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Travel to Argentina and learn about the large dinosaur fossils found in La Buitrera.
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The exhibition is subdivided in a number of areas. We’re here at the very beginning and we’re here at the introductory portion. Here essentially we addressed issues such as for example the kind of homework that we had to do before setting on an expedition to a remote location. We need to find out whether we’re going to find or not the rocks that we need where the dinosaurs maybe and what’s the logistics of the place that we’re going to find. Roads, is it going to be dangerous or we’re going to find that the place is full of landmines and then we don’t want to go. I mean there number of things that needs to be addressed before going to a place especially when you go into the wild and we also show for example the most important events in the history of dinosaur egg research, we show how rare dinosaur embryos are with respect to dinosaur eggs and we show that dinosaur eggs in all sorts of sizes and shapes. We have them round, we have them elongate like that, we have even things that look like chicken eggs. In fact, we know that birds are a kind of dinosaur and therefore we placed some of the bird eggs in this display although those bird eggs are 80 million year old bird eggs. Then we make the transition from that into the introductory area into the field, we see a tent, crates that have tools and food and we’re in the field. We’re in this beautiful landscape of Patagonia where we see vast areas of Badlands and we see part of the recreations of the kind of work that we do when we go out in the field. For example, Frankie Jackson, one of our colleagues who work with us in Patagonia is mapping dinosaur egg. This is a quarry that’s been excavated and there she is measuring the depths of each egg and in the background we see a grid made of green balloons and the yellow or white balloons that you see between those green balloons are plotting dinosaur clutches. We hear the story of Frankie and how she got into paleontology and we learned that Frankie had a very interesting background that she actually got to be a paleontologist and went back to school when she was in her late 30s or 40s and then she had a whole life before and all of a sudden decided that this is what she wanted to do. We learned how we collect fossils in the field that we trenched them around and that we protect them with a jacket or plaster jacket and we see the different processes of egg collecting or dinosaur bone colleting. We see a diorama of another of my colleagues Rodolfo Coria from the Carmen Funes Museum in Argentina who’s excavating a new species of meat-eating dinosaur, one that we found in 1999, probably the most complete meat-eating dinosaur found in the southern hemisphere for the entire period the cretaceous and then we see what do some of us at least do at the end of the day after we’ve done a whole day of work out under the scorching sun, we come back, we take noted, we input the data, for example position where the fossils have been found and we do plans for tomorrow and the days to come depending and according to the fines of the day. We also explained to people how do paleontologists and geologist do to date their fossils. We showed them that we have three different methods of dating called the relative method, the paleomagnetic method and the radioisotopic method. And once we’re done with the field we’ll then it’s time to head back home with our treasures and the treasures are brought to a museum and they’re prepared at the museum. We have a prep station here in which you have a real preparator preparing a real clutch of eggs and showing how slowly chipping the clay away from the eggs, the eggs started to appear. And we see the final product, a beautiful clutch of beautiful eggs with more than 30 eggs, one that was laid 18 million years ago. And also we see what is inside those eggs. We see the delicate bones of a number of embryos, we learned that the shape of those bones was instrumental in identifying the embryos and the eggs and that the shape of the skull of the bones and to the shape of the teeth of the embryos pointed at sauropod identification for the eggs, the long neck dinosaurs, the largest creatures ever to walk the earth. But we also see that some of the really fantastic fossils that we found include even the delicate skin that covered the baby dinosaurs when they were still inside those eggs 18 million years ago. And here we have some samples and some blow up photos of the fossilized skin of those embryos. We also point at the relationships of dinosaurs and we locate in this diagram of relationships the dinosaurs who laid the eggs known as titanosaurus. But we also point at the relationships of titanosaurus to other sorts of dinosaurs including birds which are a kind of dinosaurs. And in the process of doing that we teach a little bit about how to read these sorts of diagrams known as cladograms and a little bit about a new method of classification called cladistics. After we’ve interpreted and studied our fossils we provide out interpretation not only of the nesting behavior of the dinosaurs but also of the ancient landscape and here we see how like different layers of knowledge we’ve been learning about the ancient landscape and the calamity that led to the preservation of the babies over the years that we’ve done and conducted research at this place. For example, the rocks indicate that the dinosaurs laid the eggs in a flat plain, rather flat low flat plain. Then we have the plants that we have found. We see cone-bearing trees and horse tails that were probably lining the streams that crossed the flat plain. Then we had the dinosaurs and their nests and then we had the smoking gun, the flood the covered the entire nesting colony and buried it under a layer of mud.