Photos from the AMNH (yet again)

22 09 2007

Here are a few of the photos I took today during my visit to the AMNH. I decided to be “adventurous” and take exclusively B&W shots, hoping to better convey the mood of some of the fossils (or their replicas) that I was looking at. I’ll leave you to be the judge as to whether any of them succeeded in giving more life to the old bones than I have been able to do with color photography.

Allosaurus
The relatively gracile (at least compared to the specimen on the 4th floor, see below), yet dynamic mount of Allosaurus in the Grand Rotunda of the AMNH.

Allosaurus
The skull of the 4th floor Allosaurus, the famous mount being bent over the chewed vertebral column of an Apatosaurus.

Skull
Skull of the “Bear Dog” Amphicyon, a member of the Carnivora from the 4th floor mammal halls. Notice the big saggital crest, the placement of the cheekbones further out from the head, and lack of bone that (while typically not closed at the back) would normally surround the eye. This creature would have had an incredibly powerful bite.

Hyaenodon
Indeed, the skull of Amphicyon reminded me of that of the creodont Hyaenodon. Again, notice the sagittal crest, the cheekbones placed further out from the skull, and the near lack of bone that would enclose the eye. While smaller than the “Bear Dog,” I still wouldn’t want to cross a Hyaenodon on a bad day.

Hoplophoneus
Compare both those skulls with that of the nimravid Hoplophoneus and you’ll see what I mean. Hoplophoneus doesn’t have as prominent a sagittal crest, and although it still seemed to have large jaw muscles, there isn’t the same degree of reduction of bone surrounding the eye as is seen in the previous two mammals.

Smilodon
And, if you like, you can compare them further still with this Smilodon that had broken off it’s left canine. Such occurrences were likely painful, debilitating, and possibly even eventually fatal, and it makes me wonder if this one died as a result of it’s wound or if it continued to survive for some time longer (which opens up all sorts of questions).

Smilodon
A close-up of a more intact Smilodon.

Giant Anteater
A stuffed Giant Anteater from the Hall of Biodiversity. I much prefer photographing lives xenarthrans, however.

Apatosaurus
Apatosaurus is the first sight to grace visitors entering the Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs.

Apatosaurus
The robust neck of Apatosaurus looms high above.

Apatosaurus print
Casts of the sauropod footprints R.T. Bird found in Paluxy, TX.

Apatosaurus
Apatosaurus from the rear.

Barosaurus
The head of Barosaurus, held up to (perhaps literally) dizzying heights.

Barosaurus foot
One of the forelimbs of Barosaurus, held out threateningly at the Allosaurus in the first photo.

Barosaurus
The head of a mini-reconstruction of Barosaurus.

Stegosaurus
The juvenile Stegosaurus model was pretty impressive, too.

Camarasaurus
A skull of Camarasaurus.

Biosphere
One of the largest self-contained “bioshpheres” I have ever seen. The little dots are shrimp.

Corythosaurus
One of the most wonderfully preserved (and in my opinion, publicly unappreciated) skeletons every found; a complete and articulated Corythosaurus with skin impressions, collected from the Red Deer River region of Canada.

Corythosaurus
A juvenile hadrosaur, probably either Corythosaurus or Lambeosaurus. I ran back and forth looking at skulls to try and figure it out, but the skull of the juvenile is slightly distorted, so (me being without access and a CAT scan at hand) I wasn’t able to confirm or deny my leaning towards my hypothesis of it being a Corythosaurus.

Deinonychus
A reconstruction of a Deinonychus skull. I looked at the forearms of the skeleton for signs of feather attachments (as had just been announced for Velociraptor by AMNH scientists) but I couldn’t see any, nor could I get close enough to get a good look.

Pigeon
Outside, one of it’s distant, extant relatives took a sip from a small puddle.

Edaphosaurus
The skull of the synapsid Edaphosaurus.

Elasmosaurus
The toothy jaws of Elasmosaurus.

Giant Squid
The famous Giant Squid that spreads its tentacles above the Hall of Biodiversity.

Gorgosaurus
The skull of Gorgosaurus, formerly Albertosaurus (although this specimen was first introduced to me as Gorgosaurus in the first place…)

Meteor
Perspective on a large, iron meteorite.

Pretosuchus
One of my most favorite mounts in the entire museum; Prestosuchus.

Triceratops
A close-up of Triceratops.

Tyrannosaurus
The most popular dinosaur in the museum, Tyrannosaurus rex.

Tyrannosaurus
The crushing jaws of Tyrannosaurus.

Leopard
A stuffed Leopard, posed over a peacock. This is another animal I would much rather photograph while living.

Charlotte
And last but not least, my little cat Charlotte, silhouetted against the evening light while she watched the birds outside.

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13 responses

23 09 2007
Christopher Taylor

You know, sometimes, I get really jealous of you Northern Hemisphere types with your massive institutions.

The black-and-white photography doesn’t work so well for the live or stuffed animals and models. It’s absolutely brilliant for the fossil mounts, though – it really seems to make them leap out at you. That Amphicyon would have any kid checking under their bed for a week. Plus the detail’s probably easier to make out than a colour photo would be.

23 09 2007
Michael Barton

What kind of camera are you using?

23 09 2007
mark

When I was living in NJ I used to enjoy hopping on the train into NYC to visit the AMNH. My photos were much less impressive, however, as I had a rather simple camera and flash.
I took a few geology courses at Rutgers, in the building that still houses the geology museum. Somewhat less impressive than the AMNH, but fun to hang around nonetheless.
I guess that’s a good enough excuse for tagging you, if you haven’t been tagged yet.

23 09 2007
laelaps

Thanks for the kind words everyone!

Chris; I agree about color usually being better for dioramas and critters with their flesh still on in general. There is one exception, however; gorillas always look better in B&W to my eye than in color.

Michael; I have a digital SLR, an Olympus E-300 which I purchased from eBay for about $350 (it was a floor model, so I got a break). I have two automatic digital lenses for it, although I usually use my 40-150mm one since it has a decent range and shallow depth of field (which works great when you’ve got an isolated subject in an open space).

Mark; Thank you for the tag, and I’ve responded in kind in a new post. I actually did some work this past summer in the RU Geology museum, although the spiral staircase leading to the 2nd floor minerals always giving me the impression it’s going to break. Unfortunately I don’t usually have time to visit the museum when it’s open (and many of the fossils are casts/replicas) but you’re right that it’s a fun place to visit. I wish I had more freedom to take some more geology courses here, but I’ve painted myself into a corner somewhat and the rest of my coursework is essentially (pardon the expression) set in stone.

23 09 2007
Zach Miller

That Prestosuchus looks nasty! Also, the reason you didn’t see any quill knobs on the Deinonychus forearm is because that skeleton is a hypothetical reconstruction. It MUST be, because Deinonychus forearms are unknown. :-D

23 09 2007
laelaps

Indeed, Zach; I wouldn’t want to mess with Prestosuchus. Thanks for the info about the Deinonychus forearms, although I have to admit that it puzzles me a bit. Most of the skeleton (primarily the skull) appears to a be sculpture or a cast, but the radius and ulna of the suspended mount appeared to be actual bone. I’ll have to take another look when I’m back there and ask a few questions, I suppose.

24 09 2007
johannes

> That Amphicyon would have any kid
> checking under their bed for a week.

Many people – including me, I have to admit – laughed out loud when Sorkin rated the firepower of Amphicyon ahead of such well known monsters as Arctodus, Megistotherium (or is this Hyaenailurus?), Sarkastrodon and Andrewsarchus. But when I look at this awesome skull, I think perhaps Sorkin might have the last laugh. This beast looks like more than a match for any other mammalian terrestrial predator except, perhaps, the largest entelodonts (and armed humans).

24 09 2007
Zach Miller

Hmmm…actual bone, eh? Yeah, find out about that for me, sir. As far as I’m aware, no good material has been discovered since Ostrom’s original 1969 findings (including the famous Deinonychus vs. Tenantosaurus bonebed). But hey, I could be wrong. It would be awesome if I was, actually. The more we find of Deinonychus, the better! It’s my favorite “core dromaeosaur!”

24 09 2007
John V. Jackson

Ah yes the giant anteater. The largest claws they say on any extant mammal, and have you noticed, it camouflages itself as a large crocodile. Imagine it’s standing sideways on but has its head turned to you. The big black and white zig-zag looks like the open jaws of a very large croc, and the anteater’s head from straight on just compresses into the bump at the end of the “crocs” top jaw!

26 09 2007
Sordes

Very nice photo, especially those of Amphicyon. This predators were really awfull, it is really sad that there is no comparable living animal.

30 09 2007
Terry Finch

I saw the Corythosaurus skin impression in the natural history in London many years ago and was completely blown away by this exhibit, I was trying to get a face on picture of it, I remember you could touch it, so I spent ages feeling the knobbly surface of this animal that has been dead for so many millions of years, unbelievable.

17 11 2009
How big were the biggest sauropod trackmakers? « Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

[…] tracks like the one below the fleshy foot is clearly not much wider than that (thanks, Brian, for the […]

6 04 2010
George Yotov

Very interesting site with nice photos! Did you know you could learn an easy trick how to make them even better looking at http://www.phototouchup.net ?

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