Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Fifth Street, TX, United States

Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Fifth Street, TX, United States
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News Article | May 11, 2017

The Board of Trustees of Adventure Science Center today announced Steve Hinkley, has been appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Hinkley was most recently the President and CEO of MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation in Santa Barbara, California. He will replace acting CEO, Tina Brown, who will resume her role as Director of Operations and Exhibits. Adventure Science Center has brought science to life for people of all generations in Tennessee and across the nation for over 70 years. The Center offers hands-on science exhibits and engaging public and school programs and is home to nationally renowned Sudekum Planetarium. The Science Center is dedicated to opening minds to the wonders of science and technology, fostering a better understanding of the world and ourselves. Steve Hinkley will give that mission new energy and a new voice. "Steve Hinkley is a visionary with an impressive career in science museum leadership and a talent for taking organizations to new heights of innovation and creativity,” said Tom Trent, Chairman of the Board of Directors. “We are confident Steve will continue to drive the exciting change and revitalization happening at the Science Center.” Over the past seven months, Adventure Science Center has installed over $200,000 in new exhibits including Galactic Gardens, a new outdoor garden space and amphitheater and Innovation Incubator, an innovation lab with 3D printers and laser cutters. The center is also gearing up for a rare total solar eclipse on August 21st with plans for a Music City Solar Eclipse Festival and Viewing Party. Mr. Hinkley began his career as a science educator, gaining valuable experience working as a physics, biology and physiology teacher and science department head. His years working with students led Mr. Hinkley to conclude that, “science education should do more than prepare students to adapt to the future—it should enable and empower them to define it.” In pursuit of his desire to share science with a broader audience, Mr. Hinkley left teaching to spend seven years as Vice President of Programs at the renowned Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Hinkley spearheaded the development of engaging exhibit content and directed all aspects of the museum’s ambitious exhibitions and educational programs. Most recently Mr. Hinkley spent two years leading the MOXI through the successful construction and grand opening of a new, 25,000-square foot, cutting-edge science center in the heart of Santa Barbara. Mr. Hinkley will relocate to Nashville with his wife, Morgan, and two-year-old son, Blake, and take the helm at Adventure Science Center in early July. “Working with a beloved and established organization like the Adventure Science Center at this unique time in its history is an extraordinary opportunity,” said Steve Hinkley, incoming President and CEO of Adventure Science Center. “I have been so impressed by the board, existing management and local support for the center and look forward to working with them and the rest of the community to further build on the center’s success.” Adventure Science Center retained DHR International to conduct a nationwide search for their new CEO and worked closely with James Abruzzo and Kara Teising, who leads the local DHR office. “Steve was one of many distinguished and experienced candidates to apply for the position, but his innovative ideas, his passion for science, and his exciting vision of the future of Adventure Science Center made him stand out from the start,” said James Abruzzo, Managing Partner, Global Nonprofit Practice.

Fiorillo A.R.,Perot Museum of Nature and Science | McCarthy P.J.,University of Alaska Fairbanks | Flaig P.P.,University of Texas at Austin
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2015

The Prince Creek Formation of northern Alaska is the most abundant source of polar dinosaur remains in the world, and now, corroborating data from this well-studied rock unit allow for making inferences about the paleoecological preferences for these extinct polar animals. The rock unit records high-latitude, alluvial sedimentation and soil formation on a low-gradient, muddy coastal plain. Compound and cumulative andic Entisols and Inceptisols formed on levees, point bars, crevasse splays, and along the margins of floodplain lakes, ponds, and swamps. Abundant organic matter, carbonaceous root traces, Fe-oxide depletion coatings, and zoned peds indicate periodic waterlogging, anoxia, and gleying, consistent with a high water table. In contrast, Fe-oxide mottles, ferruginous and manganiferous segregations, bioturbation, and less common illuvial clay coatings indicate recurring oxidation and periodic drying out of some soils. An integrated reconstruction of pedogenic processes and biota suggests that this ancient Arctic coastal plain was influenced by seasonally fluctuating water table levels and floods, and in distal areas, marine waters. Four of the five bonebeds in this study are from more distal areas, represented by lower delta plain facies, while the fifth bonebed is from a more proximal part of the basin, represented by a somewhat better drained coastal plain facies.Bonebeds in the distal areas are dominated by Edmontosaurus sp. while the more proximal bonebed is dominated by the remains of the ceratopsian Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum. The distribution of these bonebeds, sedimentological facies, paleosols, and biota suggests that Pachyrhinosaurus may have preferred more upland environments while Edmontosaurus preferred lowland, deltaic environments. This distribution may be the result of physiological adaptation to the pronounced seasonality provided by polar terrestrial ecosystems. In contrast to a preferred habitat distribution of these large herbivores, the large predatory dinosaur Nanuqsaurus hoglundi seems to have had a more ubiquitous distribution across the landscape. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Flaig P.P.,University of Texas at Austin | Fiorillo A.R.,Perot Museum of Nature and Science | McCarthy P.J.,University of Alaska Fairbanks
Palaios | Year: 2014

The Cretaceous coastal plain of Arctic Alaska contains the richest concentration of high-latitude dinosaurs on Earth. Three bonebeds (Liscomb, Byers, Sling Point) are found in paleopolar (82°-85° N) coastal-plain deposits of the Prince Creek Formation on Alaska's North Slope. 40Ar/39Ar analysis of a tuff below the oldest bonebed (Sling Point) returned an age of 69.2 ± 0.5 Ma indicating a maximum early Maastrichtian age for these bonebeds. Bonebeds are overwhelmingly dominated by partially articulated to associated late-stage juvenile Edmontosaurus sp. Bone is rarely found in channels; instead highdensity accumulations are preserved on floodplains in laterally extensive, muddy alluvium. Bone size grading is vertically nonuniform and most bones are in hydraulic disequilibrium with the surrounding clay-rich matrix. Bones exhibit little evidence of rounding, weathering, predation, or trampling, suggesting short-distance transport and rapid burial. Because these bonebeds are unlike typical debris-flow or streamflow deposits, the mechanism for bonebed emplacement remained poorly understood. All bonebeds contain a current-rippled siltstone containing the largest bone overlain by a distinctive mudstone encasing smaller bones, bone fragments, and subparallel-aligned plant fragments that appear ''frozen in flow'' within the muddy matrix. We recognize that these bonebeds exhibit a recurring facies pairing and bipartite division of flow consistent with deposition by finegrained viscous hyperconcentrated flows. We suggest that exceptional discharge events entrained mud and ash stored on point bars and floodplains, increasing suspended-sediment concentrations in rivers and generating erosive hyperconcentrated flows that transported the remains of scores of juvenile dinosaurs onto floodplains adjacent to distributary channels. © 2014, SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology).

Salazar Jaramillo S.,University of Alaska Fairbanks | McCarthy P.J.,University of Alaska Fairbanks | Trainor T.P.,University of Fairbanks | Fowell S.J.,University of Alaska Fairbanks | Fiorillo A.R.,Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Journal of Sedimentary Research | Year: 2015

Paleosols formed from weathering of alluvial mudstones in the Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) Prince Creek Formation, North Slope Alaska, are dominated by detrital smectite, discrete illite, kaolinite, chlorite, quartz, and pedogenic illite-smectite (I/S) mixed-layer clays. In the fine clay fraction (< 0.2 μm) illite-smectite mixed-layer clay is the main clay mineral and is interpreted as pedogenic in origin, whereby the I/S is a product of illitization of inherited smectite during weathering and pedogenesis. We consider the detrital clay minerals to be derived from pre-existing sediments eroded from the Brooks Range, mixed with reworked volcanic ash-fall-derived bentonites. In the Prince Creek Formation, smectitic parent materials were deposited by epiclastic volcanic ash-rich alluvium that accumulated on imperfectly drained floodplains. Diagenetic transformation of smectite to illite is unlikely in the Prince Creek Formation, in as much as maximum burial temperatures never exceeded ∼ 48°C. The predominance of bentonite-derived smectite (> 80%), low bulk density, phosphorus accumulation, Fe and Al mass-balance trends, and the presence of Fe-Al-humus complexes in one paleosol profile is interpreted as evidence of andic soil properties, and these paleosols are interpreted, therefore, as Andept-like alluvial soils. These results demonstrate that clay mineralogical studies, in conjunction with geochemical data of paleosols, can be used to identify paleoandic soil properties which have not been widely recognized in the ancient rock record. Alternating wetting and drying conditions, required to form pedogenic I/S in these alluvial paleosols, resulted from a highly seasonal moisture regime in the Late Cretaceous Arctic. Copyright © 2015, SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology).

Flaig P.P.,University of Texas at Austin | McCarthy P.J.,University of Alaska Fairbanks | Fiorillo A.R.,Perot Museum of Nature and Science
SEPM Special Publications | Year: 2013

The Cretaceous (Early Maastrichtian), dinosaur-bearing Prince Creek Formation (Fm.) exposed along the Colville River in northern Alaska records high-latitude, alluvial sedimentation and soil formation on a low-gradient,muddy coastal plain during a greenhouse phase in Earth history.We combine sedimentology, paleopedology, palynology, and paleontology in order to reconstruct detailed local paleoenvironments of an ancient Arctic coastal plain.The Prince Creek Fm. contains quartz- and chert-rich sandstone and mudstone-filled trunk and distributary channels and floodplains composed of organic-rich siltstone and mudstone, carbonaceous shale, coal, and ash-fall deposits. Compound and cumulative, weakly developed soils formed on levees, point bars, crevasse splays, and along the margins of floodplain lakes, ponds, and swamps. Abundant organic matter, carbonaceous root traces, Fe-oxide depletion coatings, and zoned peds (soil aggregates with an outermost Fe-depleted zone, darker-colored Fe-rich matrix, and lighter-colored Fe-poor center) indicate periodic waterlogging, anoxia, and gleying, consistent with a high water table. In contrast, Fe-oxide mottles, ferruginous and manganiferous segregations, bioturbation, and rare illuvial clay coatings indicate recurring oxidation and periodic drying of some soils. Trampling of sediments by dinosaurs is common.A marine influence on pedogenesis in distal coastal plain settings is indicated by jarosite mottles and halos surrounding rhizoliths and the presence of pyrite and secondary gypsum. Floodplains were dynamic, and soil-forming processes were repeatedly interrupted by alluviation, resulting in weakly developed soils similar tomodern aquic subgroups of Entisols and Inceptisols and, in more distal locations, potential acid sulfate soils. Biota, including peridinioid dinocysts, brackish and freshwater algae, fungal hyphae, fern andmoss spores, projectates, age-diagnosticWodehouseia edmontonicola, hinterland bisaccate pollen, and pollen from lowland trees, shrubs, and herbs record a diverse flora and indicate an Early Maastrichtian age for all sediments in the study area. The assemblage also demonstrates that although all sediments are Early Maastrichtian, strata become progressively younger from south to north. A paleoenvironmental reconstruction integrating pedogenic processes and biota indicates that polar woodlands with an angiosperm understory and dinosaurs flourished on this ancient Arctic coastal plain that was influenced by seasonally(?) fluctuating water table levels and floods. In contrast to modern polar environments, there is no evidence for periglacial conditions on the Cretaceous Arctic coastal plain, and both higher temperatures and an intensified hydrological cycle existed, although the polar light regimewas similar to that of the present. In the absence of evidence of cryogenic processes in paleosols, it would be very difficult to determine a high-latitude setting for paleosol formation without independent evidence for paleolatitude. Consequently, paleosols formed at high latitudes under greenhouse conditions, in the absence of ground ice, are not likely to have unique pedogenic signatures.

Fiorillo A.R.,Perot Museum of Nature and Science | McCarthy P.J.,University of Alaska Fairbanks | Hasiotis S.T.,University of Kansas
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2015

Latest Cretaceous strata of the lower Cantwell Formation, Denali National Park, central Alaska Range, contain an abundance of megafloral remains and invertebrate and vertebrate trace fossils. Though dominated by herbivorous dinosaur footprints, the abundance and diversity of fossil bird tracks are unique. We present newly discovered crayfish burrows from several areas along a 50. km transect with Denali National Park. Most crayfish burrows from the lower Cantwell Formation are preserved only in cross-section and range from approximately 5-10. cm in diameter. Where preserved in full relief and terminations present, burrow depth is generally. <. 50. cm. Burrow morphology is similar to burrow morphology of modern freshwater crayfish (Cambaridae).The Cantwell Formation fills the Cantwell Basin, a 135. km-long and up to 35. km-wide, east-west trending basin, bracketed by the Hines Creek Fault to the north and the McKinley Fault to the south. Basin fill comprises up to 4000. m of continental deposits, interpreted as braided rivers, alluvial fans, floodplains, swamps, and ponds.Crayfish burrows provide evidence of water table level, soil moisture fluctuations, as well as insight into mean annual temperatures at the time of deposition of the lower Cantwell Formation, a Late Cretaceous high-latitude paleoecosystem. Despite a relatively high latitudinal setting (~. 71°N paleolatitude), the Late Cretaceous (i.e., Campanian-Maastrichtian) mean annual temperature, based on the distribution of similar present-day crayfish burrows, was more like that of southernmost Ontario, Canada, where the northernmost burrowing crayfish are found today. The burrow depth suggests (1) no permafrost was present, and (2) the phreatic zone was ~. 30-50. cm below the paleo-ground surface. Based on the presence of these crayfish burrows, the paleoclimate is interpreted as humid continental (Köppen scheme), with average summer high temperatures between 25. °C and 28. °C and average winter low temperatures between -6. °C and 0. °C. These estimates compare somewhat favorably with previous CLAMP estimates of a warm monthly mean temperature of 17.08 +/- 1.6. °C and a cold monthly mean temperature of -2.31 +/- 1.9. °C. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Fiorillo A.R.,Perot Museum of Nature and Science | Hasiotis S.T.,University of Kansas | Kobayashi Y.,Hokkaido University
Geology | Year: 2014

The discovery of a new tracksite of mostly hadrosaurid dinosaur footprints, made by a herd living in an ancient high-latitude continental ecosystem, provides insight into the herd structure and behavior of northern polar dinosaurs and perspective on populations of large-bodied herbivores in an Arctic greenhouse world. This tracksite occurs in the Upper Cretaceous Cantwell Formation in the Alaska Range (Denali National Park, Alaska, United States), and it is the largest tracksite known from this far north. Preservation of the tracksite is exceptional: most tracks, regardless of size, contain skin impressions and they co-occur with well-preserved plant fossils and invertebrate trace fossils of terrestrial and aquatic insects. Statistical analyses of the tracks show that individuals of four different age classes of hadrosaurids lived together in a large social group. Our research results independently corroborate the growth curve for hadrosaurids proposed by paleohistologists that suggests that these dinosaurs experienced a period of rapid growth early in their life history. © 2014 Geological Society of America.

Fiorillo A.R.,Perot Museum of Nature and Science | Tykoski R.S.,Perot Museum of Nature and Science
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Tyrannosaurid theropods were dominant terrestrial predators in Asia and western North America during the last of the Cretaceous. The known diversity of the group has dramatically increased in recent years with new finds, but overall understanding of tyrannosaurid ecology and evolution is based almost entirely on fossils from latitudes at or below southern Canada and central Asia. Remains of a new, relatively small tyrannosaurine were recovered from the earliest Late Maastrichtian (70-69Ma) of the Prince Creek Formation on Alaska's North Slope. Cladistic analyses show the material represents a new tyrannosaurine species closely related to the highly derived Tarbosaurus+Tyrannosaurus clade. The new taxon inhabited a seasonally extreme high-latitude continental environment on the northernmost edge of Cretaceous North America. The discovery of the new form provides new insights into tyrannosaurid adaptability, and evolution in an ancient greenhouse Arctic. © 2014 Fiorillo, Tykoski.

Fiorillo A.R.,Perot Museum of Nature and Science | Tykoski R.S.,Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Acta Palaeontologica Polonica | Year: 2012

The Cretaceous rocks of the Prince Creek Formation contain the richest record of polar dinosaurs found anywhere in the world. Here we describe a new species of horned dinosaur, Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum that exhibits an apomorphic character in the frill, as well as a unique combination of other characters. Phylogenetic analysis of 16 taxa of ceratopsians failed to resolve relationships between P. perotorum and other Pachyrhinosaurus species (P. canadensis and P. lakustai). P. perotorum shares characters with each of the previously known species that are not present in the other, including very large nasal and supraorbital bosses that are nearly in contact and separated only by a narrow groove as in P. canadensis, and a rostral comb formed by the nasals and premaxillae as in P. lakustai. P. perotorum is the youngest centrosaurine known (70-69 Ma), and the locality that produced the taxon, the Kikak-Tegoseak Quarry, is close to the highest latitude for recovery of ceratopsid remains.

Fiorillo A.R.,Perot Museum of Nature and Science | Tykoski R.S.,Perot Museum of Nature and Science
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

A new specimen attributable to an immature individual of Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum (Dinosauria, Ceratopsidae) from the Kikak-Tegoseak Quarry in northern Alaska preserves a mix of features that provides refinement to the sequence of ontogenetic stages and transformations inferred for the development of the nasal boss in Pachyrhinosaurus. The new specimen consists of an incomplete nasal that includes the posterior part of the nasal horn, the dorsal surface between the horn and the left-side contacts for the prefrontal and frontal, and some of the left side of the rostrum posteroventral to the nasal horn. The combination of morphologies in the new specimen suggests either an additional stage of development should be recognized in the ontogeny of the nasal boss of Pachyrhinosaurus, or that the ontogenetic pathway of nasal boss development in P. perotorum was notably different from that of P. lakustai. Additionally, the presence of a distinct basal sulcus and the lateral palisade texture on the nasal horn of the specimen described here indicate that a thick, cornified horn sheath was present well before the formation of a dorsal cornified pad. A separate rugose patch on the nasal well posterior to the nasal horn is evidence for a cornified integumentary structure, most likely a thick cornified pad, on the posterior part of the nasal separate from the nasal horn prior to the onset of nasal boss formation in P. perotorum. © 2013 Fiorillo, Tykoski.

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