A Day at the chicago FIELD MUSEUm
By: Sue Eyre
You may be familiar with the movie franchise, Night At The Museum, where Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams) and a number of his museum buddies come to life and cause havoc for museum night security guard, Ben Stiller.
Well, on a Saturday morning in Fall of 2019, 25 or so adult and junior members of WGS boarded a bus at a Milwaukee Park-and-Ride and made the trek to Chicago’s Field Museum to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the back rooms of the Field Museum’s surplus Fossil collection.
Our guide met us at the lower entrance and quickly moved our group through the center exhibit hall to the second floor. He pointed out the geology exhibit for us to check out later when we would have free time and whisked us through a small door that was the entrance to the bowels of the museum storage rooms.
Adventurous WGS Members headed to the vaults of the Chicago Field Museum. Photo by John and Sue Eyre
The vast vaults of the Chicago Field Museum. Photo by John and Sue Eyre
Ammonites (L) and Tullimonstrum (R) in the Chicago Field Museum. Photos by John and Sue Eyre
Ammonite (L) and Tullimonstrum (R) fossils were among the specimens we saw in the back rooms of Chicago’s Field Museum.
Ammonites (Ammonoidea subclass) are an extinct marine mollusc in the Cephalopoda class. Their closest living relatives today would be octopuses, squid, or cuttlefish, and are they are less closely related to shelled species such as the nautilus. They were prevalent during the Devonian Period and scientists believe that they died out during the Cretaceous-Paleogene Extinction event. They had a coiled and septated shell which held air or gas except for the outermost compartment which held the soft body of the animal. The shell is often fossilized both in a natural condition and rarely with a rainbow pattern of ammolite.
Tullimonstrum, also known as Tully Monsters, got their name from the man who found the first one in 1955. Francis Tully found these extinct soft-bodied bilaterians who lived in the muddy river beds of Illinois over 300 million years ago. They have only been found in the Mazon Creek fossil beds of Illinois. They are thought to have had a proboscis with teeth and a long worm or salamander type body.
After the viewing of the vaults, the WGS members were given time to explore the main exhibits.
Dinosaurs (L) and Minerals (R) in the Chicago Field Museum. Photos by John and Sue Eyre