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An Exhibit with Teeth

The Jaws and Teeth Exhibit, 2007
(photo by Hans Thater)

(photo by Hans Thater)

Since one function of the blog is to focus on our collections, it seems like a good place to occasionally revisit past exhibits, especially those showing items that are normally stored away in the back rooms.

(photo by Hans Thater)

(photo by Hans Thater)

I was particularly pleased by the Jaws and Teeth exhibit, which was curated by Randy Mooi and me a few years ago. We combined zoological and paleontological specimens to demonstrate vertebrate anatomy and evolution, with a particular focus on adaptations for eating.

Walrus case is front and centre as you enter the room (photo: Randy Mooi)

This walrus skull was front and centre as you entered the room (photo: Randy Mooi).

We loved doing this exhibit. To us, it was an opportunity to explore some of the best aspects of the traditional Natural History museum. And the public seemed to thoroughly enjoy it; we would always see family groups in the exhibit, animatedly discussing the various skulls and comparing their similarities. It really showed us that traditional exhibits can still fulfil an important function in the modern museum!

This case of shark jaws and teeth highlighted the adaptations of one of the most long-lived vertebrate groups (photo by Hans Thater)

This case of shark jaws and teeth highlighted the adaptations of one of the most long-lived vertebrate groups (photo by Hans Thater)

Mounted jaws of the Tiger Shark, Galeocerdo.

Mounted jaws of the Tiger Shark, Galeocerdo, show how the teeth are continuously replaced like objects on a conveyor belt!

This case exhibited the diversity of mammal groups, both living and fossil (photo by Hans Thater)

This case exhibited the diversity of mammal groups, both living and fossil (photo by Hans Thater).

“]A human skull is compared to the skulls of other mammals. The beaver skull on the lower right is from an animal that had a displaced jaw. Its [incisor] grew continuously until it met the skull! (photo by Hans Thater)

A human skull is compared to the skulls of other mammals. The beaver skull on the lower right is from an animal that had a displaced jaw, so that the teeth did not meet and wear normally. Its lower right incisor grew continuously until it met the skull! (photo by Hans Thater)

These are the skulls of familiar creatures such as dog, cat, pig, and pigeon.

These are the skulls of familiar creatures such as dog, cat, pig, and pigeon.

The skulls of carnivorous mammals are of great interest, and merited their own case. That is a polar bear, top and centre.

The skulls of carnivorous mammals are of great interest, and merited their own case.

Skulls of a polar bear (left) and wolf (photo by Randy Mooi)

Skulls of a polar bear (left) and wolf (photo by Randy Mooi)

Skulls of a variety of "reptiles" and birds. A modern crocodile is compared to one from the Eocene Epoch, showing how little these creatures have changed in the last 50 million years!

Skulls of a variety of "reptiles" and birds. A modern crocodile is compared to one from the Eocene Epoch, showing how little these creatures have changed in the last 50 million years!

(photo by Hans Thater)

(photo by Hans Thater)

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Graham Young

Curator of Geology & Paleontology

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Graham Young grew up in Fredericton, New Brunswick. After doing a B.Sc. in biology at the University of New Brunswick, he switched to geology and did an M.Sc. in paleontology at the University of Toronto. After completing a Ph.D. at the University of New Brunswick in 1988, Graham spent two years in Newcastle, England, studying fossils from the Island of Gotland, Sweden. He moved to Winnipeg in 1990 to do research at the University of Manitoba, and has worked at the Manitoba Museum since 1993.

At the Museum, Graham’s curatorial work involves all aspects of geology and paleontology. He is responsible for building the collections, dealing with public inquiries, and preparing exhibits. Over the years, Graham’s research has become broader in scope, moving from specialist studies of fossil corals, towards research on ancient environments, ecosystems, and unusual fossils such as jellyfish and horseshoe crabs. Most of his current field research is on sites in the Grand Rapids Uplands and elsewhere in northern Manitoba.