Now mostly found in North Western Canada, during the last Ice Age, the grizzly bear could also be located in Ontario. This ~12,000 year old skull was found near Lake Simcoe.
- Grizzly bear. By Diliff via creative commons attribution via Wikimedia Common.
- Grizzly bear skull. Kiron Mukherjee, 2014.
- Grizzly bear map. By Cephas (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Written by @kironcmukherjee. Last update: March 1st, 2014.
Meteorite Solves Age Old Martian puzzle
In a major discovery released in the scientific journal Nature, Royal Ontario Museum curator Dr. Kim Tait and colleagues have solved an age old riddle in geologic history of Mars. The study involved a Martian meteorite, from the ROM’s collection, named NWA 5298. It was found that this space rock started as a 200 million-year-old lava flow on Mars. This conclusion has settled a long standing debate about the age of this type of Martian meteorite and indicates that at least some of the Martian surface is young – by geologic standards. Full details can be found in the paper titled, “Solving the Martian meteorite age conundrum using micro-baddeleyite and launch-generated zircon.”
The team conducted geochronogical testing on tiny crystals found in NWA 5298 by examining the precise composition of these crystals.
“With the ROM’s capacity and expertise in the field of Martian meteorites, research carried out on NWA 5298 was a timely opportunity for The Museum’s Mineralogy department to further expand our expertise and to collaborate with international colleagues. Through this study published in Nature, we have unlocked an important key towards understanding the application of geochronology and of the Red Planet itself,” said Dr. Kim Tait, ROM Curator, Mineralogy.
With the team’s research findings, Tait and her colleagues provide a much clearer picture of the Red Planet’s evolution that can now be compared to that of the Earth and other rocky planets in our Solar System and beyond.
The team, comprised of scientists from the ROM, the University of Western Ontario, the University of Wyoming, University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Portsmouth, also discovered crystals that grew while the meteorite was launched from Mars towards Earth. This discovery, allows them to narrow down the timing to less than 20 million years ago while also identifying possible launch locations on the flanks of the supervolcanoes at the Martian equator.
Discovered in March of 2008 in Northwest Africa, and acquired by the ROM in 2009, NWA 5298 is a part of the ROM’s meteorite collection; one of the largest in the world.
This newly released research based on NWA 5298 coincides with the confirmed acquisition of the newest addition to the ROM’s mineralogy collection. Known as NWA 7042, this meteorite is also a Martian meteorite found in Northwest Africa, and an important new addition to the Museum’s Mineralogy department.
NWA 7042 is the fourth largest single mass shergottite in existence and the fifth largest among all known Martian meteors. Shergottites are similar to basaltic rocks found on Earth. It is also one of about only 70 distinct Martian meteorites that have been confirmed.
Weighing 2.98 kilograms, NWA 7042 will be the centre piece of the ROM’s already impressive display of meteorites from the Red Planet and will enhance the ROM’s visitor experience. The remarkable NWA 7042 specimen is now the 15th Martian meteorite in the Museum’s collection, placing the ROM alongside Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian Institution, and the National Institute for Polar Research in Japan, in terms of total numbers of Martian main masses (the largest piece of a given meteorite). NWA 7042, along with NWA 5298 and the many other main masses of Martian meteorites at the ROM, are another important contribution towards ROM research. This acquisition was made possible thanks to funding from the Louise Hawley Stone Trust.
ROM visitors can view these Martian rocks as part of a collection which is currently on display in the Teck Suite of Galleries: Earth’s Treasures on Level 2 of the Weston Family Wing for a limited time.
“I am excited about securing the NWA 7042 as part of the ROM’s Martian meteorite collection,” said Tait. “This is important for us in ROM Mineralogy toward our continued study of Mars itself and the solar system at large, as well as providing an advanced understanding of Martian formation and evolution of Mars.”
Upcoming from ROM Earth Sciences
At present, the ROM’s Earth Sciences section is involved in a number of groundbreaking studies focused on Mars. These include providing critical samples of Martian meteorites which will help to interpret scientific data, as collected by the Mars rover Curiosity. Curiosity saw a significant contribution of Canadian support and scientific expertise by way of design, piloting and research.
- The Story of Martian Meteorite NWA 5298
- Martian Meteorite NWA 7042
- A Day For Planet Mars and Space Science!
- Saturday November 30: Mars Day at the Museum!
- Original post published on July 24, 2013 and found HERE.
- Kim Tait with Martian Meteorite: By ROM, 2013.
- Martian Meteorite NWA 5298: By ROM, 2013
- Mars: By NASA/JPL/MSSS [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Guest post written by ROM Communications. Last update: January 3, 2014.
The Helmet Of A Titan: Ankylosaur Skull
Recently I hung out with my pals, Brian Iwama & Kevin Seymour from Palaeontology, who were hard at work reinstalling our Ankylosaurus skull back into its case. Occasionally our palaeontology staff will remove specimens from display to take quality photographs to keep their files up to date and for use by colleagues outside of the Museum.
Hanging out with this behemoth was a fascinating experience. The skull is ridiculously heavy as it still houses much of the rock bed it was buried in, within its skull. Ankylosaurus was covered in dermal scutes (essentially armour like bones), which not only added to its heft, but also made it the tank of its time. The scutes are incredibly rough. If you’re not carefully you could easily scratch your skin against the surface.
What I found most amazing was the teeth. Ankylosaurus was a huge beast, whose armour and strong, clubbed tail provided it with weapons to wield against predators. But Ankylosaurus was also a peaceful giant that seemingly preferred to eat alone. What is startling is just how small and few teeth they had. Think of a child’s molar, an Ankylosaurus’ teeth were smaller. Further these teeth wore down fast from the tough low lying vegetation it ate. Many Ankylosaurus had few to little teeth left at the end of their life. But this specimen has a nearly full compliment!
It was great getting an opportunity to hang out with Brian and Kevin while they reinstalled the Ankylosaurus skull into the Dinosaur Gallery!
Written by @kironcmukherjee. Last update: February 10, 2014.
The astrolabe was an instrument used to predict the positions of the planets and tell time and longitude and latitude. The astrolabe was first invented around 150BCE, but many improvements were made to it over the next several centuries. It was especially important in the Muslim world, where it was used to determine the location of Mecca.
Guest post written by Allison Miller, ROMKids Educator. Last update: January 7, 2014.
Genuine Albertosaurus tooth. One of the most famous Canadian dinosaurs (just check out the name!) Albertosaurus was a smaller cousin of the Tyrannosaurus rex, similar to the Gorgosaurus. Check out the fine serrated edge along the tooth, similar to a steak knife. The detail is remarkable!
Liz Butler Draws The ROM: Ornithomimus and Protoceratops!
This week I was back in the James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs looking at some of my favourites from the Cretaceous; an Ornithomimus and a Protoceratops. I love these dinosaurs, not only for their fabulous looks, but also for their super descriptive names!
Protoceratops means ‘First Horned Face’, which refers both to the dinosaur’s appearance and its relationship to other dinosaurs. Protoceratops is an early member of the suborder Ceratopsia, a group of dinosaurs that includes the famous Triceratops. So much information in one name!
The name Ornithomimus is equally revealing. This name means ‘Bird Mimic’, and it’s easy to see why! Ornithomimus was a slim, bipedal dinosaur, looking very much like modern day flightless birds, such as ostriches and emus. They are one species that really helps me to understand the connections between non-avian dinosaurs and the avian dinosaurs we see flying, hopping, swimming, and running today!
Which dinosaur name is your favourite (Futalognkosaurus, anyone)?
- Liz Butler is an artist and teacher who loves natural history and museums. She loves drawing, painting, and making crafts of all kinds. She is happiest when she can find ways to combine art projects with science content.
- Liz’s Website – Liz Butler Draws
- Liz’s Blog – Saw Whet Studio
- More guest posts from Liz HERE!
- Do you like to sketch? Love museums? Are you a full time student in Canada? The ROM is yours to explore, FREE, every Tuesday! MORE!
Guest Post By Liz Butler. Last Updated: February 1st, 2014.