Visit to Texas Memorial Museum

Xradia microCT scanner at University of Texas

There have been lots of things going on lately, drawing my attention away from updating the blog.  Stay tuned, we’ve got some pretty cool projects in the pipeline.

Basement of the TMM

Last week I visited the Texas Memorial Museum in Austin, Texas. There, I was trying out their newish Xradia MicroCT scanner to collect some incredibly high resolution images of specimens (one is in the pipette tip in the middle of the picture) as well as working through their collections of extant and fossil archosaur material.

TMM’s collections are quite extensive, spanning everything from the Permian to the Pleistocene (it is a big state after all). I was able to study the face of the giant Cretaceous pterosaur Quetzlcoatlus, the jaws of the Permian synapsid Dimetrodon, and the skull of the Eocene crocodilian Pristichampsus, among other animals, largely those from the Triassic and Jurassic.

Trilophosaurus mandible

But damn the fossils, perhaps some of the most rewarding experiences included talking over specimens and history with the local faculty including Tim Rowe, Wann Langston, Ernie Lundelius, and Sterling Nesbitt. We can’t forget the most gracious of hosts, Matt Brown, who not only put me up during my stay, but who, with minimal scolding, quickly glued back the cusp of the Trilophosaurus tooth I broke while reenacting chewing behavior. One can’t always have a 3D, animated, trapeeze-swinging, hi resolution, strutting model handy to non-destructively test functional hypotheses.