In this quiet scene from a #Pride weekend, three women join hands, together in the movement to ensure equal protection for the transgender community. Sylvia Rivera sits between her partner Julia Murray (right) and activist Christina Hayworth, in a @smithsoniannpg photo by Luis Carle at the Saturday Rally before New York’s Gay Pride Parade in 2000. Rivera was at the Stonewall riots of 1969, the turning point of the modern LGBTQ struggle for equal rights, when patrons of the Stonewall Inn violently rebuffed a police raid. But she faced racism and discrimination as a transgender Latina by the mostly white cisgender male leadership of the Gay Activist Alliance that she campaigned with. Rivera—who had been cast out by family as a teenager—began to work with homeless teens in New York City. She co-founded the militant group and shelter Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) with her friend Marsha P. Johnson, an African American transgender woman. #SmithsonianPride#BecauseOfHerStory
Studying the past helps us understand the present and informs choices we need to make for a better future. Deep Time is OUR story. Science shows us that human civilization is but a short afterword to a 3.7-billion-year-long epic poem. But in our short time on Earth, humans have caused change at a rate and scale never seen before in our planet’s history. #DeepTime ends by inspiring us to think urgently, but hopefully, about our future. We can adapt, innovate, and collaborate to leave a positive legacy on the planet. Thanks for following my takeover this week, and follow @SmithsonianNMNH for more about our new exhibition! — Siobhan Starrs, #DeepTime project manager
Meet the fossil version of the turducken. Our 20-foot-long predatory marine reptile Tylosaurus contains a two-for-one lunch special. In the fossil’s stomach cavity, we discovered its last meal: a plesiosaur, or flippered marine reptile. But wait—what’s that? The stomach ALSO contained the bones of the plesiosaur’s last meal: small fishes and invertebrates. — Siobhan Starrs, @SmithsonianNMNH#DeepTime project manager
Working on #DeepTime, I’ve met some of the coolest people who do amazing jobs that I want to have in another life. The fossil preparators build dinosaurs and mammals for exhibits, and sometimes go find fossils and bring them back to the museum. Artisans design and create intricate metal brackets to hold specimens. Each one is like a piece of jewelry, specifically designed for the fossil it will hold. Once the brackets are done, installers carefully…carefully…put the specimens into the exhibit. Here they are standing under the T. rex pelvis, the biggest, heaviest bone and the first one to be installed. Swipe for a time lapse video of the installation, and the glamour shot of the result. #ThisPaleoLife — Siobhan Starrs, @SmithsonianNMNH#DeepTime project manager
Can you spot the smallest and tallest parts of #DeepTime? The smallest individual fossil in the exhibition is a vertebra (backbone) of an early snake called Coniophis sp. It’s less than a centimeter across—but over 66 MILLION YEARS OLD. And on the other side of the spectrum: Diplodocus. Stretched out, this big guy is 87 feet long, more than 13 feet tall, and would have weighed 12 to 13 tons in life. Diplodocus’ massive size makes me ask BIG questions: How did they get to be THAT big? What is it like to live THAT large? I hope people come to #DeepTime and start asking their own questions. Or become a scientist, and start answering some! — Siobhan Starrs, @SmithsonianNMNH#DeepTime project manager
I am always amazed by how many famous or iconic fossils we have in the museum’s collection. One of my favorites is this touchable upper arm bone, or humerus, from a Brachiosaurus. Scientists know that based on the height of this bone, this giant weighed about 65 tons when it was alive. That’s MASSIVE. This bone is the single largest dinosaur bone ever found in North America. — Siobhan Starrs, @SmithsonianNMNH#DeepTime project manager
Dinosaurs are naturally spotlight-stealers, but we needed to get insects and plants to stand out from the crowd! As ecosystem foundations, they’re are vitally important. So in #DeepTime, look up at hand-painted trees and look closely at incredible insects like the ones in this amber from a fossilized tree, Hymenaea protera, 20 to 16 million years ago. — Siobhan Starrs, @SmithsonianNMNH#DeepTime project manager
It took preparators—the folks who extract fossils from rocks—12 years to put our Camarasaurus into the old fossil exhibit, way back in 1947. When we removed it from the old hall in 2014 (shown in the first photos), we discovered half the skeleton was still buried in rock, and had been hidden underfoot beneath the floor. The original preparators had only done HALF the job and hid away the rest. So our team from Research Casting International took a full year to carefully carve out the other half for the first time in more than 150 million years! This amazing plant-eating dinosaur now shines in the spotlight, reaching upright in a feeding pose that was a feat of engineering to create. It’s one of the many transformations you’ll see in the new fossil hall, open now! — Siobhan Starrs, @SmithsonianNMNH#DeepTime project manager
Hey there! I’m Siobhan Starrs, and I’ll be taking over the Smithsonian Instagram account for the week. I’m the Project Manager for the just-opened #DeepTime fossil hall at @SmithsonianNMNH, where I’m captain of the immense team of people who made it possible. I’ve been working on this for more than 10 years! What excites me the most is that for the first time we connect the strange and wonderful history of life on Earth to what’s happening right now. And it’s a REALLY BIG story. The nine dioramas in the exhibition (by Hockley Studios) help tell that story in a small space. They bring ancient animals, plants, and the landscapes they inhabited to life. With stunning landscape paintings by Dwayne Harty and leaves and animals as tiny as a few millimeters long, these landscapes are as artful as they are accurate. Look closely for some hidden “Easter eggs,” such as the roosting bats in the Paleogene Forest scene or the Arctic hare hidden in the ice sheets around 20,000 years ago.
Happy opening day, #DeepTime! After being closed for five years, the dinos (plus about 700 of their closest fossil friends) are back at @smithsoniannmnh. While the hall hasn't been around for as long as the 3.7 billion years of life on Earth, it does have quite a history. Swipe for photos of the museum's fossil hall in 1911, 1931, and 2014. Planning to visit this weekend? Info on hours, costumes and more you should know at bit.ly/DeepTimeTips.
It's the ultimate #FossilFriday: T. rex (with a side of Triceratops). At 42 feet long and 15,400 pounds, T. rex towered over other carnivores in its ecosystem. But those arms? 🤷♀️🤷♂️ They were too small to grab prey, although the joints and muscles were still functional, so their use remains a mystery. In 1988, rancher Kathy Wankel discovered this Tyrannosaurus specimen while hiking on land managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. After a little digging with a garden shovel and a jackknife, she unearthed the first complete T. rex arm ever found. Thanks to everyone who played along with our fossil detective series! 🔍 See these specimens in all their glory in @smithsoniannmnh's new #DeepTime fossil hall.
🔍Test your fossil detective skills this #FossilFriday. Can you guess what animal these belonged to? Clues: 🦴It lived in a rich ecosystem that flourished 67 to 66 million years ago, and was found in present-day Montana. 🦴Its thick, serrated teeth ripped through flesh—sometimes leaving holes in other dinosaurs’ bones. 🦴Most of the tail of the one in @smithsoniannmnh's #DeepTime was washed away before the skeleton was buried. We used casts from other specimens to replace the missing bones.