor. Photo by: http://www.statedclearly.com/

Guest blog written by Environmental Visual Communication student Natasha Hirt

What do hippos and whales have in common? A tonne. It may seem surprising that hippos are the closest living relative to whales. At the ROM's Blue Whale Exhibition, visitors can explore what whales and other marine mammals looked like over 50 million years ago. 

Our Future is Deep in the Ocean

Posted: August 15, 2017 - 13:36 , by Stacey Kerr
蓝鲸展馆的由来。| Entrance to the Blue Whale Exhibition. 照片由吴昊康 | Photo by Shawn Wu

Guest blog written by 2017 Environmental Visual Communication student Shawn Wu 

Written in Mandarin, this is a story about the Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story exhibition and the powerful role these magnificent creatures play in our oceans.