Archive for November 5th, 2010

Great Migrations

by Katie Bowell, Curator of Cultural Interpretation

So, what’s everyone doing this Sunday night? Sitting down with a big bowl of popcorn to watch National Geographic’s new series, Great Migrations? Me, too!

I’m so excited for this new seven-part series starting this Sunday at 8:00 p.m.  (especially since Terry Burton, our Digital Media Coordinator saw a sneak peak last week and hasn’t stop raving about it). The recent, grand-scale documentaries that have come out (remember Life?) have raised the bar on cinematography, scope and story, and from what I’ve seen and heard, Great Migrations is pushing the bar even higher.

And almost as amazing as watching the footage of monarch, zebras, jellies and elephants? Learning how filmmakers were able to capture that footage. Over  two years, the film crew spent 350 hours in trees, 500 hours in blinds and 400 hours underwater, and they’ve included “Behind the Scenes” episodes in the series so we can learn the stories behind the stories.

Now that’s how you film red crabs on Christmas Island!

For a complete list of episodes and air times, visit National Geographic. Episode One, “Born to Move,” premiers this Sunday.

A Couple of Science “Quick Hits”

by Terry Burton, Digital Media Coordinator

Just thought we’d share a couple of interesting science news bits that we’ve come across lately.

First up: TED, the Twitter Earthquake Detector.

Created by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), TED is a prototype system that tracks Twitter responses to earthquakes. According to the USGS, TED

…gathers real-time, earthquake-related messages from the social networking site Twitter and applies place, time, and key word filtering to gather geo-located accounts of shaking. This approach provides rapid first-impression narratives and, potentially, photos from people at the hazard’s location. The potential for earthquake detection in populated but sparsely seismicly-instrumented regions is also being investigated.

Pretty cool.

Closer to home, and sure to please all you dinosaur fans out there, is news from the Morrison Natural History Museum about the discovery of a set of tracks believed to have been left by juvenile sauropods — running.

The find was revealed at Monday’s 2010 Geological Society of America Annual Meeting and Exposition in Denver (read the abstract here). If this interpretation holds up, it most likely represents the first evidence that these massive, long-necked herbivores locomoted at anything other than a leisurely saunter. Plus, the lack of foreleg prints and tail marks indicates that young sauropods may have run on their hindlegs, holding their tails off the ground.

Some people are saying the sauropods may have run like this guy,

Basilisk lizard running

while others argue that the way sauropod legs are positioned under their bodies would make that style of running impossible. Further analysis of the paper and the tracks will tell us more.

Read about it here: Dinosaur footprints yield clues to running behavior and here: Did wee little sauropods stand up to run?

November 2010

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