at the Tennessee Aquarium
2, 1999) - "T-Rex, Back to the Cretaceous" brings dinosaurs
to life on the IMAX®3D screen, but you can also get a
look at some prehistoric creatures right across the street
from the theater at the Tennessee Aquarium.
Alligator snapping turtle:
earliest fossil records of the alligator snapping turtle
are from the Miocene Epoch.
animals look more dinosaur-like than the alligator snapping
turtle, because of their sheer size and short thick necks
supporting large heads covered with branching, fleshy
snapping turtles are the largest freshwater turtles in
North America. Found only in rivers and streams that drain
into the Gulf of Mexico, the average adult weighs from
35-150 pounds, but may grow to more than 250 pounds.
catch fish, these turtles hold their mouths open and wiggle
a small, pink, lure-like appendage at passing fish. Once
the fish sees the lure and tries to eat it, the turtle
snaps its powerful hooked jaws shut and gobbles up dinner.
snapping turtles may live more than 100 year
alligator snapping turtles in the Delta Country gallery.
swim today practically unchanged from the way they were
when T-Rex roamed the earth.
feed by sucking in their food-which consists mostly of
snails, insect larvae, crustaceans and small fish-through
their toothless, fleshy-lipped mouths.
sturgeon species has a fine-grained hide with few scales,
an upturned, shark-like tail fin, a mouth set well back
on the underside of the head, and a skeleton made mostly
of cartilage. Each sturgeon has widely separated rows
of heavy guard scales called scutes and four barbel feelers
that look like a beard and hang below the head to help
sturgeon in the Volga River and St. Lawrence River exhibits
of the Rivers of the World gallery, and in the Reelfoot
lake exhibit of the Tennessee River gallery.
are one of the oldest types of living bony fish on the
planet, with known fossil remains dating back to the Cretaceous
large, freshwater fish are found mostly in the Mississippi
River System. They are also called spoonbill or duckbill
fish for their flattened, paddle-shaped snouts, which
may be a third of the length of their bodies. The paddle
is a sensory-laden feature that stabilizes the fish as
it swims with its large mouth open to find and filter
food particles from the water.
as a food fish, paddlefish eggs are increasingly mixed
with those of the sturgeon for high-grade caviar. Its
nickname is the Chattanooga Beluga.
paddlefish in the Reelfoot Lake exhibit in the Tennessee
bony fish, shark skeletons consist of cartilage. Their
skin is covered with denticles, tooth-like scales, and
they have 5-7 gill slits per side, not one per side like
bonnethead sharks in the Gulf of Mexico exhibit.
The Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga is the largest freshwater
aquarium in the world. Built with private contributions, this
non-profit educational organization is dedicated to the understanding,
conservation and celebration of aquatic habitats. Admission
is $10.95 per adult and $5.95 per child, ages 3-12. Advance
tickets may be purchased online at www.tnaqua.org or by phone
at 1-800-262-0695. Members enjoy unlimited visits and other
benefits. To join or for program and trip information, call
267-FISH. The Aquarium is open every day except Thanksgiving
and Christmas and is accessible to people with disabilities.
The Aquarium's TDD number is (423) 265-4498, and FM assistive
listening devices are available on site. For more information,