The Royal Ontario Museum is a museum of world culture and natural history based in Toronto, Canada. It is one of the largest museums in North America, attracting over one million visitors every year. The museum is located north of Queen's Park, in the University of Toronto district, with its main entrance facing Bloor Street.Established on 16 April 1912 and opened on 19 March 1914, the museum has maintained close relations with the University of Toronto throughout its history, often sharing expertise and resources. The museum was under the direct control and management of the University of Toronto until 1968, when it became an independent institution. Today, the museum is Canada's largest field-research institution, with research and conservation activities that span the globe.With more than six million items and forty galleries, the museum's diverse collections of world culture and natural history are part of the reason for its international reputation. The museum contains notable collections of dinosaurs, minerals and meteorites, Near Eastern and African art, Art of East Asia, European history, and Canadian history. It also houses the world's largest collection of fossils from the Burgess Shale with more than 150,000 specimens. The museum also contains an extensive collection of design and fine arts, including clothing, interior, and product design, especially Art Deco. Wikipedia.
News Article | May 19, 2017
OTTAWA, ON--(Marketwired - May 19, 2017) - As the Auditor General reported on numbers just south of the Hill, meanwhile, on the Hill's eastern side, the numbers of living species were tallied, as Parliamentarians led a demonstration nature count to launch BioBlitz Canada 150, a nation-wide Canada 150 Signature project. "This fascinating project will help us raise our environmental awareness," said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. "Let's take this opportunity to celebrate Canada 150 by connecting with Canada's natural beauty and learning more about Canada's wild species -- a priceless resource." In only 45 minutes, the Parliamentarians' teams blitzed an impressive 137 species of the air, land and water, all logged onto the national iNaturalist.ca database. This, for a location in middle of Canada's capital, downtown, within centimetres of where hundreds of tourists walk by, and metres from the turbulent Ottawa River, at historic flood levels only days before. Two squads vied in a little friendly contention, this time outside Parliament, by representatives of the different political stripes, plus the Clerk of the House of Commons on behalf of all the Hill officials. Several are top-notch naturalists in their own right, and they were joined by some local specialists. The Parliamentary Secretary for Science Kate Young cheered them on, and added her estimate of how many species would be found. Estimates ranged from 3,100 species to 67 (the latter more symbolic than serious). The closest to the actual total was by MP (and professional biologist) Richard Cannings (South Okanagan-West Kootenay) who predicted 167. Among the smallest of the species were barely visible freshwater plankton. A special find was a Yellowbanded Bumble Bee, a species listed as "Special Concern" by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Among the largest species identified was a Butternut tree along the escarpment of the Hill. A mere ten minutes drive away, the maximum species list is 3,592, in the Gatineau Park area, site of the Bioblitz Canada 150 National Capital BioBlitz for the public on June 10-11. This tally has been compiled over decades by constant surveying and by experts in the most obscure taxa -- and even there, a species new to science was added this past year. Other bioblitzes are set for the next days and months across Canada: there will be 35 official events, with a growing list of independent projects posted at bioblitzcanada.ca. CWF and its partners in conservation across the country call on Canadians to join in all year at a Bioblitz Canada 150 event or on their own with the resources available through the website. The CWF will be inviting all Canadian to play along by guessing the total species identified under the project as of October 31, 2017, the end of the events season. About the Canadian Wildlife Federation: The Canadian Wildlife Federation is dedicated to fostering awareness and appreciation of our natural world. By spreading knowledge of human impacts on the environment, sponsoring research, promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, recommending legislative changes and co-operating with likeminded partners, CWF encourages a future in which Canadians can live in harmony with nature. Visit CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca for more information. About BioBlitz Canada: BioBlitz Canada is a national partnership of leading conservation, education and research organizations with the goal to document Canada's biodiversity by connecting the public with nature in a scientist-led participatory survey of life from sea to sea to sea, and make sure this important information can be useful to current and future science, with open-source access to all. Its vision is to help Canadians learn about and connect with nature, be it in one's own backyard or the most important ecological sites in Canada. Other partners in conservation include: Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada, Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, Biological Survey of Canada, Birds Studies Canada, Canadian Museum of Nature, Canadian Wildlife Service (Environment and Climate Change Canada), iNaturalist Canada, Nature Canada, Nature Conservancy of Canada, NatureServe Canada, New Brunswick Museum, Parks Canada, RARE Charitable Research Reserve, Royal Ontario Museum, Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Stanley Park Ecology Society, Toronto Zoo, Vancouver Aquarium and other organizations. About iNaturalist Canada: Launched in 2015, iNaturalist Canada is a virtual place where Canadians can record and share what they see in nature, interact with other nature watchers, and learn about Canada's wildlife. The app is run by the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in collaboration with iNaturalist.org and the California Academy of Sciences. Parks Canada, NatureServe Canada and CWF's Hinterland Who's Who have been key partners in the development of iNaturalist Canada and will continue to play a role in the program. Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/5/19/11G139307/Images/BioBlitz_Canada_150_Logo-06e7dfbae1048b518343499c85e03879.jpg Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/5/19/11G139307/Images/mw1bggo93tgma01pcmtvvmfo1f6q2-fc5e904644859ce3a72a8d7d3d8fc3dc.jpg Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/5/19/11G139307/Images/mw1bggntv641hf8vev1qkp1rq11sia2-9bd032cc4beaac678edd64a202b2a648.jpg Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/5/19/11G139307/Images/mw1bggnkbkth8glup6q614raedl2-d3af64f9d31da9929d8912828e52264b.jpg
News Article | May 18, 2017
What weighs 600 pounds, has travelled internationally, and recently spent over four months in a vacuum chamber? A real, actual blue whale heart, the first one in the entire world to be preserved, now on display at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto. The blue whale heart is installed at the ROM on Thursday. Video: ROM It was unveiled on Thursday morning, next to the skeleton of the massive blue whale it came from. The plastinated heart, which is roughly the size of a small pony, is "a thing of beauty," said Jacqueline Miller, a mammalogy technician from the ROM who's been working with the whale since it was first discovered in 2014, washed up on a beach in Trout River, along Newfoundland and Labrador's west coast. "It's quite a bit smaller than we were expecting," Miller said. She and others thought they'd pull out something the size of a sedan, or at least the smart car that the museum put on display for size comparison. Without its blood and supporting structure, the heart weighs around 400 pounds, but Miller explained that the weight increased again when their team put steel mesh inside to keeps the ventricles and the thinner blood vessels from collapsing. The Epic Task of Preparing Rare Blue Whale Skeletons for Display: The unveiling today wasn't just a quick ta-da moment. The heart came in a box. It had to be unwrapped (so much bubble wrap) and lifted onto a platform. Things hit a bit of a snag when it came to lifting the heart off of the stand inside the box: Miller, who was narrating the unboxing, said that there was some concern over damaging it, but in the end the heart was placed on its new platform without getting a scratch, while people "oooohed" and "aaaaahed" over the size of the thing. The whale heart represents the maximum size a heart can be and support a living, breathing creature, said Miller. "This is as big as things can get." Before going on display in Toronto, the heart travelled from Canada to Germany, where technicians at Geuben Plastinate GmbH, a museum, worked on it for over a year. Because of the size, no one knew exactly how long the plastination process would take. Miller said the heart had to travel to Germany because there is no facility in North America big enough to handle a whale heart. The organ is just too damn big. Read More: We Watched Gigantic Blue Whale Bones Get 'Degreased' First, scientists had to get all the water out of the tissue, down to cellular level. They did this by placing the heart in an acetone bath, said Miller. Next, they had to put it in a polymer bath. After that, scientists put the whole tank of polymer in a vacuum chamber so that the existing acetone would bubble and boil away. "Fat is very hard to plastinate," said Miller. The heart was in this vacuum for over four months. Now that the process is over, Miller affectionately calls it "Frankenheart" and compared the unveiling to the birth of a child because she's been working on it for so long. The heart. Video: ROM "It really is tremendous," she said. "We're very, very proud." The heart will last hundreds of years, if not a thousand, said Miller. So when humans are all eating sustainably-farmed seaweed and hunting aliens in submarines, we'll always be able to marvel at what once was and just how small we really are. Subscribe to Science Solved It, Motherboard's new show about the greatest mysteries that were solved by science.
News Article | April 17, 2017
TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - April 12, 2017) - Excellon Resources Inc. (TSX: EXN) ( : EXLLF) ("Excellon" or the "Company") reports with sadness that Thor Eaton, a director of the Company, has passed away. "Thor was a gentleman above all things," commented André Fortier, Chairman of the Board of Directors. "He had a love for life and a sense of optimism that will be greatly missed by all of us at Excellon. Our deepest condolences to his family and all of the people he touched over the years." Mr. Eaton served as a Director of Excellon since 2011 and was President of Notae Investments Limited since January 1998. He sat on the boards of a number of publicly traded companies in the mining sector including West Timmins Mining Inc. and Pelangio Exploration Inc. He was a director of T. Eaton Co. Ltd. from 1973 to 1999 and was Chair of the Eaton Foundation. Mr. Eaton created the Thor E. and Nicole Eaton Family Charitable Foundation in June 1999, which contributes to the livelihood of hospitals, environmental groups and Canadian cultural institutions, such as the Royal Ontario Museum, St. Michael's Hospital, the National Ballet of Canada and the Atlantic Salmon Association.
News Article | April 17, 2017
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 13, 2017) - Pelangio Exploration Inc. (TSX VENTURE:PX)(OTC PINK:PGXPF) ("Pelangio" or the "Company") reports with regret the passing of Thor Eaton, a member of the Company's Board of Directors. "We are deeply saddened by the death of Thor Eaton," commented Carl Nurmi, Chairman of the Company's Board of Directors. "He provided the board of directors with invaluable advice and counsel and he will be greatly missed. We extend our deepest condolences to Thor's family." Mr. Eaton served as President of Notae Investments Limited since January 1998 and he has sat on the boards of several publicly traded companies in the mining sector, including Excellon Resources Inc. and West Timmins Mining. Mr. Eaton created the Thor E. and Nicole Eaton Family Charitable Foundation in June 1999, which contributes to the livelihood of hospitals, environmental groups and Canadian cultural institutions, such as the Royal Ontario Museum, St. Michael's Hospital, the National Ballet of Canada and the Atlantic Salmon Association.
News Article | April 28, 2017
A 508-million-year-old critter — one that looks like a weird lobster with 50 legs, two claws and a tent-like shell — is the oldest known arthropod with mandibles on record, a new study finds. Arthropods are a group of invertebrates that includes spiders, insects and crustaceans. Many arthropods, including flies, ants, crayfish and centipedes, have mandibles — appendages that can grasp, crush and cut food. But until now, it wasn't clear when this unique feature evolved. Now, researchers can say that mandibles developed by at least the late Cambrian (the Cambrian period, known for its famous explosion of new, diverse life, lasted from about 543 million to 490 million years ago). [See Images of the First Known Arthropod to Sport Mandibles] Researchers discovered the first of the 21 fossil specimens in sedimentary rock in Kootenay National Park, in British Columbia, Canada, in 2012. They named the roughly 4-inch-long (10 centimeters) creature Tokummia katalepsis, honoring Tokumm Creek, which runs along the northern part of the park through Marble Canyon, where they found the fossils. The species name, katalepsis, is derived from the Greek word for "seizing." Like other Cambrian animals, T. katalepsis looks bizarre by today's standards. The predator had 50 paddle-like legs that likely helped it swim and walk in a tropical sea, and "a pair of very strong claws — some of the strongest claws we have seen in any Cambrian arthropod," said study co-author Jean-Bernard Caron, a senior curator of invertebrate paleontology at the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada. These claws likely helped the animal grasp and pierce soft-bodied prey, such as worms, he said. The critter also had a bivalve (two-halved) shell and two tiny eyes at the base of its antennae. But T. katalepsis' most famous features are its serrated mandibles, Caron said. The group mandibulata (animals with mandibles) is the most diverse and abundant group of arthropods on the planet. The group includes the myriapods (millipedes, centipedes and their relatives), the pancrustaceans (including shrimps, lobsters and barnacles) and insects, said study lead researcher Cédric Aria, who did the research while a doctoral student of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Toronto. Aria is now a postdoctoral researcher at the Nanjing Institute for Geology and Paleontology in Nanjing, China.
News Article | April 27, 2017
Paleontologists from the University of Toronto and the Royal Ontario Museum have found the fossil of a 508-million-year-old sea-dwelling species. The new discovery will shed light on the origin of mandibulates, which is the most diverse and abundant group of creatures to inhabit Earth. Creatures such as, ants, crayfish, flies, and centipedes belong to the mandibulates division. The new arthopod has been named Tokummia katalepsis and despite the passage of time, it has been found well-persevered and in a fossilized state. "Before now we've had only sparse hints at what the first arthropods with mandibles could have looked like, and no idea of what could have been the other key characteristics that triggered the unrivaled diversification of that group," the study's lead author Cédric Aria shared. Paleontologists concluded that the 508-million-year-old sea creature was an inhabitant of the tropical sea and at the time, was one of the largest Cambrian predators to swim the waters. Tokummia was an occasional swimmer and featured strong anterior legs, which imply that the creature may have dwelled more on the sea bed, similar to modern-day shrimps and lobsters. The fossilized remains of the creature came from some sedimentary rocks located near Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park, British Columbia. The rocks were dated and revealed that they were 508-million-years old. In total, the researchers discovered 21 fossil specimens of the 508-million-year-old sea creature, out of which the first was discovered back in 2012. The name Tokummia katalepsis was given in honor of the Tokumm Creek, which flows along the northern part of the Canyon. The species' name katalepsis is derived from Greek and means "seizing" in English. Aria shared that the pincers of the 508-million-year-old sea creature were delicate, yet large and featured a complex anatomical construction. The paleontologists compared the pincers to modern-day can openers. Out of the two major claws, one had a few terminal teeth and the other one curved toward the teeth. Researchers found that the body of the ancient sea creature was composed of more than 50 small segments. These divisions were enclosed within a two-piece broad shell-like structure called bivalved carapace. The subdivided limb bases of the Tokummia were found to have tiny projections dubbed endites. These projections are being considered as important innovations, which led to the evolution of legs in mandibulates. Apart from these characteristics, paleontologists claim that the segmented body of the Tokummia is similar to that of myriapods, group of creatures like millipedes and centipedes. Many paleontologists feel that the finding is of great importance and will throw light on the evolution of arthropods. "Finding mandibles is a key finding for understanding the evolution of myriapods, crustaceans and insects," Jakob Vinther, a paleontologist with the University of Bristol in England commented. Vinther is not a part of the new study. The paper has been published in journal Nature on Wednesday, April 26. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
News Article | April 27, 2017
Paleontologists at the University of Toronto (U of T) and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) have uncovered a new fossil species that sheds light on the origin of mandibulates, the most abundant and diverse group of organisms on Earth, to which belong familiar animals such as flies, ants, crayfish and centipedes. The finding was announced in a study published today in Nature. The creature, named Tokummia katalepsis by the researchers, is a new and exceptionally well-preserved fossilized arthropod - a ubiquitous group of invertebrate animals with segmented limbs and hardened exoskeletons. Tokummia documents for the first time in detail the anatomy of early "mandibulates," a hyperdiverse sub-group of arthropods which possess a pair of specialized appendages known as mandibles, used to grasp, crush and cut their food. Mandibulates include millions of species and represent one of the greatest evolutionary and ecological success stories of life on Earth. "In spite of their colossal diversity today, the origin of mandibulates had largely remained a mystery," said Cédric Aria, lead author of the study and recent graduate of the PhD program in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at U of T, now working as a post-doctoral researcher at the Nanjing Institute for Geology and Palaeontology, in China. "Before now we've had only sparse hints at what the first arthropods with mandibles could have looked like, and no idea of what could have been the other key characteristics that triggered the unrivaled diversification of that group." Tokummia lived in a tropical sea teeming with life and was among the largest Cambrian predators, exceeding 10 cm in length fully extended. An occasional swimmer, the researchers conclude its robust anterior legs made it a preferred bottom-dweller, as lobsters or mantis shrimps today. Specimens come from 507-million-year-old sedimentary rocks near Marble Canyon in Kootenay national park, British Columbia. Most specimens at the basis of this study were collected during extensive ROM-led fieldwork activities in 2014. "This spectacular new predator, one of the largest and best preserved soft-bodied arthropods from Marble Canyon, joins the ranks of many unusual marine creatures that lived during the Cambrian Explosion, a period of rapid evolutionary change starting about half a billion years ago when most major animal groups first emerged in the fossil record," said co-author Jean-Bernard Caron, senior curator of invertebrate paleontology at the ROM and an associate professor in the Departments of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Earth Sciences at U of T. Analysis of several fossil specimens, following careful mechanical preparation and photographic work at the ROM, showed that Tokummia sported broad serrated mandibles as well as large but specialized anterior claws, called maxillipeds, which are typical features of modern mandibulates. "The pincers of Tokummia are large, yet also delicate and complex, reminding us of the shape of a can opener, with their couple of terminal teeth on one claw, and the other claw being curved towards them," said Aria. "But we think they might have been too fragile to be handling shelly animals, and might have been better adapted to the capture of sizable soft prey items, perhaps hiding away in mud. Once torn apart by the spiny limb bases under the trunk, the mandibles would have served as a revolutionary tool to cut the flesh into small, easily digestible pieces." The body of Tokummia is made of more than 50 small segments covered by a broad two-piece shell-like structure called a bivalved carapace. Importantly, the animal bears subdivided limb bases with tiny projections called endites, which can be found in the larvae of certain crustaceans and are now thought to have been critical innovations for the evolution of the various legs of mandibulates, and even for the mandibles themselves. The many-segmented body is otherwise reminiscent of myriapods, a group that includes centipedes, millipedes, and their relatives. "Tokummia also lacks the typical second antenna found in crustaceans, which illustrates a very surprising convergence with such terrestrial mandibulates," said Aria. The study also resolves the affinities of other emblematic fossils from Canada's Burgess Shale more than a hundred years after their discovery. "Our study suggests that a number of other Burgess Shale fossils such as Branchiocaris, Canadaspis and Odaraia form with Tokummia a group of crustacean-like arthropods that we can now place at the base of all mandibulates," said Aria. The animal was named after Tokumm Creek, which flows through Marble Canyon in northern Kootenay National Park, and the Greek for "seizing." The Marble Canyon fossil deposit was first discovered in 2012 during prospection work led by the Royal Ontario Museum and is part of the Burgess Shale fossil deposit, which extends to the north into Yoho National Park in the Canadian Rockies. All specimens are held in the collections of the Royal Ontario Museum on behalf of Parks Canada. The Burgess Shale fossil sites are located within Yoho and Kootenay national parks in British Columbia. The Burgess Shale was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. Parks Canada is proud to protect these globally significant paleontological sites, and to work with leading scientific researchers to expand knowledge and understanding of this key period of earth history. New information from ongoing scientific research is continually incorporated into Parks Canada's Burgess Shale education and interpretation programs, which include guided hikes to these outstanding fossil sites.
Smith M.R.,University of Cambridge |
Caron J.-B.,Royal Ontario Museum |
Caron J.-B.,University of Toronto
Nature | Year: 2015
The molecularly defined clade Ecdysozoa comprises the panarthropods (Euarthropoda, Onychophora and Tardigrada) and the cycloneuralian worms (Nematoda, Nematomorpha, Priapulida, Loricifera and Kinorhyncha). These disparate phyla are united by their means of moulting, but otherwise share few morphological characters-none of which has a meaningful fossilization potential. As such, the early evolutionary history of the group as a whole is largely uncharted. Here we redescribe the 508-million-year-old stem-group onychophoran Hallucigenia sparsa from the mid-Cambrian Burgess Shale. We document an elongate head with a pair of simple eyes, a terminal buccal chamber containing a radial array of sclerotized elements, and a differentiated foregut that is lined with acicular teeth. The radial elements and pharyngeal teeth resemble the sclerotized circumoral elements and pharyngeal teeth expressed in tardigrades, stem-group euarthropods and cycloneuralian worms. Phylogenetic results indicate that equivalent structures characterized the ancestral panarthropod and, seemingly, the ancestral ecdysozoan, demonstrating the deep homology of panarthropod and cycloneuralian mouthparts, and providing an anatomical synapomorphy for the ecdysozoan supergroup. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
Campione N.E.,University of Toronto |
Evans D.C.,Royal Ontario Museum
BMC Biology | Year: 2012
Background: Body size is intimately related to the physiology and ecology of an organism. Therefore, accurate and consistent body mass estimates are essential for inferring numerous aspects of paleobiology in extinct taxa, and investigating large-scale evolutionary and ecological patterns in the history of life. Scaling relationships between skeletal measurements and body mass in birds and mammals are commonly used to predict body mass in extinct members of these crown clades, but the applicability of these models for predicting mass in more distantly related stem taxa, such as non-avian dinosaurs and non-mammalian synapsids, has been criticized on biomechanical grounds. Here we test the major criticisms of scaling methods for estimating body mass using an extensive dataset of mammalian and non-avian reptilian species derived from individual skeletons with live weights.Results: Significant differences in the limb scaling of mammals and reptiles are noted in comparisons of limb proportions and limb length to body mass. Remarkably, however, the relationship between proximal (stylopodial) limb bone circumference and body mass is highly conserved in extant terrestrial mammals and reptiles, in spite of their disparate limb postures, gaits, and phylogenetic histories. As a result, we are able to conclusively reject the main criticisms of scaling methods that question the applicability of a universal scaling equation for estimating body mass in distantly related taxa.Conclusions: The conserved nature of the relationship between stylopodial circumference and body mass suggests that the minimum diaphyseal circumference of the major weight-bearing bones is only weakly influenced by the varied forces exerted on the limbs (that is, compression or torsion) and most strongly related to the mass of the animal. Our results, therefore, provide a much-needed, robust, phylogenetically corrected framework for accurate and consistent estimation of body mass in extinct terrestrial quadrupeds, which is important for a wide range of paleobiological studies (including growth rates, metabolism, and energetics) and meta-analyses of body size evolution. © 2012 Campione and Evans; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Evans D.C.,Royal Ontario Museum
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society | Year: 2010
The cranial anatomy of the helmet-crested lambeosaurine Hypacrosaurus altispinus (Ornithischia: Hadrosauridae) is described, with a focus on ontogenetic and individual variation in phylogenetically significant characters of the cranial crest, braincase, and facial skeleton. Cranial material of H. altispinus represents a relatively complete growth series that includes crestless juveniles of less than half the size of large individuals with fully developed crests. Cranial ontogeny is compared with other lambeosaurines using bivariate morphometrics and through qualitative comparison of a size-standardized cranial growth series. Bivariate analyses reveal that the relative growth of the skull and cranial crest of H. altispinus and H. stebingeri are similar, and that Hypacrosaurus more closely resembles Corythosaurus than Lambeosaurus. Hypacrosaurus altispinus is systematically revised. The taxon is characterized by five autapomorphies, most of which are concentrated in the skull, as well as an enlarged terminal ischial foot. Maximum parsimony and Bayesian likelihood (Mk+gamma) phylogenetic analyses were conducted to test the monophyly of the genus. Hypacrosaurus monophyly is corroborated in light of new anatomical data. Although H. stebingeri and H. altispinus share few derived characters of the skull, the hypothesis that H. stebingeri is a metaspecies that represents the ancestor of H. altispinus cannot be rejected.© 2010 The Linnean Society of London.