March of the Fossil Penguins

Fossil penguin discoveries and research

Happy Penguin Awareness Day

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January 20th is Penguin Awareness Day. If you are in the Greenwich CT area, consider celebrating by joining us for a penguin evolution talk and a live demonstration of 3D penguin printing.  The event will be held in the same gallery as the photography show Antarctica: Images of an Ancient Land, featuring the work of Diane Tuft.

3D Penguin in Exhibition

Written by Dan Ksepka

January 20, 2015 at 1:00 am

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Penguin Prototype

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This afternoon we welcomed the 3D printed prototype of our penguin to meet the original. In the photo, you’ll notice a few differences. The colors of our old reliable penguin have faded a bit over the last half century, which is natural in older museum specimens. I still think he/she (we don’t know the sex for this specimen) has charm. The spot and collar patterns were carefully done but are not 100% accurate because the current scanning technology detects the surface of the scanned object, but not the color. Overall it is really nice to have not only a light weight printed replica of our penguin, but a virtual copy that can be viewed instantly on a computer.

You can meet them both next Tuesday (January 20th) at the Bruce Museum Penguin Awareness Day event. Doors open at 6:30pm for refreshments, and the talk and demonstration starts at 7:00pm.

3D Penguin 2a.

Written by Dan Ksepka

January 14, 2015 at 5:16 pm

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Test Penguin #1

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In an earlier post, we saw the Bruce penguin being scanned at MakerBot.  Now for the test – will the scan print out correctly? We decided to start small, with this three inch tall version. It looks a little like a penguin cookie awaiting frosting, but the beak, flippers, and feet came out very well. Soon, we will give it a run at full power and see if we can create a perfect life-size replica!

IMG_2934

Written by Dan Ksepka

January 5, 2015 at 11:34 am

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Happy Holidays from March of the Fossil Penguins!

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Continuing its journey for outreach, the Bruce Museum penguin is now greeting visitors at the door to wish them a happy holiday season and promote Penguin Awareness Day (January 20th). Thanks for reading March of the Fossil Penguins and please come back in the New Year for more penguin goodness.

photo

Written by Dan Ksepka

December 23, 2014 at 12:06 pm

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Printing a Penguin, Part 1

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Our Bruce Museum  Black-footed Penguin sure gets around town. Originally from South Africa, he now resides in our natural history collection: you may remember him from a recent trip through the collections freezer. He has been on another adventure, this time serving as the model for a technological demonstration. In this photo, our penguin is sitting on a chair being laser scanned (actually, he is a tad short so had to stand on a milk crate). The screen to the right shows the read-out.

This 3D scan will allow us to make a replicate of the penguin at live size. The Bruce Museum is partnering with the local MakerBot store for a special Penguin Appreciation Day event where we will have a penguin evolution lecture and then print a penguin live. If you are in the Greenwich CT area on January 11th, please join us at 6:30pm.

 

photo-2

Written by Dan Ksepka

December 14, 2014 at 6:28 am

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Penguins in the Freezer

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At the Bruce Museum, we take good care of our specimens. One of my favorites is of course our Black-footed Penguin (who by the way needs a name – please vote on here). Here it is, taking a one-week vacation from the natural history  collections cabinets in the deep-freeze. Why this destination?  One of the many ways museums keep specimens safe from pests is precautionary freezing. This kills insect pests that can infest objects like bird feathers and mammal fur and lead to damaged or destroyed specimens. When new specimens come into our museum or we shuffle things on and off display, we give them a deep freeze as a safeguard against unwanted hitchhiking pests.

Disclaimer: In case any museum folks were horrified to see me putting a penguin directly into the freezer, we seal all our specimens in bags before freezing them to prevent frost damage.

photo 2

Written by Dan Ksepka

November 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm

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Name Our Penguin!

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The Bruce Museum needs your help!  We have a wonderful penguin in our collection, and it needs a name.

Please go to the museum’s Facebook page to vote for your favorite name – or suggest your own! We’ll report the winner and then cover some of the planned travels of this particular penguin in service of science and education.

https://www.facebook.com/BruceMuseum

So far, the leading candidates are Mrs. Bagley (after the 1942 donor of the specimen), Marples (after penguin paleontologist Brian J. Marples), Griswold (after original Bruce Museum Curator Paul Griswold Howes), and Moffat (after Robert Moffat Bruce, who ceded his estate to house the Bruce Museum in 1908).

Penguin copy

Written by Dan Ksepka

November 12, 2014 at 6:00 pm

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