McWane Sea Monsters Exhibit

The new "Sea Monsters" exhibit opened October 5th at McWane Science Center and will run until sometime in the spring. BPS members and other friends of McWane Science Center were treated to a preview of the exhibit on October 4th, showcasing the paleontology department's new "ocean" exhibit featuring life size casts of Protostega (turtle), Clidastes (mosasaur), Pachyrhizodus (fish), Xiphactinus (XL fish), and Tylosaurus (mosasaur). In one area was a "fossil dig" which was very popular with the kids. The all new exhibits feature fossils from the Late Cretaceous which were found in Alabama.

Also, attendees had the opportunity to watch the opening night sneak preview of the new IMAX movie Sea Monsters . Although the Sea Monster movie is being shown in numerous locations around the world, McWane is the only location where fossils of the depicted animals are on exhibit in the same building. And the most fantastic thing about them - they're from right here in Alabama!

JAMES LAMB CLONED - a new technology has captured palontologist James Lamb between two pieces of glass! Throughout the exhibit are stations called "Ask the Paleontologist". When a question is chosen from the list, a prerecorded video of James providing the answer to the question begins, with the video appearing to float inside a pane of clear glass. James spotted one of the attendees looking in his direction, and overheard something like "he looks like the man in the video!" According to James Lamb, the intent is for each exhibit case to provide brief descriptions of each fossil throughout the exhibit rather than a large detailed page of text. If a person participates in each of the exhibits, they will take home with them a large body of knowledge.

The current exhibit, the ocean environment, is the first phase of a larger plan. Next spring a new exhibit featuring land creatures - including dinosaurs will be completed. The fully complete exhibit floor will have the ocean environment at one end, the land environment at the other end, and perhaps a barrier island environment in the middle.

There was a very good turnout of BPS members on Thursday night. Spotted at the reception were Bobby Popwell and wife, Greg and Jan Mestler and daughter Melonie, Martha Ivey, Bill and Anita Fowler, Jeff and Sara Roseman and son Wesley, Chris and Vicki Lais, Becky Guthrie all the way up from Mobile, Steve Corvin and family, Sandy Ebersole, Bob and Pam Stewart, Claire Smith, Leisa Whitlow, and Keven and Nathan Hope. And of course, Jun Ebersole, Kathy Wallace, James Lamb and all the other staff and volunteers who worked late to make this event so memorable.

For more information, check out the The Birmingham News - October 5, 2007 which had a front page write-up on the new exhibit, featuring paleontologist James Lamb and a Protostega on the front page.