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 | 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 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.
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 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.
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
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011
The well-sampled Late Cretaceous fossil record of North America remains the only high-resolution dataset for evaluating patterns of dinosaur diversity leading up to the terminal Cretaceous extinction event. Hadrosaurine hadrosaurids (Dinosauria: Ornithopoda) closely related to Edmontosaurus are among the most common megaherbivores in latest Campanian and Maastrichtian deposits of western North America. However, interpretations of edmontosaur species richness and biostratigraphy have been in constant flux for almost three decades, although the clade is generally thought to have undergone a radiation in the late Maastrichtian. We address the issue of edmontosaur diversity for the first time using rigorous morphometric analyses of virtually all known complete edmontosaur skulls. Results suggest only two valid species, Edmontosaurus regalis from the late Campanian, and E. annectens from the late Maastrichtian, with previously named taxa, including the controversial Anatotitan copei, erected on hypothesized transitional morphologies associated with ontogenetic size increase and allometric growth. A revision of North American hadrosaurid taxa suggests a decrease in both hadrosaurid diversity and disparity from the early to late Maastrichtian, a pattern likely also present in ceratopsid dinosaurs. A decline in the disparity of dominant megaherbivores in the latest Maastrichtian interval supports the hypothesis that dinosaur diversity decreased immediately preceding the end Cretaceous extinction event. © 2011 Campione, Evans.
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.
News Article | February 15, 2017
A few years back, as I ran around the Royal Ontario Museum fossil halls trying to take in as much as I could in the short time I had there, an Ice Age fossil stopped me in my tracks. It was a fossil horse jaw, but unlike any I had seen before. The fossil seemed impossibly black, tooth and bone stained to gorgeous ebony shades. The beautiful fossil had been excavated decades before from a tar seep in Talara, Peru. I had never heard of this place before. When I think “tar pit”, I think La Brea. (Perhaps because, aside from being the most important fossil site on the planet, La Brea translates directly to “the tar.”) But the exhibits and a quick primer from ROM curator Kevin Seymour introduced me to an entirely different death trap that has produced a wealth of fossils colored by a deeper shade than the La Brea brown of their Californian counterparts. Much of what’s known about Talara comes from a collection of over 28,000 bones collected from the site from A.G. Edmund in 1958. The vast majority of these fossils – about 63.4 percent of identified bones – are from mammals, and of these more than 79 percent are the remains of carnivores. There are plenty of other creatures represented at Talara – songbirds, amphibians, horses, camels, ground sloths, mastodons, deer, and more – but this place was primarily a deadly draw for the meat-eaters. Some of the Talara carnivores are still with us. The Sechuran desert fox, wrote Seymour in an overview of the site, is represented by pieces of over 100 individuals pulled from the asphalt and still lives in the area. And when I giddily started pulling open cabinets in the ROM collections on my second day at the museum, Seymour was kind enough to point out a stunning fossil jaguar skull that had previously been mistaken for an American lion. But the biggest of the Talara carnivores are long gone. The site has given up the bones of at least 51 dire wolves and 20 Smilodon. Many of these animals were juveniles. And while the sample isn’t nearly as extensive as that of La Brea, Seymour notes, the proportion of juvenile animals for the three most common carnivores ranged from 57 to 69 percent. That seems quite high compared to La Brea and Ice Age fossil sites in Florida, and could indicate that either there were more juveniles around at the time the Talara tar seeps were active or that the young animals were more naive and blundered into the trap more often. All these figures are just the beginning of a new effort to understand the site. After early descriptions and fossil sorting by Charles Churcher and others in the 1960s, the fossils waited in the Royal Ontario Museum collections for a more recent surge of interest that is beginning to trickle out some new details about this sticky Pleistocene bonanza. And Talara is not the only undersung tar pit around. In another new paper Seymour and Emily Lindsey surveyed several other sites in the Americas ranging from McKittrick in California to La Carolina, Tanque Loma, and Corralito in Ecuador. Each site its own character and history. Tanque Loma, for example, is superabundant in sloths and has plenty of prehistoric elephants but totally lacks the big carnivores found elsewhere. La Corralito, on the other hand, has a somewhat more even mix of carnivores, sloths, horses, elephants. This is probably because these two sites didn’t kill the animals by suffocation in tar but were places where bones were laid down by rivers and then tar seeped up into them afterwards. There wasn’t the same deadly aroma of rotting flesh that pulled the wolves and sabercats to the tar in Talara and La Brea. For carnivores, those places were truly the pits. Lindsey, E., Lopez, E. 2014. Tanque Loma, a new late-Pleistocene megafaunal tar seep locality from southwest Ecuador. Journal of South American Earth Sciences. doi: 10.1016/j.jsames.2014.11.003 Lindsey, E., Seymour, K. 2015. “Tar Pits” of the Western Neotropics: Paleoecology, taphonomy, and mammalian biogeography. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Science Series, 42: 111-123 Seymour, K. 2015. Perusing Talara: Overview of the Late Pleistocene fossils from the tar seeps of Peru. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Science Series, 42: 97-109 [This post was originally published at National Geographic.]