70 million bones in New York museum?


From Bob’s Dinosaurs Blog in the USA:

How Many Bones Are at the American Museum of Natural History?

Monday May 11, 2009

There was an interesting item in yesterday’s New York Times about the huge number of fossils at the American Museum of Natural History. According to writer Michael Pollak, a 1986 history of the museum stated that “if all the bones were dumped into Central Park, they would form a pile well over three stories high and hundreds of feet in circumference…the pile would weigh at least 1,000 tons and contain about 50 million bones, representing the remains of more than 750,000 animals.” Since that book was written over 20 years ago, feel free to tack on another 20 or 30 percent to those figures.

Where in the world does AMNH keep all those fossils? I’d like to think there’s an abandoned West Side subway tunnel filled with assorted skulls, femurs and tibias, but more likely the museum has rented out nondescript storage space all over the New York metropolitan area.

Trilobite collecting in Utah, USA: here.

2 thoughts on “70 million bones in New York museum?

  1. Rare prehistoric pregnant turtle found in Utah

    5/8/2009, 12:06 p.m. PDT

    MIKE STARK
    The Associated Press

    (AP) — SALT LAKE CITY – Paleontologists say a prehistoric turtle uncovered in a remote area of southern Utah is just the second ever-and the first in the United States-found to still have a clutch of eggs inside.

    At least three eggs are visible from the outside of the 75-million-year-old fossil. Researchers this week have been studying images taken from a CT scan in Montana in search of others still hidden inside.

    The fossil was found in 2006 in a remote part of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, but the eggs weren’t discovered until after it sat in storage for two years and was being re-examined by a volunteer.

    “It was the last thing I’d ever expect to see,” said Alan Titus, paleontologist at the monument, a rugged and sometimes forbidding collection of nearly 1.9 million acres in southern Utah.

    The turtle was probably about a week away from laying the eggs when she died and eventually was entombed for millions of years in a sandstone river bed, said Michael Knell, a graduate student at Montana State University who’s been examining the turtle and its eggs.

    Today, the shell cavity is still packed with rock-hard sandstone, which is making it difficult to interpret the images from the CT scan, he said.

    “It’s basically like cement inside there,” Knell said.

    Fossilized turtle shells and turtle fragments aren’t uncommon in southern Utah, which is rich with dinosaur bones and other prehistoric relics.

    During the late Cretaceous, parts of the regions were lush, steamy swamps that provided prime habitat for water-going turtles, Titus said.

    He and other researchers were exploring part of the monument called the Kaiparowits Formation when they spotted the edge of a turtle shell and one foot sticking out of the ground. It took a sledgehammer and chisel to get the rest of the 40-pound to 50-pound fossil out of the sandstone. They strapped the specimen to a board and hiked out three miles to the nearest road.

    Wrapped in a protective jacket, the fossil sat in storage until last fall when a volunteer began examining it in Flagstaff, Ariz. Three eggs are partially exposed in the fossil of the turtle’s body.

    Titus initially dismissed the volunteer’s claims over the phone that the turtle contained eggs. He made the three-hour drive from Kanab, Utah, to see for himself.

    “I was shocked,” he said.

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