by Greg Mayer
Well, as previously noted, today is Darwin’s birthday and Mardi Gras. Laissez les bons temps rouler! At the Dinosaur Discovery Museum in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the festivities began on Sunday. I am happy to report that some WEIT readers made it to the Museum for the activities; unfortunately, they had left by the time I arrived fairly late in the day. The Museum exhibits consist of a hall containing a variety of dinosaurs, especially theropods, with most of the skeletons being high quality casts. The hall is big enough to contain a full size Tyrannosaurus, a full size Acrocanthosaurus, and many more.
For Darwin Day, little Charles Darwins, each giving some interesting facts about the dinosaurs, were scattered about the hall. They will remain as part of the permanent exhibit.
In addition, for Darwin Day my University of Wisconsin-Parkside colleagues Summer Ostrowski and Chris Noto had a table of fossils, casts, models, and kids’ activities set up in the foyer hall.
Also in the foyer, UWP grad student Sean Murphy had turtle shells and turtles on hand to help explain the evolution of turtles. Turtles, the quintessential charismatic mesofauna, have the most radically transformed body plan of any tetrapod: their shoulder and pelvic girdles are inside their rib cage. (Feel where your ribs are, and then your shoulders and hips, and then imagine how you would get both of the latter inside of the former!) The turtles were the hit of the day, and were featured in local news coverage (which I would link to except the Kenosha News website won’t show you anything at all without paying).
The turtles held a conference, no doubt favorably comparing their own mature self-knowledge to the frantic insecurities of their human companions.
Dr. Thomas Carr, director of the Carthage College Institute of Paleontology, which is housed at the Museum, was also on hand.
At the end, after the Museum closed, the dinosaurs had to return to their homes through the snow.