Dinosaurs and other dead things: How fossil collections teach us about evolution
Wednesday January 11, 2017
VMNH is home to millions of fossils from near and far, including everything from giant dinosaur bones to tiny clam shells. Each of these gives us important information about the environments of the past and how they all fit into a larger evolutionary setting.
Join Dr. Alex Hastings, assistant curator of paleontology at VMNH, on Thursday, January 12 at 6 p.m. for "Dinosaurs and other dead things: How fossil collections teach us about evolution" as part of the museum's "2nd Thursday Science Talks". Learn about the rich fossil archive of the museum and its wealth of fascinating new information about ancient Virginia and beyond. Admission to the presentation is free.
"2nd Thursday Science Talks" take place on the second Thursday of each month from 6 to 7 p.m.from September through May. Presentations are delivered by VMNH curators, research associates and collaborating scientists. Geared towards audiences with a keen interest in science, the presentations also increase awareness of the varied and unique scientific career paths available to students.
Upcoming Science Talks
“Dinosaurs and other dead things: How fossil collections teach us about evolution” presented by Dr. Alexander K. Hastings, Assistant Curator of Paleontology, VMNH
VMNH is home to millions of fossils from near and far, including everything from giant dinosaur bones to tiny clam shells. Each of these gives us important information about the environments of the past and how they all fit into a larger evolutionary setting. Come and learn about the rich fossil archive of the VMNH and its wealth of fascinating new information about ancient Virginia and beyond.
“The E-files: specimens, pins, and spirits” presented by Dr. Kal Ivanov, Assistant Curator of Recent Invertebrates, VMNH
Biological collections are not only indispensable resources for studying Earth’s biodiversity but they also provide direct financial and social benefits to society. In his presentation Dr. Ivanov will focus on the building, maintenance, and uses of modern invertebrate collections and the crucial role they play in solving our society’s most pressing needs – from public health issues to global environmental change.
"From ancient battlefield to museum gallery: What archaeology can tell us about our past" presented by Dr. Mary Voigt, Professor Emerita, College of William and Mary
Dr. Voigt, partnered with the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia on a large project at Hasanlu in northwestern Iran. Dr. Voigt’s presentation will highlight the archaeological evidence for a city destroyed around 800 BCE. The finds from this city include beautiful artifacts made of pottery, glass, ivory and metal as well as the bones of people caught and killed in a fierce battle and fire that destroyed but also preserved. The most important aspect of this collection is that finds are accompanied by detailed excavation records. They are not just isolated artifacts, bones and other bits and pieces but material with a context that allows us to tell a story about the people who made, used and discarded these items.
“Plants orphaned like Annie: The importance and value of adopting and maintaining collections that lost their original home” presented by Dr. DorothyBelle Poli, Associate Professor of Biology, Roanoke College
VMNH houses several fossil plant collections that did not originally begin at the museum. They came from different places and about in different ways, but their importance is high. These orphans may seem like a motley collection of individual pieces but together they are a valuable resource of evolution and modern scientific discovery!
“Mussel shells, fish bones, and charcoal: using archaeobiological data to examine past environments” presented by Dr. Elizabeth Moore, Curator of Archaeology, VMNH
The archaeology collections at VMNH include materials from the last Ice Age to the 20th century. In addition to the ceramics, stone tools, nails, bricks, and other artifacts typically found at archaeological sites, these collections also include plant and animal remains. Dr. Moore will discuss the process by which these fragile remains are collected and how they can be used to examine human environmental interactions and reconstruct past environments.
Virginia Museum of Natural History