2001-Sun Feb 26 16:37:27 MST 2017
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Heroic Slime isn't a comic book character in the new Avengers flick.
It’s actually a fossil of 3.5 billion-year-old microbes that somehow survived acid oceans and poisonous atmospheres to begin the evolutionary ascent that led to the T. Rex, mammoths, saber-toothed tigers and — you guessed it — eventually us.
And it’s one of many unique fossils on display only at the Houston Museum of Natural Science's new Hall of Paleontology, which opens to the public on June 2.
As you journey through the $85 million exhibit space, you’ll come face to face with the most complete Triceratops skeleton in the world — and the only one with preserved skin that you can actually touch.
You’ll also spy the bones of a Dimetrodon, a menacing fin-backed reptile that museum curator Dr. Robert Bakker calls his second favorite fossil in the hall. “It’s like choosing favorites among grandkids,” says the paleontologist, who acted as an adviser on the Jurassic Park movies. “But the fin-backs are better preserved in north central Texas than anywhere else, although they ruled the top predator role everywhere.”
Petrified dinosaur poop? They’ve got that, too, as well as a T. Rex with the best preserved hands ever found (all the better to eat you with, my dear).
And don’t forget about Archaeotherium, “a killer warthog with the jaws of a crocodile, the legs of a buffalo and bone protuberances on the cheeks, like some sort of beast invented by Star Wars,” says Dr. Bakker.
But besides offering visitors an exclusive look at some of Earth’s most fascinating animals and their ancient habitats, Dr. Bakker hopes that they also leave with a renewed sense of wonder.
“Fossils grab folks' imaginations because they draw us into a journey, not through space but through deep time,” he says. “The exhibit is romantic and exciting, replete with creatures both exotic and beautiful. And our own history is back there — we can trace the ancestry of our most beloved creatures, from Labrador Retrievers to our own uncle Cid.”
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