Two cool stories to share today!
1. As some of you probably already know, our director, Alan Brown, resigned at the end of 2012. Our staff and our board conducted a fast, but thorough, search for a new director. The search was met with a surprising number of interested applicants, which the search committee carefully, and thoughtfully whittled down to a few final contenders. Of those final few, we are very excited to announce that Maureen Mall was selected to be the new director.
Maureen has previously volunteered at the museum, including in the prep lab, and has joined us in the field on several expeditions. She was even part of the team that discovered “Homer” our juvenile Triceratops in Montana! Maureen’s official start date is this coming Monday (February 11th) we hope that you will join us in welcoming her to the museum in her new role.
More information can be found here.
2. “Homer” our juvenile Triceratops is featured in a new article on BBC Earth’s Walking with Dinosaurs website! Dr. Steve Brusatte, Burpee Colleague, speaker at this year’s upcoming PaleoFest, and member of the team that helped find Homer, writes about the Homer’s discovery and its importance to the scientific world.
The quick version of Homer’s story: Helmuth Redschlag discovered (and named) Homer while on one of our Highway to Hell Creek expeditions.. While excavating the Homer site, crews found (among many other fossils) three left nasals all of approximately the same size. One of those left nasals matched up with a right nasal and is attributed to “Homer,” the second left nasal is attributed to a slightly smaller, less complete specimen called “Bart,” and the third left nasal belongs to an additional, unnamed specimen. So, what’s the big deal about three left nasals? Well, until the Homer site was excavated Triceratops specimens were not found in bonebeds, they were found as single, solitary specimens. This suggested that perhaps Triceratops were solitary animals. The Homer site changed the way that we think about Triceratops behavior – because three juveniles were found together it has lead scientists to suggest that at least as juveniles Triceratops may have lived in groups, possibly for protection from large predators like Tyrannosaurus rex. How cool is that?!
Check out Dr. Brusatte’s article here: BBC Earth: Walking with Dinosaurs News
Also see Mathews, Joshua C.; Brusatte, Stephen L.; Williams, Scott A.; and Henderson, Michael D. (2009). “The first Triceratops bonebed and its implications for gregarious behavior”. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 29 (1): 286–290. doi:10.1080/02724634.2009.10010382 for more details about the Homer site.