FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA CONTACT: Jody Tresoor, Manager of Marketing & Communications, 204-228-2374, [email protected]
(Winnipeg, MB: May 16, 2022) Prehistory takes on 21st-century technology beginning this Saturday, May 21, when Ultimate Dinosaurs, a blockbuster exhibition featuring fully-articulated dinosaur skeletons from unusual locations in the Southern Hemisphere, opens at the Manitoba Museum.
Wednesday, May 18 • 10 am – 2 pm.
Please contact Jody Tresoor at 204-228-2374 or [email protected]
to arrange for interviews with
Dr. Graham Young, Curator of Geology & Paleontology.
Based on groundbreaking research from scientists around the world, Ultimate Dinosaurs reveals dinosaurs that evolved in isolation in South America, Africa and Madagascar – dinosaurs that are unfamiliar to most North Americans. The exhibition seeks to answer the question: why are southern dinosaurs so unique and bizarre, and why are they so different from their North American counterparts?
“This isn’t your typical dinosaur exhibition,” says Dr. Graham Young, Curator of Geology & Paleontology at the Manitoba Museum. “Ultimate Dinosaurs features incredible, rarely-seen specimens and colorful environments combined with new technology to create virtual experiences. It’s a powerful example of how augmented reality can bring the deep past to life.”
In addition to seeing the specimens, learning more about the adaptations that made these dinosaurs unique, and using augmented reality technology to make them come to life, visitors to Ultimate Dinosaurs can expect hands-on activities that will help them explore physical characteristics like crests and frills, stride patterns, and more.
The exhibition tells the story of the break-up of supercontinent Pangaea into the continents that we know today and the ways that continental drift affected the evolution of dinosaurs during the Mesozoic Era, 250 to 65 million years ago. As Pangaea divided first into Laurasia in the north and Gondwana in the south, and later into the many continents we know today, dinosaurs were passengers on these drifting land masses. Visitors to Ultimate Dinosaurs will discover that an amazing diversity of species evolved as a result of this phenomenon. Their imposed geographic location helped promote the evolution of these dinosaurs into an incredible array of unusual forms that dominated wherever they lived.
Some of the dinosaurs featured in the Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibition include:
- Giganotosaurus, the largest carnivorous dinosaur from Gondwana and perhaps the largest land predator ever. Giganotosaurus is similar in size to Laurasia’s more famous Tyrannosaurus rex.
- Suchomimus, a spinosaur from the Sahara Desert in Niger. This animal was 33 feet long and would have weighed more than 6,600 pounds.
- Eoraptor, a bipedal dinosaur that lived about 228 million years ago that had two different kinds of teeth – both serrated and flat – indicating that it was an omnivore.
- Malawisaurus, one of the earliest titanosaurs, was a sauropod from Africa. Like most titanosaurs, Malawisaurus had bones in its skin, similar to those in modern crocodiles.
- Majungasaurus, a theropod from Madagascar. Extensive research on this species of dinosaur determined that, at least some of the time, it demonstrated cannibalistic behavior.
Ultimate Dinosaurs is produced by the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto and presented by the Science Museum of Minnesota.
DINOSAURS: A Story of Survival! Planetarium Show also Opens May 21
The adventure continues with Dinosaurs: A Story of Survival! a full-dome Planetarium show that also opens on May 21, 2022. This journey through time presents the incredible variety of dinosaurs that ruled our planet’s past. Celeste, a young girl fascinated by dinosaurs, travels with her wise and magical friend Moon on an amazing adventure and learns that not all dinosaurs went extinct. This show is appropriate for all ages.
Ultimate Dinosaurs runs from Saturday, May 21 through to Monday, September, 5, 2022 in Alloway Hall at the Manitoba Museum. The Manitoba Museum, including the Planetarium and Science Gallery, is open Thursday to Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm, from May 21 to June 26. Starting June 27, the Museum will be open seven days a week, including holidays, until September 5. The Museum is also open for First Fridays from 5 pm to 9 pm.
Admission for the blockbuster exhibit Ultimate Dinosaurs and the Planetarium show Dinosaurs: A Story of Survival is $24 for adults, $22 for seniors, and $19 for youth (3-17 years old). Members pay $10 for Ultimate Dinosaurs and see the Planetarium show for FREE. Tickets and more information are available at ManitobaMuseum.ca.
For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Manager of Marketing & Communications
E: [email protected]
T: 204-988-0614 • C: 204-228-2374
Like many of you, I am eagerly awaiting spring so that I can start planting my vegetable garden. There’s nothing better than eating bruschetta with freshly harvested vine-ripened tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) and steamed green beans (Phaseolus sp.) with fried cream (see recipes at the end). My mouth drools just thinking about it! But the funny thing about tomatoes and green beans is that they are not actually vegetables: they are fruits masquerading as vegetables.
In fact, there are many other things we think of as vegetables that are actually fruits: avocados (Persea americana), cucumber (Cucumis sativus), eggplant (Solanum melongena), okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), olives (Olea europaea), peppers (Capsicum spp.), snow peas (Pisum sativum), squashes including pumpkin (Cucurbita spp.), tomatillos (Physalis spp.) and zucchini (Cucurbita pepo). We tend to define fruits as plant parts that are sweet and vegetables as plant parts that are not sweet. However, botanically, a fruit is a ripened ovary that contains seeds inside it, so all of the aforementioned plants meet the definition of a “fruit”, even though we rarely eat them the way we eat fruit (in a pie with ice cream!). For this reason, some people call them “vegetable fruits”.
Complicating things further is the fact that the fleshy parts of some “fruits”, like apples (Malus domesticus), pears (Pyrus spp.) and strawberries (Fragaria spp.), are not actually ripened ovaries at all, but greatly enlarged fleshy petals, or upper flower stalks (see Why a Strawberry is not a Fruit for a more thorough explanation).
“Aha” you might be thinking, what about bananas (Musa spp.)? They don’t have seeds. You may have noticed though, that there are little black specks inside bananas; those are tiny ovules (unfertilized seeds) that never ripened because the plants are sterile. Since people don’t usually like spitting out seeds, plant breeders have found ways to produce sterile, seedless varieties (often with an odd number of chromosomes) of certain plants such as citrus fruits, watermelons (Citrullus lanatus) and bananas.
There are actually four different kinds of vegetables, which vary according to the part of the plant you are actually eating: roots, stems, leaves, or inflorescences. Root vegetables are either fairly slender taproots (e.g. carrots or Daucus carota), or swollen, tuberous roots (e.g. sweet potato or Ipomoea batatas). Roots store starch that the plant can use the following year to grow new leaves.
Some of the vegetables we eat consist of stems (e.g. corms, tubers and rhizomes) or leaves (e.g. bulbs) that grow underground. Like roots, these structures are fleshy and store starch. However, corms grow upright and rhizomes grow horizontally. Tubers, on the other hand, can grow in any direction. Tubers also possess tiny “eyes” all over it that represent leaf buds. For this reason, you can plant a single tuber (or just part of it as long as there is an “eye” on it), and it will grow into a whole new plant.
The non-green parts of bulbs, like onions (Allium cepa), are actually special, fleshy leaves that store starch. Some vegetables, like broccoli (Brassica oleracea), actually consist of upper stems and unopened flowers, known as inflorescences. See the table below to find out what your favorite vegetables actually are.
Table 1. Plant parts that vegetables represent.
|Main plant part||Category||Examples|
|Root||Beets, burdock, carrot, cassava, celeriac, daikon, horseradish, parsnip, radish, rutabaga, sugar beet, sweet potato (Ipomoea), turnip|
|Stem (above ground)||Stalk||Asparagus, bamboo shoots, celery, cinnamon, fiddleheads, heart of palm, kohlrabi, rhubarb|
|Stem (below ground)||Corm||Taro, water chestnut|
|Rhizome||Galagal, ginger, lotus, turmeric, wasabi|
|Tuber||Jicama, oca, potato, sunchokes, yam (Dioscorea)|
|Leaf (below ground)||Bulbs||Garlic, leeks, onion, shallots|
|Leaf (above ground)||Greens||Arugula, bok choi, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, Chinese mustard, dandelion, endive, goosefoot, herbs (e.g. basil, oregano, rosemary), kale, lettuce, mustard greens, nettle, rocket, spinach, sorrel, Swiss chard, watercress|
|Inflorescences||Artichoke, broccoli, capers (flower buds), cauliflower, rapini|
To finish off, here are two of my favorite “vegetable fruit” recipes. Unfortunately, you’ll just have to wait a few more months to try them.
Coarsely chop however many fresh tomatoes you want to eat, and put in a bowl. Mix in coarsely chopped onions and some sliced fresh basil. Pour in enough olive oil and balsamic vinegar to generously coat. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Let sit for 15 minutes. Heap onto garlic toast and savour the flavour of summer!
Beans with Fried Cream
Steam fresh yellow or green wax beans until tender. Meanwhile, finely chop some onion and sauté with butter till golden over medium heat. Add cream to pan and cook, stirring until thickened. Add paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Pour over cooked beans and toss. Bon appétit!
Bison rubbing stones are icons of the prairies. These large stones were originally transported south by Ice Age glaciers, then left behind on the prairies when the glaciers melted and receded roughly 12,000 years ago. They are therefore considered to be a form of fieldstone, and such large blocks of fieldstone are commonly called glacial erratics.
In the millennia since the glaciers left this region, rubbing stones have undergone a lengthy and intensive polishing process. These are boulders that were tall enough that they were made use of by itchy bison, who needed to shed their heavy winter coats or scratch after being bitten by flies and mosquitoes. The rubbing by bison over such a long time interval, along with the oils from the animals’ hides, gives rubbing stones a distinctive patina, and a rubbing stone is typically surrounded by a ring of flattened, eroded earth.
For our new Prairies Gallery, we knew that we wanted to include this sort of defining prairie element as a full-sized touchable piece, but we also knew that a cast or sculpted stone just wouldn’t do it. We had to acquire a real stone, and it had to be light enough that it could be moved into our gallery and placed safely on the gallery floor for an indefinite period of time. Since the gallery’s weight allowance is quite limited, how could this possibly be done?
As was the case for our fieldstone wall, we discussed this with stonemason Todd Braun quite early in the gallery development process. Although we thought that there should be a real boulder in the gallery, we also knew that it could not be a recognized rubbing stone, as those are heritage objects that should be left undisturbed in their original locations. Instead, Todd suggested that he could acquire a boulder of suitable size and rock type from gravel pits in the Morden area, and that he would prepare the boulder so that it could meet the floor loading limits and other requirements for placement in our gallery.
Todd located the stone in late 2019, and we first saw it during a visit to his workshop in February, 2020. It is a very substantial boulder of migmatite, a high-grade metamorphic rock with aligned layers of minerals, which was formed under great heat and pressure deep in the Earth. Todd explained how he planned to cut off one end of the boulder so that it would be lighter and so that it would be stable standing on the floor. He would then use cutting and grinding power tools to hollow out the stone, starting from that flat end. It would therefore still look like a large solid boulder, but it would actually be more like a thick-shelled egg, with much of its internal mass replaced by air.
Once we had a plan in place, the boulder had to wait until Todd had the time to prepare it. He was busy completing the fieldstone wall for our gallery, and was not able to turn his attention to the boulder until the fall of 2020. The cutting and hollowing of the stone turned out to be very labour intensive; the rock was very hard, and Todd was also afraid that fractures might develop if he tried to remove too much rock at once, or pushed too hard on it. It would have been a disaster to have the boulder go to pieces at this stage!
Todd told us that we were getting our money’s worth, since the job was more work than he had anticipated, but the hollowing out was completed by late November. He was also able to put a bit of a polish on the outer surface of the stone, to mimic the effect of rubbing by thousands of bison.
Todd used his tractor to lift the boulder into the back of his truck. Very early one morning, he drove to Winnipeg before there was significant traffic on the roads. The truck was backed into our loading dock, the hoist was attached to the heavy-duty straps that Todd had placed beneath the boulder, and the stone was lifted very smoothly onto a pallet jack. We were grateful at this stage that the boulder had lost so much of its original weight!
We had a crew of four on hand to assist Todd with moving the boulder into the gallery: an expert construction manager, and three curators to provide the grunt labour. Since we had measured all the doorways and halls in advance of this move, we knew that there would be a few tricky spots during the stone’s travel through the building, but that it should just fit through all of those.
First, we trundled it down a long corridor and through the Museum’s workshops, then out into the Welcome Gallery. Since there was new flooring in the galleries, we had to begin laying down sheets of board when we left the workshop space. There were several large plywood sheets, so it was a matter of laying down a row of boards along the planned path, then lifting each board after we passed over it, and moving it to the front of the other boards so that there would always be a safe surface for the pallet jack.
The stone turned out to have a bit of a “mind of its own” when it came to the direction our route would take, and there was some manoeuvring required to get it lined up with the doorway that would take us into the Winnipeg Gallery area. This gallery was another tight spot, and after some discussion and changing of direction, the boulder slipped through. We then had a clear run to its final location by the Pronghorn Diorama.
The pallet jack was rolled to the location that had been selected for the boulder’s final position, and the stone was gently (VERY gently!) shifted onto some large wedges that Todd had brought along for the task. By levering with heavy pry bars, the wedges could be gradually removed and the boulder settled into place.
The next time you are in our new Prairies Gallery, I hope you will take a good look at the rubbing stone and other exhibits. Many Museum exhibits may look like simple things, but the stories behind them are often quite complicated!
A Manitoba winter, especially this one, without the friendly, buzzy, “chick-a-dee-dee” calls of our neighbourhood black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) would be that much harder to endure. The prolonged cold spells, incredible wind chills, and many blizzards made these birds and their cheery presence even more welcome at our backyard feeders. But while we were entertained watching from behind the window of a warm house, these tiny, 14-gram balls of fluff (just a little heavier than a AAA battery) were flitting about outside in -35°C temperatures amidst blowing snow. How do they do it?!
There certainly is a long list of challenges for a small bird to survive a northern winter. Low temperatures are the obvious one. Small animals have a higher surface to volume ratio than larger animals, meaning they expose relatively more body surface to the elements per gram of weight – small animals lose heat more quickly than large animals. Chickadees have a normal body temperature of about 40°C, meaning that on a day of -40°C (not unusual over much of its northern distribution in Manitoba) there is an 80°C gradient through 2 cm of feathers from outside air to skin. And winter days are short, meaning fewer daylight hours to gather enough food to maintain that body temperature.
Chickadees have several adaptations to fend off winter’s worst. Feathers, as some of us know from our down-filled parkas, are extraordinarily good insulation. But all adult birds have feathers, and most migrate south for winter. So what else do chickadees do?
Well, our chickadees are likely to be extra buff in winter! Relatives of Manitoban chickadees have been shown to have chest muscles up to 30% larger in winter than in summer. Chickadees spend little time in continuous flight in their daily activities, so why would these flight muscles get bigger in winter? These larger chest muscles are vital sources of heat production. Chickadees use bursts of shivering to create heat and these muscles do that work, as well as power flight.
Chickadees are also big energy-savers. Like some of us that turn the house thermostat down at night to save energy while we are asleep, chickadees also turn down their thermostats at night using what is called nocturnal hypothermia. Chickadees reduce their body temperatures by as much as 10°C and this can provide a 50% energy savings overnight! One study showed that even reducing body temperature by only 8°C can increase the time to when a chickadee needs to eat to re-fuel by well over an hour. This extra time could spell the difference between overnight survival and death.
Finding a warm roosting spot to stay overnight is also important. Hunkering down in a tree cavity provides a microclimate where heat loss is minimized. Tree cavities can provide an effective temperature difference almost 15°C higher than at an exposed site. This can mean an additional 35% energy saving and greatly increase fasting endurance, the time between required feedings, by seven hours! On very cold days, chickadees spend almost ¾ of their time at their roosting site. This explains why our backyard feeders, just when you might think they would be busiest, seem mysteriously chickadee-free on very cold, windy days.
But when chickadees wake up in the morning and do need to feed, what are they eating and where are they finding it? In summer, chickadees eat mostly insects but in winter, when it is more difficult to find overwintering insect eggs, larvae, and adults, about half of their diet is seeds and berries. Chickadees are opportunistic and readily visit feeders. But they are not reliant on feeders to get through the winter, in part because they store food!
Chickadees are famous for taking seeds and berries and caching them in a hiding spot, and rarely in the same place. This reduces the risk of losing access to food in the future. On a tough winter day there is a store of available food. And having many, separate places protects this important food source; if all the seeds are hidden at the same spot, perhaps a squirrel, mouse, or other bird might discover them and have a feast, or poor weather might destroy the cache. Having hundreds of individual, safer hiding spots does create a different problem, however. The chickadee needs to remember where to find them all again. Research has shown that chickadees are up to the task, able to recall the locations of hundreds, even thousands, of stored seeds – for up to a month!
Chickadees that rely on stored food have a relatively enlarged part of the brain, the hippocampus, that is important for spatial memory. Although some research initially suggested that the hippocampus increases in size in the fall, potentially to accommodate these memories, more recent work is inconclusive. However, it is no less spectacular that chickadees in harsher northern climates, that would be expected to have a heavier reliance on stored seeds, have a larger hippocampus with more and larger neurons than do chickadees in southern populations. This does suggest that natural selection in a harsher climate has favoured individuals with heritable traits that increase spatial memory.
The next time you see a black-capped chickadee flitting about on a frigid day, perhaps consider all that is going on inside that tiny ball of fluff to get it through the winter. Chickadees do make even our coldest winters cheerier, but there is a lot of serious work going on under that black cap.
If you can’t find a chickadee outside, you can see them in the Boreal Forest and Parklands galleries in the Manitoba Museum. And you can learn about winter adaptations of many kinds of animals throughout the galleries.
[For further, more detailed summaries of chickadee winter biology, see: Pravasudov, V.V. et al. (2015) Environmental influences on spatial memory and the hippocampus in food-caching chickadees. Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews, 10, 25–43.; Olsen, J.R. (2009) Metabolic performance and distribution in black-capped (Poecile atricapillus) and Carolina chickadees (P. carolinensis). PhD Dissertation, The Ohio State University.]
Post by Nancy Anderson, Collections Management Specialist (Human History)
Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has played a central, and disruptive role in all our lives. In the coming decades will COVID become a significant cultural memory, or will we begin to suffer from historic amnesia? Terabytes of information may be deposited in archives around the world. For museums, even ordinary artifacts will become powerful tools to engage visitors.
At the Manitoba Museum, there were no artifacts with which we could relate the story of the influenza pandemic of a century ago. Museums around the world saw the need to begin collecting today for tomorrow. A call was put out for objects that would help mark this event from the Manitoba perspective. To date, over 70 Manitobans have responded to the call.
Over the past months, as I have been integrating these objects and their stories into the permanent collections of the Manitoba Museum, I have been amazed by the breadth and variety of the items. Here’s an initial glimpse our growing COVID-19 collection.
Can you pinpoint the moment that the pandemic became a reality in your life? Leslie Nakonechny’s employer offered to cover her taxi fare so that she could transport her desktop computer as she headed to work from home. Initially she thought the pandemic would blow over in a few weeks and that she could turn in her receipt once they were back to working on-site. As the lockdown continued the receipt became a memento in her wallet.
Manitoba’s volunteer spirit was evident early in the pandemic. Sewing machines were dusted off and used to create thousands of masks, gowns, and surgical caps to protect health care workers, friends, and family. We all strove to maintain a sense of community during the pandemic. Signs sprang up in windows, on fences, and along walking paths offering messages of encouragement.
In early 2020, graphic images of a spiked ball began popping up in the media as stories circulated of a new, potentially dangerous virus. Soon the image was being used in inventive ways. The creativity of Manitobans is evident in many of the donations that use a wide variety of media.
The artists’ statements that accompany many of the pieces demonstrate how people seek solace in the arts in a time of disruption. Christen Rachul stamped his pottery with a tiny letter ‘Q’ for Quarantine. Gail Wence took up her embroidery needle, Jacqueline Trudeau her paint brush, and Laurie Fischer returned to writing poetry.
New phrases were added to our everyday vocabulary like “social distancing”, “essential workers”, “lockdown”, “pivot”, and “supply-chain”. The impact on the business community is still significant. Remember hunting for toilet paper?
Genevieve Delaquis spent her time in line capturing many of the decals that told customers where to stand for their safety. There were also new opportunities. U of W students Alex Kroft and Niels Hurst launched a summer business producing 3-D printed face shields for front-line workers.
Manitoba families endured long periods of separation during lockdowns that robbed them of the opportunity to celebrate life’s milestones. Grandchildren were introduced to family via Zoom. Young people graduated virtually.
With the stores closed for all but essential items, Donalda Johnson created pom poms out of plastic grocery bags and decorated cars for a friend’s retirement parade. 96-year-old Helen Rempel quietly crocheted Christmas ornaments for each of her 26 immediate family members who would not be gathering in person.
Some of the most impactful artifacts were created by children. Many of the items illustrate the efforts of parents, caregivers, and teachers to help young Manitobans cope with the upheaval in their lives. For some, letter writing and drawing allowed them reach out to the community.
Grade 12 student Kendra Radey wrote and illustrated Robby’s Life Lesson to teach children about COVID safety.
Public Health officials and politicians tell us we are moving into a ‘new normal’. It is hard to predict when the Museum will be ready to create a retrospective exhibit about the pandemic. As I write this blog, I am aware that I have omitted many of donations. But in the years to come, the COVID-19 collection may be used in museum exhibits and programs or by students, historians, writers, film makers, and others to tell our story.