Jane: Do the tails tell the tale?

"Jane" Burpee Museum's juvnile T. rex

“Jane” Burpee Museum’s juvnile T. rex

One of the questions most often asked at Burpee Museum is “How do you know Jane was a girl?” You see “Jane” is the juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex discovered by field crews in 2001 and the star of the Museum’s Diary of a Dinosaur exhibit. “Jane” was named after Jane Solem, wife of Robert H. Solem, a major benefactor and lifetime member of the Museum.

Currently it is unknown if “Jane” the dinosaur was male or female. In fact, determining the sex of dinosaur specimens is a question that paleontologists have long been trying to find a method or skeletal indicator that would allow specimens to be defined as male or female.

Scott Persons, paleontologist at University of Alberta at Edmonton, Canada, has recently proposed a new idea that may allow the sex of some dinosaurs be determined. His most recent study, published in Scientific Reports, suggests that skeletal traits of some dinosaurs tails may show sexual dimorphism (a distinct morphological difference between males and females) and could be applied to other specimens.

Persons’ study examined two oviraptorosaurs, nicknamed Romeo and Juliet, that were found in Mongolia in the 1990’s and first described in 2001. Through this study differences in bones called chevrons at the base of the oviraptorosaurs tails were discovered. One specimen had longer chevrons with broader tips. Persons hypothesizes that males may have had longer chevrons with broader tips for increased muscle attachments, whereas chevrons in females may have been smaller to facilitate egg laying.

As Thomas Holtz, University of Maryland, has pointed out, it will be very interesting to see if these differences are borne out in further, larger studies of chevron shape of small to mid-sized dinosaurs.

Perhaps someday soon we will be able to confidently answer the question of ” Is “Jane” a boy or girl?”

To read more about Person’s study check out these resources:

Tails Tell the Tale of Dinosaur Sex, Nature News

Persons IV, W. S., Funston, G. F., Currie, P. J. & Norell, M. A. Sci. Rep. 5, 9472 (2015).

Five Reasons Why You NEED to Attend Burpee Museum’s PaleoFest 2015!

burpeeblogger:

Josh Malone, long time PaleoFest alum and Burpee Museum volunteer, shares his thoughts on this year’s upcoming PaleoFest.

Originally posted on Many Strange Things:

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Anybody who knows me knows that I have a great love for the Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford, IL. The small museum is a great place to learn about natural history as well as present day wildlife, and so much more. It has exhibits that display a wealth of information, and really relays it all to the public in a very down to earth and enjoyable way. They also have a great paleo program, and offer volunteer opportunities to their digs in both Montana and Utah over the summer. I’ve gone on several digs with the Burpee, and over the years have built a really strong relationship with the wonderful team at the museum.

But above all, the number one event that has allowed me to build such a strong and lasting relationship with not only this museum, but other paleontologists around the world, is PaleoFest. For the past seventeen years, the…

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Meet Rexie the T-Rex at PaleoFest!

PaleoFest is great. PaleoFest symposiums are super great. PaleoFest where you can meet a T-Rex are unbelievably great!

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Meet Rexie the T-Rex on Saturday, March 14th as part of PaleoFest 2015! Rexie the T-Rex is a gentle 8 foot tall, 12 foot long T. rex that walks on a leash guided by her handler. Rexie will be making appearances at 10:30am, 1pm, and 3pm at Burpee Museum, Saturday March 14th only! Check out the PaleoPassport stations throughout the museum or a kids workshop led by real paleontologists before or after you meet Rexie the T-Rex!

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PaleoFest FAQs: Admission to PaleoFest is $15 for General Public, $7 for Burpee Members and includes general admission to the museum, admission to Savage Ancient Seas, PaleoPassport activities, and a chance to see Rexie the T. Rex; workshops, symposium, and Burpee Museum Presents require additional tickets or passes beyond PaleoFest Admission. Visit the PaleoFest site for more information.

Sci-Fi Fanatics, Trekkies, and Dinosaurs … Oh My!

10916384_10152795925738705_147557869960631633_oBurpee Museum will be part of the Madison, Wisconsin Wizard World Comic Con this weekend! Scott Williams, Director of Science and Exhibits, and Mackenna Atteberry, Marketing Coordinator, will be manning exhibitors booth #624 – directly across from the 1966 Batmobile!

There are a TON of other things happening at Wizard World, but we’d love it if you’d stop by and say “Hi!” to the Burpee Museum crew. If you’re planning to stay closer to Rockford, we have an Animal Hour on February 6th and Burpee Explorers on February 7th. For other great events and activities check out Burpee Museum on Facebook and at www.Burpee.org.

Walking With Dinosaurs at Burpee Museum

WalkingWithDinosaurs_PrehistoricPlanetMembership has its perks!

Burpee Museum will be showing BBC Earth’s Walking With Dinosaurs: Prehistoric Planet  on Friday March 13, 2015 during the PaleoFest Members Night. The Walking With Dinosaurs viewing will be accompanied by expert commentary from Drs. Stephen Brusatte and Thomas Holtz who were both consultants on the project.

Doors open for Members Night at 6pm, the Walking With Dinosaurs showing will begin at 7pm with questions and commentary following at 8pm. Members, call 815.965.3433 to RSVP by March 9th. Please bring your Membership Card and ID for check in.

Not a Member? Visit the Membership Page for details or call 815.965.3433 to join today! Membership to Burpee Museum includes membership to ASTC (Association of Science and Technology Centers) which provides free or reduced general admission to hundreds of Science Centers and Museums in the Untied States and around the world!

Savage Ancient Seas is coming to Burpee

The past four weeks have been extra busy at Burpee Museum and for good reason! Burpee Museum was approached by Embedded Exhibitions, LLC to host their Savage Ancient Seas traveling exhibit. Savage Ancient Seas has been on Burpee’s shortlist of exhibits to bring to the Rockford area for several years, so naturally we went into high gear for fundraising and promotion.

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Savage Ancient Seas is an exhibit that makes the North American seas of the Cretaceous come alive! The exhibit is full of marine reptiles that can fill your imagination with sea monsters and sea creatures and bring to life prehistoric fossils of animals that swam the seas as the dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

10857109_10203456092351107_1199398395109742978_oBurpee Museum is extremely excited to announce that Savage Ancient Seas will open to the public on January 17, 2015 at 10am! Tickets to Savage Ancient Seas (including General Admission) are $13 for visitors 13 & up, and $12 for visitors 3-12. Come out to Burpee Museum to help welcome this amazing exhibit to Rockford!

Check out the Burpee Museum site for more information!