Skip to content

Where Did My Summer Go?

August 10, 2018

Written by Ty’Shonna Sims

This Summer I had the opportunity to intern at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in the Paleontology Unit. This internship was funded by a National Science Foundation: Collections in support of Biological Research (NSF: CSBR) grant. Throughout the summer I have learned a lot!

Being “behind the scenes” in the museum is so amazing, I’ve learned many things and have dealt with various kinds of specimens. From re-housing invertebrate and vertebrate specimens, to cleaning dinosaur bones to help mitigate pyrites disease, how to take two dimensional pictures of specimens in the Paleobotany collection, and how to make three dimensional models of specimens through photogrammetry. Here are a couple of things I found interesting this summer!

Photo of a large tooth of Carcharodon Megalodon NCSM: 9545. The tooth is the gray-ish triangular-shaped object in the center of the image. It is sitting on a black, rectangular piece of foam, and the background is a grayish-white table surface.

A large tooth of Carcharodon megalodon NCSM: 9545

This picture is cool! Look how big that tooth is and it is super sharp. The tooth belonged to a Megalodon shark. Megalodon sharks were one of the largest predators that ever lived. Their large, serrated teeth would have enabled them to eat large fish and other sharks as well as whales.

Photo of Cretaceous crabs NCSM: 4946, NCSM: 5974 Avitelmessus grapsoideus. The crabs are the the grayish-brown objects in the center of the photo. They are sitting on a black rectangle of foam. The background is grayish.

Two Cretaceous crabs NCSM: 4946, NCSM: 5974 Avitelmessus grapsoideus.

This invertebrate must have been delicious. But I’m allergic! Avitellmessus grapsoideus is an extinct species of Cretaceous crab. There are over 4500 species of crabs most of which live in coastal areas. Some crabs like the Japanese spider crab can live to be 100 years old. Some things that are called crabs like “hermit crabs” and “horseshoe crabs” are not actually crabs.

A photo of two crabs showing their undersides. The crab on the left is a male, the crab on the right is a female.

Male (NCSM 5974) and female crab (NCSM:4946) Avitellmessus grapsoideus. These are the same crabs that were in the previous photo.

This summer I was taught how to tell this difference between a male and female crabs. This is a picture of the two Avitellmessus grapsoideus specimens flipped over. If the midsection of the abdomen is narrow, then it is a male. If the midsection of the abdomen is wide, it’s a female. Which makes sense because many female crabs carry their eggs. So, in this case the crab on the left is a male and the crab on the right is a female.

Photo of a large fossil tortoise shell. The turtle shell takes up most of the photo and is the large domed-shaped object sitting on a black rectangle.

Photo of a large fossil tortoise shell.

This tortoise shell is HUGE! It looks like a huge puzzle that someone had to put the pieces together.

Photo of one side of the skull of an Edmontosaurus NCSM: 23119. The skull takes up most of the photo.

One side of the skull of an Edmontosaurus NCSM: 23119.

Edmontosaurus which means “Edmonton Lizard”. This skull is really cool! I like it because someone has cleverly cut out a picture of an eye and placed it on the specimen, so it’s literally looking at you. This was a slow-moving dinosaur but had senses helped it to avoid predators. Edmontosaurus was a herbivore but as big as this is, it looks like if people lived at the same time as dinosaurs (which of course they didn’t), it might have wanted to eat humans too!

Having been an intern here this summer really puts into perspective of how wonderful this world is and how many things I never knew existed. There are still new fossils and species of live organisms yet to be discovered. I truly recommended doing things that are out of your comfort zone because I did and I learned a lot.

Ty’Shonna Sims’ internship was funded by a National Science Foundation Collections in Support of Biological Research (NSF:CSBR) grant awarded to the Paleontology Unit at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

 

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: