The American Museum of Natural History is one of the biggest museums in the world. It is really impossible to see everything on display there in one day. That being said, what is available to visitors is only a small fraction of what actually goes on at this place. There are halls and halls of shelves upon shelves of specimens deep in the depths of this museum that are only available to employees and volunteers there who study them. This is because in addition to an educational facility for the public, the museum is also a leading research facility. (not just in paleontology, either!) Just so you know, the American Museum of Natural History has the most dinosaur fossils out of any museum in the world. Don't ask exactly how many, because nobody there has bothered to count...but it's the most. There are many fossils back there, many of which have Yet to be studied and some that haven't even left their jackets since coming in from the field. One could complete enough research to obtain a PhD back there without ever actually going into the field to dig anything up! (Which would be kind of lame since fieldwork is pretty fun.) If we never unearthed another new dinosaur fossil ever again, we'd still be discovering new things from this stash alone for a lifetime.
|Just a small part of the labyrinth of fossil shelves at the AMNH|
Wayne and I quickly met up with paleontologist, Carl Mehling, who is the collections manager of vertebrate paleontology. He showed me a lot of cool fossils, some of which have not been published on yet, so I can't post any pictures online. (I didn't even take photos of those, actually.) But there were still plenty of cool specimens I am allowed to share with you!
The American Museum of Natural History is probably most known for doing a lot of excavating of Mongolian dinosaur fossils. The monumental Citipati that died while brooding its nest was found by the museum's team, as well as the very first known Velociraptor, to name a few. When I was back there, they were in the process of getting two other beautifully-preserved Mongolian dinosaur skeletons cast. These oviraptorids, called Khaan, nicknamed Romeo and Juliet, are interesting because they were discovered right next to each other with their hands touching. Aw.
|Section of Lambeosaurus tail with preserved skin. Check out all those tiny mosaic-like scales!|
|Slab containing several Coelophysis specimens at the AMNH|
So the next time you visit the museum, remember that for every fossil that you see on display, there are many many more down below! It's exciting to imagine what new discoveries are still to be made right under our noses!