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Startup is the first museum exhibit in the world to be dedicated to the development of the micro-computer. It is the brainchild of Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and philanthropist, and was his way to give back to the Albuquerque community that had supported him and Bill Gates during the early years of their work. The exhibit looks at early computers and shows how they completely changed the way that we work, live and play. The exhibit aims to capture and portray the excitement of the early days of personal computers and does so with one-of-a-kind artifacts, videos and interactive displays.
Emergence examines how and why life started on Earth. Constantly updated, the exhibit presents the latest scientific research from around the globe. The first part of the exhibit looks at the six elements that have been present on earth since its beginning 4.6 billion years ago: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. Those elements make up everything on earth, past, present and future. Museum visitors are shown how the earth was formed and are given a timeline for Earth’s development, from its early atmosphere, to the emergence of life, first as single-cell organisms and then, many millions of years later, as entities made up of many cells. The exhibit traces the history of the earth through the ice ages and then takes a glimpse at the planet that we live on today.
Another focal point of the exhibit Emergence is the similarity in genetic basis that is shared by everything on earth. Every single thing on earth, including humans, has the same genetic background. A study of cell structure and movement helps museum visitors understand this ground-breaking fact. The displays also examine extremophiles, which are organisms able to thrive in all kinds of extreme environments. In particular, the exhibit scrutinizes organisms that grow in the caves of New Mexico. Finally, Emergence looks at various modern theories about the origin of life.
The Bisti Beast exhibit gets its name from the Bisti/De-na-zin Wilderness Area of northwestern New Mexico, where, amongst other finds, the skeleton of a tyrannosaur was discovered in the early 20th century. Early paleontologists found specimens of this dominant large predator in the San Juan Basin, and excavations of fossil matter continues to this very day. In the past, fossil material dug up in New Mexico was sent to museums and laboratories far from its origins, but when the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science was opened, all fossil material unearthed in the state was sent to it instead.
The tyrannosaur was the largest predator and meat-eating dinosaur in Asia and North America in the Late Cretaceous period, seventy million years ago. It was a period of high global sea waters and intense heat throughout the planet. At that time, North America had a tropical climate zone, and for thirty million years was divided into east and west by a shallow seaway that flooded the interior of the landmass. During this time, the first tyrannosaur appeared in western North America.
Its origins are unknown, but scientists speculate that the first tyrannosaurs appeared in Asia and Europe during the Jurassic period and migrated to North America at a point in time when the global seawater levels were extremely low. The tyrannosaur that appeared in the Americas was a primitive being, with a simple skull marked by horny protrusions over each eye. The Bisti Beast exhibit displays two of these skulls, one being an adult skull over three feet long that belonged to an animal an estimated thirty feet long, weighing three tons. A smaller, sub-adult skull is also on show at the museum; it was excavated from the San Juan basin as well, on lands belonging to the Navajo Nation.