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American Museum of Natural History Photo 2017-08-21 20:42

Some of the Triassic period’s (251 - 199 million years ago) most formidable threats were not dinosaurs, but animals more closely related to crocodiles. In 2010, paleontologists discovered a nearly complete skeleton of Prestosuchus chiniquensis in Brazil, which offered additional insight into the lives of these apex predators. Paleontologists found the fossil in a sedimentary rock formation that was a lake millions of years ago. At around 20 feet long and 900 pounds, Prestosuchus had a deep skull, serrated teeth, and a long tail. Paleontologists think that the animal may have been preying on herbivores who’d come to the water to drink. Want to assemble a life-sized cast skeleton of Prestosuchus? Visit the Museum’s Discovery Room:

National Gallery of Art Photo 2017-08-21 15:53

Happy birthday to Asher Brown Durand, born on this day in 1796. Durand originally worked as a printmaker and engraver, trained by his father. In the 1830s, the artist ended his career as an engraver in favor of painting. Inspired by Thomas Cole, Durand believed that the direct study of nature should be the primary inspiration for American artists. He produced meticulously painted works that were much admired for their faithful depictions of natural forms and light and atmosphere. Let your eye wander over "Pastoral Landscape." By 1861, when Asher B. Durand executed this large and impressive picture, he had perfected his approach to landscape painting. His expressive views of America's wilderness, based on close observations of the natural world, stand as prime examples of the Hudson River School aesthetic. Do you like this painting? Why or why not? Asher Brown Durand, "Pastoral Landscape," 1861, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of The Manoogian Foundation, in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art