Sunday, December 21, 2014

Just When You Thought It Was Safe...

Lucy and I went to the Mariners Museum (Newport News) to see their exhibit titled "Savage Ancient Seas: Dinosaurs of the Deep", and were duly impressed by the collection of fossil castings and displays relating the story of Marine Reptiles during the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous eras and how they dominated the seas even as their land-dwelling relatives ruled the land-masses.  Very cool exhibit and worth visiting in the time remaining before it closes (4 Jan 2015--so hurry!).
I've been visiting the Mariners Museum ( )since I was a young boy, and today Lucy and I live just a mile or so from the huge ship's propeller that marks its entrance.  At one time I served as a docent there, and the famous golden Eagle (the figurehead of frigate USS Lancaster, c. 1858) that dominates the foyer has been a familiar sight during my many, many visits over the years.

The Museum is also home to the Monitor Center, where work to conserve relics from USS Monitor (which sank off the North Carolina coast during the Civil War) is ongoing, plus several permanent and changing galleries.  If I sound like a spokesman for the place there may be a reason;
museums like this one are an endangered species in this age of the Internet and instant information, and I'm quite happy to support this institution in a small way by spreading the word.  After all the information (and inspiration) I have gleaned through a lifetime of wandering through its halls, this is the least I can do.

Back to those sea-faring "dinosaurs"...
A 54-foot-long Tylosaur of the Cretaceous Era
The title of the exhibit is actually a misnomer; those relatives of Tyrannosaurus, Diplodicus and Brachiosaurus who dwelt in the deep oceans, shallow seas and coastal waters during the Age of the Dinosaurs are known to Paleontologists as Marine Reptiles rather than Dinosaurs.  The curators can be forgiven, I think, as I doubt many people would be drawn to visit without the D-word in the exhibit title.  Fascinating stuff, whatever you call it--
Lucy seems to have attracted un-wanted attention...
If you happen to visit this area, or are fortunate enough to live nearby, I strongly urge you to add the Mariners Museum to your itinerary.  Even if the Marine Reptile exhibit has already closed I think you'll find plenty here to fascinate and inform.

This concludes the Infomercial segment of our programming...we now return you to the Cenozoic Era, already in progress.

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