Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dinosaur Digs

Today we went to the dinosaur museum and tour here in Thermopolis Wyoming.  The only Archaeopteryx fossil and most intact specimen outside of Europe is located there.  It was for the most part really fun, though I think Orion got bored towards the end.  A seven year old that has only been to one or two museums outside of the interactive "Children's Museum" can tend to have a shorter attention span.  In fact at the beginning of the visit when going through the early pre-dinosaur fossils he was acting very upset and kept running ahead.  After about of really bad grimaces and a stern talking to we were able to for the most part make the most of the visit.  

The highlight for Loren and I was to get to go on the tour with an actual paleontology professor.  It was really cool to see the active dig sites he took us to and ask questions.  He said true scientists have an open mind and can re-evaluate their own hypothesis when new data is discovered and introduced to the scientific community. He also said that paleontology is not a science of known and concrete facts and scenarios based on random speculation but on the hard facts that can be seen and produced through the evidence in the fossil records.  It was very enlightening.

We discovered that through a spectroanalysis they have been able to look at the chemical record left behind in the fossil record of the archaeopteryx feathers the coloration of the animal was similar to that of the common magpie.  It's amazing how far science has come that through technology we can measure and observe minute indicators to create a more complete picture of what an animal from millions of years ago looked like.

Later We attended Orion's first rodeo, in Cody, Wyoming.  I think he was super wiggly from the museum and the drive afterwards to Cody.  He said he enjoyed it.  
We are looking forward to going to the Buffalo Bill Cody Museum tomorrow and looking at all the amazing cowboy stuff.

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