Free Dinosaur App from The American Museum of Natural History

Geek Culture

Image: American Museum of Natural HistoryImage: American Museum of Natural History

Image: American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History has put out an app that lets you peruse dinosaur images and information, almost as if you were at the museum itself. And it’s free! You could spend hours studying the interesting images in this application, or you could just pick it up and learn a little bit at a time.

When you start the app, a photo mosaic of a dinosaur skull appears. You can then zoom in on a location to see the many many images in the mosaic. There are a lot of different kinds of images including reconstructed dinosaurs, bones, dig sites, drawings, fossils, animals, research and people.

When you zoom in enough to see just one photo on the screen, an Info button appears. Tapping this brings up a screen with the photo, title, location in the museum, description and an option to send the photo by email. It sends the email within the program rather than opening an email app, which is handy, except that you can’t access a contact list. And the emailed photo is pretty low resolution and it has “Dinosaurs – Now Available on the iTunes App Store” on top of the image. Also on the Info page for each image, you can read comments from others or add your own comments.

To navigate, tap an option on the menu at the bottom of the screen. If the menu strip isn’t currently displayed, tap near the bottom of the screen and it should show up. I had a hard time getting it to show up on some of the screens, however. When the menu is there, tapping Mosaic will take you back to the photo mosaic. Stories takes you to a very limited list of dinosaur histories, but each one is a multi-page story on that dinosaur with photos and the history of discovery. About has instructions for the app’s use, a bibliography, contributors and planned updates.

It is fun to browse the mosaic, but it is often hard to remember where you found information previously. It would be very helpful to have a search option available. The app is fun and educational, but not a very useful reference for more than casual use because of how you access the information. Also, the app seems to crash fairly frequently if you try to do things too quickly. Crashing brings you back to the main iPod app screens.

The American Museum of Natural History Dinosaurs app is free and available from the iTunes store. It’s interesting and fun enough to make me look forward to more collections apps that are to come!

Wired: Large number of amazing dinosaur related photos, detailed information and it’s free!

Tired: Crashes periodically, hard to access specific information, wish there was a longer list of stories.

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