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Members’ Magazine

Winter 2011 Vol. 36 No. 1

New Species

at the
Field Work Worldwide:
a Snapshot

Building the Tree

of Life

Research in
2 News at the Museum 3

From the As we usher in 2011, the Museum is preparing a fresh, exhilarating point of view on the largest The Art of Medicine
a number of new ways for you to “enter” the freestanding dinosaur mount in the world.
Museum and more easily access everything it has In the age of the virtual, enhancing access to are the subject of a new special exhibition, Body and Spirit:
to offer, whether your visit begins on Central Park the Museum is not merely a matter of improving Tibetan Medical Paintings, which opens January 25 in the
Ellen V. Futter West or at amnh.org. the physical entryway. The Museum is also Audubon Gallery on the Museum’s fourth floor. Curated by
While the restoration of the Central Park West increasingly using new media in pioneering ways Laila Williamson, senior scientific assistant in the Division
side of the Museum is under way, we are pleased to to bring its science, exhibitions, and education of of Anthropology, with host curator Laurel Kendall, chair
have already created a new path into the Museum— to visitors—wherever, whenever. In addition to of the division, the exhibition will run through July 17.
literally! The iconic Barosaurus mount in the the recently launched AMNH Explorer, Dinosaurs, In the 17th century, a series of paintings was commissioned
Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda has long dominated and Cosmic Discoveries iPhone apps, the Museum for use as teaching aids in a medical school founded in Lhasa,
this grand space, but with foot traffic diverted is preparing to unveil a spectacular new website Tibet, by Sangye Gyatso, regent to the Fifth Dalai Lama
around it. Late last year, without disturbing or about dinosaurs, which will bring the Museum’s and author of the Blue Beryl, an important commentary on
moving the beloved Barosaurus, her young one, world-renowned fossil collection to the public the classic Tibetan medical text Four Tantras. The fate of the
or the attacking Allosaurus, we removed the in a number of intriguing ways, including videos original paintings, which were created between 1687 and
center section of the exhibit’s platform so that on fossil hunting, an interactive “Dinosaurs A-Z” 1703, is unknown. But in the late 1990s, Romio Shrestha,
visitors can walk straight into the Museum—and encyclopedia, cladograms, and more. This exciting a Nepalese artist, and his students reproduced 79 paintings,
directly between and under the dueling dinosaurs. new website is just a glimpse of a completely painstakingly rendering their intricate details in vegetable
This 8-foot-wide opening becomes a new redesigned amnh.org that is coming this spring. and mineral dyes on canvas. These Tibetan Medical Paintings,
“welcome mat” to the Museum while offering Stay tuned! acquired and conserved with the support of Emily H. Fisher
and John Alexander and exhibited with the support of a generous
gift from the Estate of Marian O. Naumburg, are believed to
be among only a handful in existence, providing a unique and
Table of Contents rich history of medicine in Tibet.
Among the paintings on display in the exhibition are
News 3 depictions of human anatomy; the process of human development

5 8
from conception to birth; 302 points of the body vulnerable to
Close-Up 4 injury; and the origin of dreams and how they bring the sleeper
to either the beautiful realm of the gods or the ugly realm of
In The Field 6 tormented spirits. A “tree of diagnosis” conveys how a doctor
makes a diagnosis and treats diseases by observing, touching, and
Branching Out 8 The Tree of Diagnosis is one of 64 pieces in the new exhibition questioning the patient. Other paintings illustrate various Tibetan
Body and Spirit: Tibetan Medical Paintings. medical implements, therapies, and remedies—one of them, an
Spotting New Species 10 elixir of many ingredients, including honey, yak butter, garlic,
Just as Western medical historians prize classic texts, whether and flowers, that works through the healing power of the Buddha
The Heart of the Matter 12 Henry Gray’s 1858 Anatomy Descriptive and Surgical or Walter to give the patient “the body of a 16-year-old with the prowess of
B. Cannon’s 1932 The Wisdom of the Body, students of Tibetan a lion, strength of an elephant, complexion of a peacock, speed

12 21
Next 14 medicine value scroll paintings that illustrate traditional of a trained horse, and the life span of the Sun and Moon.”
medical knowledge and procedures. Sixty-four modern copies
Explore 18 of such medical paintings from the Museum’s collection For details, visit amnh.org.

Members 20
Museum Separates Battling Dinosaurs
Seen 22

Photo of painting © AMNH; photo of dinosaurs © AMNH/R. Mickens

For 20 years, visitors entering the Museum’s majestic Theodore Roosevelt
Rotunda have been greeted with a dramatic representation of an imagined
prehistoric encounter: a Barosaurus rearing up to protect her young from
an attacking Allosaurus.
American Museum of Natural History ISSN 0194-6110 Now visitors can become part of this scene by walking between the
Chairman Lewis W. Bernard USPS Permit #472-650 Allosaurus and the towering Barosaurus, the tallest freestanding dinosaur
President Ellen V. Futter Vol. 36, No. 1, Winter 2011 mount in the world. Last summer, the Museum separated the two long-time
Senior Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Rotunda is published quarterly by the Membership Office of the American combatants by cutting an 8-foot-wide pathway through the fiberglass and
Strategic Planning, and Education Lisa J. Gugenheim Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, NY steel platform they had shared since the mount was first installed in 1991.
Chief Philanthropy Officer Peter W. Lyden 10024-5192. Phone: 212-769-5606. Website: amnh.org. Museum membership of
In preparation for the task, a team from Research Casting International
Director of Membership Louise Adler $70 per year and higher includes a subscription to Rotunda. ©2011 American
(RCI), the company that installed the original mount, secured the skeletons
Museum of Natural History. Periodical postage paid at New York, NY, and
Magazine in part by lassoing the neck of the Barosaurus and tethering the supporting
at additional mailing offices. Postmaster: please send address changes to
Editor Eugenia V. Levenson
Rotunda, Membership Office, AMNH, at the above address. rope to the top of the vaulted ceiling, 100 feet above the floor.
Contributors Ashton Applewhite, Jae Aron, Joan Kelly Bernard, Cynthia Franks,
Kristin Phillips, Elena Sansalone, Karen Taber, Jessica Ulrich, Michael Walker Please send questions, ideas, and feedback to rotunda@amnh.org.
Design Hinterland Watch a video of the ceremonial first cut in the mount at amnh.org/news. The Museum separated the two dinosaurs late last summer.

Rotunda / Winter 2011 / AMNH.org

4 Close-Up at the Museum 5

Not the Biting Kind The Butterfly Brief: Never Folded or Hung

Heliconius cydno
Unlike the famous “very hungry caterpillar,” Storage of the textile collection was greatly
adult butterflies do not have mouths for improved with the help of a 2003 grant from
chomping down on leaves. Instead, butterflies the National Endowment for the Humanities.
“eat” by using a long curled proboscis, much Butterflies that belong to the Heliconius genus, known colloquially as longwings, To store each piece effectively, old cabinets were
like a drinking straw, to suck up nectar and other have discovered the secret to butterfly longevity. Like most members of the order retrofitted and new cabinets installed in an airy
liquids, and “taste” using chemical receptors Lepidoptera, longwings sip nectar from flowers using a straw-like organ called 10,000-square-foot space kept at 70˚ Fahrenheit
on their feet and proboscides. a proboscis. What distinguishes them from fellow butterflies—and moths—is that and 45 percent relative humidity. “That’s the climate
longwings can broaden their diet beyond these sweet liquids—which, in turn, which works best for the greatest number of
Butterflies in the Belly is thought to extend their life. materials,” says Paul Beelitz, director of Collections
They were seen as the souls or spirits of the That’s because Heliconius butterflies are able to ingest pollen by secreting and Archives in the Division of Anthropology.
deceased in ancient Greece, bad omens in Europe enzymes onto their proboscides. When these enzymes mix with pollen grains, “It’s very comfortable for people, too.”
in the Middle Ages, symbols of conjugal bliss they create a protein-rich liquid that the butterfly can absorb. Longwings spend
in Korea, and metaphors for nervousness in hours collecting and processing pollen grains and depositing them at other Pest Control
Germany. All over the world, butterflies have stops along the way. The plants pay them back, big time: the amino acids found Newly acquired textiles are frozen at -40˚
figured in local superstitions, reflecting a range in pollen are thought to increase egg production and lifespan up to eight months, Fahrenheit for 48 hours to kill insects at all stages
of societal anxieties and expectations. making longwings one of the longest-living groups of butterflies in the world. of life. Windows are double-glazed to keep insects
Their lifespan isn’t what gives these butterflies their name, however; their out, and a seamless floor surface extends up the
Comely Moths elongated wings do. Longwings are also sometimes called passion flower walls a few inches to eliminate cracks where they
Moths are often stereotyped as dull creatures butterflies because they favor the passion vine both as a place to lay eggs and might live. Cabinets are raised for easy cleaning
Catalog no. 70/2280
of the night, a popular misconception that gives as a source of food. The leaves of the passion flower give the longwings beneath. Sticky traps are checked, and should the
rise to another: that moths and butterflies are their characteristic toxicity: longwing caterpillars feed on the plant, acquiring rare insect appear, it is brought to the Museum’s

Follow the Thread:

two separate groups of lepidopterans. In fact, toxins that they retain through adulthood as protection from predators entomologists for evaluation.
butterflies are a small lineage of dayflying, gaudy throughout their lives.

A Mandarin Coat
moths. One such species is the African Peach Moth Cydno longwings can be distinguished from other Heliconius butterflies Sharing the Treasure
Egybolis vaillantina, which shows off its iridescent by their coloring: they are mainly black with white or yellowish markings The 2003 NEH grant also helped fund the
blue and orange wings during the day. on their forewings and blue on the hindwings. To make matters more confusing, digital imaging of the Museum’s 10,500
different Heliconius species often exhibit similar color patterns. This defense In 1901, budding anthropologist Berthold Laufer sent a brilliant blue silk robe ethnographic textiles and 4,200 Andean
Dangerous Beauty mechanism, known as Müllerian mimicry, is a form of interspecies imitation he had bought in Shanghai to the American Museum of Natural History with archeological textiles, now available on the
Caterpillars and butterflies use defense used to ward off natural enemies. a simple note: “Coat of a mandarin, for the summer.” Museum’s website at research.amnh.org/
mechanisms such as mimicry and camouflage Within a few years, fakes would flood the market, says Curator Laurel Kendall, anthropology. Previously, less than 1 percent of
to thwart potential predators. Looks can be See more than 500 live butterflies in The Butterfly Conservatory: chair of the Division of Anthropology, but the time and place of this purchase the collection had been photographed, and the
deceiving: the most attractive, brightly colored Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter, which runs through May 30. indicates that it is “the real thing,” a coat that could only have been worn by black and white prints were available only to
butterflies are usually poisonous or a mimic Presenting Sponsor of The Butterfly Conservatory is Con Edison. a scholar-advisor to the Imperial Court during the Qing dynasty, which lasted researchers visiting the Division of Anthropology
of poisonous species. from 1644 to 1911. or the Museum Library’s Photo Archive.
Heliconius cydno, below, and
Part of the Museum’s extensive collection of textiles, this coat exemplifies
Live Fast, Die Young other Longwing butterflies. the rigidly defined rules of Imperial Court dress in which an elaborate system Textiles on View
Depending on the climate, diet, and species, of colors and motifs telegraphed rank. The dragon, for example, is the ultimate Museum textiles are often featured in special
butterflies can live from one week to as long as “yang” or male symbol, and a sign of the Emperor’s power. The water represented exhibitions, most recently in Mythic Creatures.
six to eight months. The average total lifespan at the bottom of the robe reflects the legendary role of dragons in East Asia’s Exquisite examples are also on permanent display.
of a butterfly, which includes time spent in the traditional agrarian societies as denizens of lakes, rivers, and seas who once Beelitz offers this shorthand for finding them:
larval and pupal stages, is difficult to determine, a year ascend to the heavens to bring on the rain. Overall, the decoration suggests “Go to any ‘People of…’ Hall, whether Africa, Asia, the
however, since only a small fraction of caterpillars a mandarin of the fourth to sixth rank. Pacific, North America, or South America, and see
survive to adulthood in the wild. Laufer, who would go on to become the premier Sinologist of his generation, beautiful textiles, mostly in the form of garments.”
was sent to China by Franz Boas, then director of the Museum’s Anthropology
The Constant Gardener Division and the acknowledged father of the field in America. Boas had secured A Special Resource
In preparation for the Museum’s Butterfly a grant of $18,000 (about $400,000 today) from New York banker Jacob H. Schiff Textiles are occasionally loaned to other museums
Conservatory: Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter, to cover Laufer’s expenses for three years to gather “collections which illustrate accredited by the American Association of
which features more than 130 different species the popular customs and beliefs of the Chinese, their industries, their mode of life.” Museums, but generally the collection is studied
from seven countries around the world, a team Laufer set about buying the stuff of everyday life, completing what is still in-house by staff scientists and researchers from
of gardeners spends over a month recreating the most extensive ethnographic collection from pre-revolutionary China in colleges, universities, and other institutions.
the butterflies’ warm tropical habitats—with North America. Students from such schools as the Bard Graduate
Photos © AMNH/H. Davies

one important exception. Since females will lay Center, the Fashion Institute of Technology,
Photo © AMNH/D. Finnin

“Nobody was doing that kind of work at that time,” says Kendall. “He gave
their eggs on particular plants, called host us a picture of daily life...And that’s us! We’re all about the time capsule, the trunk and Parsons The New School for Design, are
plants, these are excluded from the conservatory in the attic, trying to imagine how people lived.” regular visitors. While they might find a fashion
to control the population. inspiration or two, they are usually learning
Go behind the scenes of the Division of Anthropology’s ethnographic collections about textile preservation.
on February 24 on a Members-only tour. See page 16 for more details.

Rotunda / Winter 2011 / AMNH.org

6 7

In the Field John Maisey

Ross MacPhee
Mark Norell
Alex de Voogt
Assistant Curator
Michael Novacek
Jin Meng
Associate Curator

Dark Beige
Division of Paleontology Division of Vertebrate Zoology Division of Paleontology Division of Anthropology Division of Paleontology Division of Paleontology
The Museum has a long Dr. Maisey carried out Dr. MacPhee, who curated Dr. Norell traveled to Romania Dr. de Voogt traveled to Nubia Dr. Novacek is one of the Field work took Dr. Meng
tradition of exploration. fieldwork in Arkansas, where Race to the End of the Earth, to describe a new and as part of his research of team leaders of the annual to remote parts of China
he collected a fossil shark continued his field work unusual dromaeosaur. mancala and mancala-like American Museum of Natural as he continued research
Today, field work is still from the Fayetteville Shale. in west Antarctica. games in the Middle East. History/Mongolian Academy on the evolution of rodents
a core component of research of Sciences expeditions to and rabbits.
and collection. Below is the Gobi Desert.
just a small sampling of 2010
field expeditions.

Ben R. Oppenheimer
Associate Curator
Division of Physical Sciences
Dr. Oppenheimer worked
at the Palomar Observatory
in California on a survey of
nearby stars of exoplanets
and discovered objects
orbiting several famous stars.

David Hurst Thomas Lorenzo Prendini Charles Spencer John Sparks

Curator Associate Curator Curator Associate Curator
Division of Anthropology Division of Invertebrate Zoology Division of Anthropology Division of Vertebrate Zoology
Dr. Thomas continued Dr. Prendini, who studies Dr. Spencer continued the Dr. Sparks’s work included
archaeological survey and scorpions, carried out field excavation and analysis surveys of marine fishes in
excavation on St. Catherines work in Namibia, Puerto of a Zapotec ceremonial Vietnam to continue research
Island, documenting the Rico, US Virgin Islands, precinct dating to 300-100 BC on bioluminescence and
earliest known human Mona Island, South Africa, in Oaxaca, Mexico. the evolution of hearing.
presence on the island. Venezuela, Australia, Chile
and Mexico.

George Harlow Mark Siddall John Flynn Melanie L. J. Stiassny Edmond Mathez Christopher Raxworthy Laurel Kendall
Curator Curator Curator Curator Curator Associate Curator Curator
Division of Physical Sciences Division of Invertebrate Zoology Division of Paleontology Division of Vertebrate Zoology Division of Physical Sciences Division of Vertebrate Zoology Division of Anthropology
Dr. Harlow returned Dr. Siddall carried out Dean Dr. Stiassny traveled to Dr. Mathez studied the Dr. Raxworthy traveled Dr. Kendall visited Borneo
to the Motagua Valley fieldwork in the Peruvian Richard Gilder Graduate School the Congo, continuing Bushveld Complex, an to Madagascar, Mauritius, to explore prospects for
in Guatemala to study Amazon, where he Dr. Flynn, who researches survey work on the fishes enormous fossil magma body and the Seychelles to a work of ikat weaving
the origin of jade. described a new leech. the evolution of mammals of the Congo River Basin. in South Africa and the world’s continue his studies of and documentation of its
and Mesozoic vertebrates, major source of several endemic chameleons. manufacturing process.
carried out field work in important metals.
western Madagascar and
the Peruvian Amazon.

Rotunda / Winter 2011 / AMNH.org


To walk the fourth floor of the Museum—peering at the jagged

“teeth” of armored fish Dunkleosteus, ducking under the 23-foot
wingspan of the flying reptile Pteranodon, studying the long
curved tusks of the elephant relative Mammuthus—is, in a sense,
to walk the tree of life.
Each branching point represents the arrival of an evolutionary innovation—
jaws, water-tight eggs, hooves, respectively—that unites one group of animals
and distinguishes them from lineages that lack the feature. Known as
synapomorphies, or shared traits derived from a common ancestor, these
are the tracks of evolution.
Scientists have used trees to order life since before Charles Darwin first
scribbled a spiky diagram in his notebook. In the 1950s, German biologist Willi
Hennig formally proposed that trees of life should reflect evolutionary relationships
among organisms, founding cladistics: a method for grouping organisms into
ancestor-descendent clades, from the Greek word for “branch,” based on shared,
derived features. But it took a Museum scientist, ichthyologist Gareth Nelson, to
disseminate the idea among English-language biologists. Together with students
and colleagues at the Museum—including another ichthyologist, Donn Rosen, First-known sketch by Darwin of an evolutionary tree
paleontologists Eugene Gaffney and Niles Eldridge, ornithologist Joel Cracraft, and
invertebrate specialists Norman Platnick and Randall T. Schuh—Nelson steadfastly Building the Tree of Life
argued the case for cladistics as the tool to test classification during academic talks,
in research papers, and even on napkins over meals. More than a century ago, Charles Darwin
So began the “cladistics wars” of the 1960s and 1970s that pitted those who build described the Tree of Life in On the Origin of Species:

Photo of Hall of Vertebrate Origins © AMNH/D. Finnin; photo of Darwin’s notebook © By permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library
trees with clades against biologists who favored competing schools of taxonomy:
phenetics, which does not use evolutionary relationships and instead relies …the green and budding twigs may represent
on an expert to determine groupings using observable traits; and evolutionary existing species; and those produced
systematics, which considers evolutionary relatedness in a less rigorous way. during former years may represent the long
“The Museum was the hub of the taxonomy universe during the 1970s and succession of extinct species. Of the many
1980s,” says Curator Ward Wheeler. “Cladistics changed everything and brought twigs which flourished when the tree was a
true hypothesis testing that maps evolutionary paths onto the Tree of Life.” mere bush, only two or three…survive and bear
Seminal work that applied cladistics to classification during this time included the other branches; so with the species which
Gaffney’s paper on fossil turtles, which was published by the Museum. lived during long-past geological periods, very
“I was a grad student in Arizona when Gene Gaffney’s 1975 Bulletin of the few have left living and modified descendants.
American Museum of Natural History was published,” says Curator Darrel Frost,
a herpetologist. “It blew everything out of the water.” Today, Museum scientists continue the work
Cladistics is now the commonly used taxonomic system, and many Museum of building and revising trees of life using
cladistics and drawing on the latest available

scientists have spent their careers using evolutionary relationships to refine the
Tree of Life, from trunk to the twigs (see sidebar). While cladistics was initially technology, which includes genetic analysis and
limited to analyzing morphological, or observable, characteristics, two recent supercomputing. Some examples from curators
technological leaps—DNA sequencing and the power of supercomputing—have and their colleagues include:
allowed scientists to produce ever-more intricate and testable cladograms, with Ward Wheeler and Rob DeSalle found in
significant applications that include drug development and conservation initiatives. different studies that sponges are not at the root

“We couldn’t design drugs or vaccines for pathogens without understanding of the animal tree; there are other candidates,
the relationships of organisms and the evolutionary process that produced the such as comb jellies;
tree,” says Curator Rob DeSalle. John Flynn’s molecular research on carnivores
New streams of funding from federal initiatives such as the Assembling the found that seals moved from land to water
Tree of Life (AToL) project from the National Science Foundation, secured in part independently of sea lions and walruses;
by the efforts of Museum scientists, is furthering these research efforts. Jin Meng described surprising mammal fossils,
“Building trees is now a big enterprise,” says Cracraft. “It is also spawning including one that ate small dinosaurs, that
a huge amount of work in comparative behavior, community evolution, and changed the early mammal tree;
Museum scientists played a central role comparative biology. The ink was barely dry on our tree for South American Darrel Frost analyzed amphibian evolutionary
relationships in what is still the largest phylogenetic
in building the case for cladistics.
birds last year when ecologists asked us for help to address key questions in
environmental science.” study of vertebrates ever undertaken;
Today, they are still at work building trees of life. John Maisey used molecular and some
For more about research at the Museum, visit amnh.org/science. anatomical traits to show that rays may be the
sister group to, rather than descendent from,
Opposite: Walk a Tree of Life starting in the Hall of Vertebrate Origins. all modern sharks.

Rotunda / Winter 2011 / AMNH.org

10 11

Spotting New Species

Peropteryx pallidoptera Marmosops creightoni
Pale-winged Doglike Bat Creighton’s Slender Opossum
Lowland Ecuador and Peru Valle de Zongo, Bolivia
Curator Nancy Simmons, Division of Vertebrate Zoology Curator Robert Voss, Division of Vertebrate Zoology
With wings clear as windows and soft brown Collected near a hydroelectric dam in an
fur, this insect-eating bat lives in the rainforests extremely steep and misty cloud forest,
of Amazonia. The agile flyer belongs to a group this mouse opossum weighs an ounce. Its
of bats that often evades survey nets because relatives—other didelphid opossums—are
A tawny bat peers down its leafy nose from a photo “Life is slipping through our fingers almost before of their sensitive echolocation system. the most basal group (from the earliest branch)
taped to the wall over Curator Nancy Simmons’ desk. we have time to document it,” says Provost of Science of marsupials living today.
She thinks it is an unknown species. “Colleagues in Michael Novacek.
Belize sent me this photo,” she says. “I keep it as a Finding species takes special focus and dedication.
reminder of the species still waiting to be discovered.” These animals tend to be from relatively inaccessible Calumma peltierorum Tyrannobdella rex
Many Museum scientists spend their careers areas, overlooked by previous generations, or just Peltiers’ Chameleon Tyrant King Leech
Tsaratanana Massif, Madagascar Provincia de Chanchamayo, Peru
cataloging new life. In recent years, this work has very good at looking like their closest relatives. Associate Curator Christopher Raxworthy, Division of Vertebrate Zoology Curator Mark Siddall, Division of Invertebrate Zoology
gained new urgency because of the increasingly rapid The list below is a mere fraction of the hundreds
disappearance of species around the world, termed of new species described by Museum scientists and Roughly bearded by tiny spines lining its
chin, this shape-shifting chameleon can raise
With enormous teeth lining one jaw, this
pinky-sized leech was plucked from the nose
the sixth mass extinction. their colleagues since 2004. lobes behind its eyes to threaten competition of a girl bathing in the Amazon’s headwaters.
or predators. It is found holding onto slim This tiny “T. rex” and relatives span the world’s
branches with pincer-like feet in the rainforest tropics; their last common ancestor hails from
atop Madagascar’s tallest mountains. a time when the continents were still attached.

Asteia vanuaensis Plasmodium gemini Micralestes schelly Dendragapus howardi

Vanua Levu Floating Fly Twinned Malaria Parasite Schelly’s Tetra Mt. Pinos Sooty Grouse
Vanua Levu, Fiji Sandaun Province, Papua New Guinea Democratic Republic of the Congo Los Padres National Forest, California
Curator David Grimaldi, Division of Invertebrate Zoology Associate Curator Susan Perkins, Division of Invertebrate Zoology Curator Melanie L. J. Stiassny, Division of Vertebrate Zoology Associate Curator George Barrowclough, Division of Vertebrate Zoology
Often found rolled in banana and wild ginger Detected in blood smears drawn from lizards, When plucked from the rapids of the lower This grouse has not been seen at Mt. Pinos
leaves, this small fly’s broad shiny face and this simple single-cell parasite is one of 200 Congo River, an iridescent band of blue-green since the 1940s but was thought to have
black and yellow body seem to float when species of malaria parasites that have been makes this dwarf alestid shine. Relatives a more northeastern population in the Sierra
it runs across a surface. It is found in the found in birds, mammals, and squamates. include tigerfish and tetras, and its teeth are Nevada. However, new genetic research
ruggedly tropical island for which it is named, This species tends to “twin” in the cells of its rife with tiny serrated cusps. on Museum skins shows that D. howardi
Fiji’s second largest. host, the modest forest dragon. is extinct: the Sierra population is a different
species, D. fuliginosus.

Phreatobius sanguijuela Antipodactis scotiae Eustenogaster nigra Escaphiella gigantea

Sanguijuela Catfish Rayed Sea Anemone Black Hover Wasp Giant Taco Spider
Comunidad de Porvenir, Bolivia Southern Ocean near Antarctica Northern Vietnam Tayrona-Park, Colombia
Curator Scott Schaefer, Division of Vertebrate Zoology Assistant Curator Estefanía Rodríguez, Division of Invertebrate Zoology Curator James Carpenter, Division of Invertebrate Zoology Curator Emeritus Norman Platnick, Division of Invertebrate Zoology
Blood-red and blind, this catfish popped up Of an ancient lineage yet morphologically Suited completely in black, this hover wasp A giant among goblin spiders at one-tenth of
in a 20-foot well dug to draw water from an simple, this sea anemone snatches food from is part of the most basal social wasps. The fine an inch, this arachnid is taco-shaped and
underground spring. Its closest relative is 6,000 the water column using salmon-colored brown nests of this species—used by adults salsa-hued. This species and more than 40 of its
miles down the Amazon River, so the discovery tentacles that fade to white. This new species— for winter protection—look like inverted flasks petite relatives were discovered by meticulously
hints at undescribed subterranean diversity also creating a new family—was collected hanging from fibers or wires and have fewer sorting the leaf litter in which they reside.
that is probably highly endangered because from a depth of 6,000 feet in frigid polar seas. than 20 cells for offspring.
of its shrinking habitat.

Hadogenes soutpansbergensis Curalium cronini Osteolaemus osborni Paretroplus lamenabe

Soutpansberg Flat Rock Scorpion Ruby Bug Central African Dwarf Crocodile Giant Red Fish
Soutpansberg range, South Africa Gainesville, Florida Congo Basin, Central Africa Mahajamba River, Madagascar
Associate Curator Lorenzo Prendini, Division of Invertebrate Zoology Curator Randall T. Schuh, Division of Invertebrate Zoology George Amato, Director of Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics Associate Curator John Sparks, Division of Vertebrate Zoology
With bodies flat as pancakes, these seldom-seen So different that its description required the Once considered a single species, dwarf Canary-yellow with a tinge of red outlining
scorpions squeeze into deep crevices made creation of a new family as well as a new genus crocodiles have split into three because of new its tail fin, this cichlid fish is limited to shallow,
when sandstone weathers. The species has and species, this true bug is ruby red. It is genetic research. All look remarkably similar muddy streams of a single basin. It is toothier
an elongated tail with a venomous sting and native to the southeastern U.S. and probably and max out at 5 feet. O. osborni—like its and larger than its close relatives and probably
narrow pinching pedipalps—the second pair evaded detection because it is only slightly relatives—is routinely hunted for bushmeat has good hearing because of the unusual
of limbs—to capture prey in confined spaces. larger than the period at the end of this sentence. and has a vulnerable conservation status. position of its gas bladder.

Rotunda / Winter 2011 / AMNH.org

12 13

elicate, with the eerie beauty of a 19th-century engraving, the

gray-and-white cross-section of Nautilus pompilius—an object of ongoing
a research by Museum paleontologist Neil Landman—is the product of
state-of-the-art a cutting-edge, high resolution, computed tomography (CT) scanner. Acquired
ct scanner by the Museum this summer with a grant from the National Science Foundation,
the GE Phoenix V/tome/x Dual-Tube CT Scanner is one of only four of its kind
is letting museum in the country and allows researchers to look deep inside both small and large
scientists specimens without destroying them in the process.
analyze specimens “We can see spatial detail not available in dissection, and some parts are

like never so delicate they would be otherwise missed,” says Dr. Landman, curator in the
Division of Paleontology who, with geologist Denton Ebel, associate curator in the
before. Division of Physical Sciences, and Curator Darrel Frost, a herpetologist, wrote the
successful grant application for the scanner. “Three-dimensional visualization is
such an important part of our thinking now—you can put your arms around the
object you are studying.” This image of a Pseudocordylus subviridis highlights its tail armor.
For each image, the scanner, as a rule, takes 1,500 to 1,700 x-ray images as
the sample is rotated in the x-ray beam, at a level of resolution 100 times that A Defensive Discovery
of a typical medical scanner used on humans. These images are then used to
create a 3D image of the entire specimen—in essence, a stack of virtual dissection Edward Stanley, a doctoral candidate in
slices—that can be manipulated, rotated, and studied from every angle, revealing comparative biology at the Museum’s Richard
unprecedented details of its internal structure. “We can only capture so much Gilder Graduate School, made a surprising
of the morphology from the surface,” explains Landman. “You want to get discovery using the new state-of-the-art
insights into the interior.” CT scanner: the presence of tiny osteoderms,
In the case of the Nautilus pompilius pictured above—a newly hatched specimen or bony plates, along the legs of the crag
recovered in Fiji in the 1930s—Landman is interested in what the interior chambers lizard Pseudocordylus subviridis. This particular
can tell him about the animal’s buoyancy, a key factor in its survival after birth. lizard was thought to have such plates, which
Little is known about nautiloids, a group whose ancestors are so old—400 million are believed to serve as protective armor,
years—that the extant creatures are called “living fossils.” No one even knows where only on its head and tail.
these invertebrates lay their eggs, which develop slowly to hatch at the largest A graduate of the University of St. Andrews
size of all invertebrates and then take 15 years to reach reproductive maturity. in Scotland with a master’s degree from Villanova,
(Landman recently gave a presentation at a Convention on International Trade in Stanley is aiming to tease apart the evolutionary
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora [CITES] conference in France, where history of a family of African “girdled lizards”
he cautioned that due to its slow development and rate of growth, “this is an animal (Cordylidae). Osteoderms are embedded in the
that you don’t want to overfish because it may never recover.”) skin and not attached to the skeleton, exactly
Since its installation, the dual-tube CT scanner has lent itself to the study of a the kind of evidence that can be disturbed in

Images of bat skull and Nautilus pompilius © AMNH/R. Rudolph; image of lizard © AMNH/E. Stanley
host of diverse specimens: meteorites by Ebel; rare bat skulls by Nancy Simmons, dissection. Seeing these features in place using
chair of the Division of Vertebrate Zoology; an early 20th-century knife from Egypt the CT scanner gives him a set of clearly defined
by Alex de Voogt, assistant curator in the Division of Anthropology; the reproductive characteristics for sorting out the relationships

systems of female spiders by Matthias Burger, a postdoctoral researcher; and the gut among species. This technique, says Stanley,
contents of a termite entombed in amber by David Grimaldi, curator in the Division “allows you to see traits and patterns that were
of Invertebrate Zoology. The scanner is also accessible to researchers from other simply not observable before.”

institutions, including art conservators who use it to assess fine cracks in antiquities. Girdled lizards are vulnerable to predators
Rebecca Rudolph, laboratory manager for the Museum’s Microscopy and from the air and on the ground. It appears that
Imaging Facility, notes that previously, Museum scientists were forced to go off- the slower-moving the species, the more heavily

site for CT scanning, either to a hospital to use a medical scanner or to a facility they are armored, presumably protecting them
such as the University of Texas. from attacks by mongooses, snakes, and other
For researchers who intend to cut into a specimen eventually, the CT scanner land predators. The less-armored species seem

allows them to zero in on the most promising areas for physical analysis, as well to have evolved a quickness needed to evade
as capture a 3D image of the interior while it’s still intact. dive-bombing birds. While it is too early to say for
“It takes a lot of guesswork out of the equation,” says Landman. certain, Stanley’s research, which focuses on the

And those antique engravings and the early naturalists whose discoveries correlation between amount of armor and speed,
inspired them? Landman said he was thinking only recently about what would suggests that Pseudocordylus subviridis fits the
happen if someone from another era were suddenly dropped into a 21st-century latter category. Several members of this lizard
imaging lab. “They would think it was magic,” he said. “Absolute magic.” family live high up in the mountains where avian
predators are common, and this lightly armored
form has evolved multiple times independently
in these environments.
Opposite: An image of a rare bat skull, taken using the new CT scanner

Rotunda / Winter 2011 / AMNH.org

14 Next at the Museum 15

Programs and Events February

Adventures in the Global BrainFEST! Neuroeconomics: Decision Global Weekends Behind the Scenes in Lunchtime Winter Bird Walks
January Kitchen: Wine and Aging Saturday, January 15 Making and the Brain Living in America: Brain and the Sackler Institute for Thursdays, February 3, 10, and 17
Wednesday, January 12 1–5 pm Thursday, January 20 the Tibetan Creative Mind Comparative Genomics SciCafe Noon–1:30 pm
6:30 pm Free 6:30 pm Tuesday, January 25–Sunday, Thursday, January 27 Wednesday, February 2 $75
SciCafe $25 Learn about the brain $13.50 Members January 30 6:30–8 pm Doors open at 7 pm Ornithologist Paul Sweet leads
Wednesday, January 5 Dr. Joseph Maroon discusses with puzzles and games for New York University’s Free with Museum admission 7–8:30 pm Free admission, cash bar walks through three Central
Doors open at 7 pm resveratrol, an enzyme the whole family. Paul Glimcher and Curator Experience meditation, watch 7:30–9 pm 21+ with ID Park habitats.
Free admission, cash bar found in red wine that has Rob DeSalle will discuss monastic dances, and learn $35 An informal evening
21+ with ID been shown to slow the neuroeconomics. about the latest research on Take a rare tour of this of science, cocktails, and
An informal evening effects of aging. Members–Only Tibetan meditation’s impact state-of-the-art facility devoted conversation. Visit Winter Wildlife Weekend
of science, cocktails, and Highlights Tour on the brain. Free meditation to genomic research with amnh.org/scicafe for details. Saturday, February 5–Sunday,
conversation. Visit Saturday, January 15 A Night at the Museum session for Members is offered SICG Director George Amato, February 6
amnh.org/scicafe for details. Kingdom Under Glass 3–4:30 pm Sleepover January 25 at 8 am. Curator Mark Siddall, $350 per person, double occupancy
with Jay Kirk Free (registration required) Friday, January 21 and Ambrose Monell ArcheoAstronomy $400 single occupancy
Thursday, January 13 An insider’s introduction Members’ price $119 per person Cryo Collection Manager Thursdays, February 3 and 10 Please register by January 19
How I Killed Pluto 6:30–8 pm to all the Museum has This unique after-hours Astronomy and Vision Julie Feinstein. (For grades 7 and 8) by calling 212-769-5606
with Mike Brown $12 to offer. The tour meets in opportunity will thrill kids ages with Emily Rice Thursdays, February 17 and 24 Join ornithologist Paul Sweet
Monday, January 10 Jay Kirk will discuss Kingdom the Portrait Room. 7 to 13 and their caregivers. Tuesday, January 25 (For grades 5 and 6) on this two-day birding and
7:30 pm Under Glass: A Tale of 6:30 pm Brain Workshop 4:30–6 pm wildlife expedition to Long
$13.50 Members Obsession, Adventure, and $13.50 Members Sundays, January 30 and $60 Island’s Montauk Point.
Hear the dramatic account One Man’s Quest to Preserve Windows on Nature: Wild, Wild World: Wolves Learn how the human February 6 and 13 Discover the roles of celestial Flocks of sea ducks gather
of the most tumultuous year the World’s Great Animals, Akeley Hall of African Saturday, January 22 brain interprets visible light, 11 am-12:30 pm bodies and events in the to forage on these rocky shores;
in modern astronomy. his sweeping biography Mammals 11 am–noon, 1–2 pm discerns brightness and (For grades 3 and 4) cultures of ancient peoples. gannets plunge for fish off
of explorer and taxidermist Wednesday, January 19 Members’ tickets are color, and senses patterns. 1:30 pm–3:30 pm the point; and other winter
Carl Akeley, for whom the 6–7:30 pm $8 children, $10 adults (For grades 5 and 6) visitors include Bonaparte’s
Twinkling Stars: Mythic Museum’s Akeley Hall of $35 per person Learn about the vital role $90 Meet the Scientist Gulls, loons, and grebes. Price
Creatures in the Sky African Mammals is named. Author of Windows on Nature: wolves play in sustaining Tibetan Meditation, Brain, Explore the mysteries of the Saturday, February 5 includes transportation by
Tuesdays, January 11 The Great Habitat Dioramas a healthy ecosystem. and the Arts brain and learn about the field Free with Museum Admission private coach, one night
and January 18 of the American Museum of Thursday, January 27 of neuroscience. Visitors ages 7 and up can meet at the Born Free Motel (rooms
4:30–6 pm One Step Beyond Natural History Stephen C. 6:30 pm (Visit Brain: The Inside a scientist in the Discovery include private bath and
For grades 1 and 2, one adult Friday, January 14 Quinn leads this tour of the Evolution of the Brain Story) Room. Call 212–313–7105 kitchenette), and dinner
per child has option to attend 9 pm–1 am masterpieces in the Akeley Hall Tour 7:30 pm (Panel Discussion) for details. at Shagwong Restaurant
$60 for a child with one adult $25 Hall of African Mammals. Sunday, January 23 $18 Members on Saturday night.
This introduction to the 21+ with ID 3–4:30 pm An expert panel will discuss
night sky was developed for Enjoy a night of drinks and Free (registration required) the training of Tibetan monks,
budding astronomers. dancing in the Rose Center Join guide Eileen Flood on recent brain research on long-
for Earth and Space and a tour that focuses on brain term meditators, and more.
a complimentary screening development and evolution.
of a Space Show.

Tickets Exhibitions and Body and Spirit: The Butterfly IMAX Movie Hayden Planetarium Credits Generous support for Brain:The
Attractions Tibetan Medical Paintings Conservatory: Tropical Sea Rex: Journey Space Show Brain: The Inside Story is organized Inside Story has been provided by
Tickets are available by phone Opens Tuesday, January 25 Butterflies Alive in Winter! to a Prehistoric World Journey to the Stars by the American Museum of Natural
at 212-769-5200, Monday-Friday, Admission is by timed entry only. Free with Museum admission Through Monday, May 30 Opens Monday, January 10 Members’ tickets are History, New York, (www.amnh.org) The Eileen P. Bernard Exhibition Fund
9 am–5 pm, or by visiting These traditional Tibetan scroll Members’ tickets are Members’ tickets are $12 adults, $7.50 children in collaboration with Codice. Idee Susan W. Dryfoos and the JRS
amnh.org. Please have your Brain: The Inside Story paintings provide a rare look $12 adults, $7.50 children $12 adults, $7.50 children Journey to the Stars launches per la cultura, Torino, Italy in Dryfoos Charitable Lead Trust
Membership number ready. Through Sunday, August 14 at early medical knowledge and This annual favorite returns Travel from a modern-day viewers through time and space association with Comune di Virginia Hearst Randt and Dana Randt
Free for Members reveal a unique and rich history with up to 500 live, free–flying aquarium to the Triassic, Jurassic, to experience the life and death Milano - Assessorato Cultura, The Mortimer D. Sackler Foundation, Inc.
Please be aware that ticket Step into the amazing, changing of medicine in Tibet. tropical butterflies housed in and Cretaceous periods to discover of the stars in our night sky. Italy; Guangdong Science Center, Mary and David Solomon
sales are final for all Members’ brain! This exhibition explores a vivarium that approximates an amazing underwater universe. Guangzhou, China; and Parque
programs. All programs go ahead how the brain—a product of their natural habitat. de las Ciencias, Granada, Spain. Additional support for Brain:
rain or shine. There are no refunds millions of years of evolution— The Inside Story and its related
unless the program is cancelled produces and process thoughts, educational programming has been
by the Museum. senses, and feelings. provided by Roche.

Rotunda / Winter 2011 / AMNH.org

16 Next at the Museum 17

The Hidden Reality: One Step Beyond Romance Under the Stars Insights from the Hubble Brain: A 21st Century Look at Members–Only A Night at the Public programs are made
Parallel Universes and the Friday, February 11 Monday, February 14 Telescope with Jackie Faherty a 400 Million Year Old Organ Highlights Tour Museum Sleepover possible, in part, by the Rita and
Deep Laws of the Cosmos 9 pm–1 am 6:30–8 pm Tuesday, February 22 Saturday, February 26 Saturday, March 19 Saturday, March 26 Frits Markus Fund for the Public
with Brian Greene $25 $75 per person (includes one hour 6:30–8 pm 10:30 am–noon 3–4:30 pm Members’ price is $119 per person Understanding of Science.
Monday, February 7 Enjoy a night of drinks and of open bar and appetizers) $13.50 Members $12 adults; $7.50 children Free (registration required) This unique after-hours
7:30 pm dancing in the Rose Center Celebrate Valentine’s Day Explore some of Hubble’s Recommended for kids ages 10 An insider’s introduction opportunity will thrill Living in America: Brain and the
$13.50 Members for Earth and Space and in the Hayden Planetarium. most exciting discoveries and up to all the Museum has kids ages 7 to 13 and their Tibetan Creative Mind is made
Theoretical physicist Brian a complimentary screening The evening will begin with through the Hayden Join Curator Rob DeSalle and to offer. The tour meets in caregivers. possible with public funds from the
Greene will discuss models of a Space Show. a cocktail hour, followed Planetarium’s Digital Universe. illustrator Patricia J. Wynne the Portrait Room. New York State Council on the Arts,
of parallel universes. by a view of the night sky and for a discussion of their new celebrating 50 years of building
some of the greatest romance children’s book. The Land of Painted Caves strong, creative communities
Wild, Wild World: stories of all time. Adventures in the Windows on Nature: with Jean M. Auel in New York State’s 62 counties.
From the Field: Revisiting A Dog’s Mind Global Kitchen: March and Beyond Milstein Hall of Ocean Life Wednesday, March 30 Logistical advice provided by
Akeley’s Gorillas Saturday, February 12 Smell (and Taste) the Roses Tuesday, March 22 6:30 pm The Tibet Fund, New York, NY.
Wednesday, February 9 11 am–noon, 1–2 pm A Night at the Museum Wednesday, February 23 6–7:30 pm $12 Members
6:30 pm Members’ tickets are Sleepover 6:30 pm Philadelphia International $35 Bestselling author Jean M. Auel Saluting Our Jazz Elders is
Free to the first 75 Members $8 children, $10 adults Friday, February 18 $25 Flower Show Author of Windows on Nature: will read at this special launch co-produced with Community
(registration required) Cognitive scientist Alexandra Members’ price is $119 per person Learn how scents are encoded Sunday, March 6 The Great Habitat Dioramas event of the final book in Works and New Heritage
Stephen C. Quinn will share Horowitz will lead live, This unique after-hours in the brain and how memory 9 am–6 pm of the American Museum her Earth Children series, Theatre Group.
works, including a panoramic interactive demonstrations. opportunity will thrill influences eating habits. $110 of Natural History Stephen The Land of Painted Caves.
plein-air painting, completed kids ages 7 to 13 and (Includes transportation by C. Quinn leads this tour of the Support for Global Weekends is
on a recent trip to the eastern their caregivers. private coach and garden tea) masterpiece dioramas. made possible, in part, by the Ford
Congo basin. Members-Only Behind the Scenes Please register by February 21 Explore the Great Swamp Foundation, the May and Samuel
Highlights Tour in Anthropology: Join fellow Members on Saturday, May 14 Rudin Family Foundation, Inc.,
Sunday, February 13 Global Weekends Ethnographic Collections a visit to the 2011 Philadelphia Behind the Scenes in Earth 9 am–4 pm the Tolan Family, and the family
Windows on 3–4:30 pm Saluting Our Jazz Elders Thursday, February 24 International Flower Show, and Planetary Sciences $90 of Frederick H. Leonhardt.
Nature: Birds Free (registration required) Saturday, February 19 6:30–8 pm which celebrates the City Thursday, March 24 (Includes transportation by
Thursday, February 10 An insider’s introduction to all 1–5 pm 7–8:30 pm of Life with full-scale garden 6:30–8 pm private coach; bring your lunch) SciCafe is proudly sponsored
6–7:30 pm the Museum has to offer. Tour Free with Museum admission 7:30–9 pm and floral displays. 7–8:30 pm Please register by April 28 by Judy and Josh Weston.
$35 per person meets in the Portrait Room. Enjoy performances by $35 per person 7:30–9 pm Ornithologist Paul Sweet
Author of Windows on renowned jazz artists at Join the Division of Go behind the scenes and herpetologist David Kizirian SciCafe is made possible in
Nature: The Great Habitat this celebration of African- Anthropology’s collections Field Trip to the Moon in this evening exploration lead a trip to New Jersey’s part by a Science Education
Dioramas of the American American History Month. staff for a rare look at this Friday, March 18 of terrestrial and Great Swamp Refuge, which Partnership Award (SEPA)
Museum of Natural History world-class ethnographic 6–6:30 pm planetary processes. consists of 7,600 acres of varied grant from the National Center
Stephen C. Quinn leads this collections, which includes $12 adults; $7.50 children habitats and has become a for Research Resources (NCRR),
tour of masterpiece dioramas over 500,000 objects. Feel the ground shake as resting and feeding area for a component of the National
featuring birds. your rocket launches at this Brooklyn Bridge more than 244 species of birds. Institutes of Health (NIH).
Members-only showing in to Brooklyn Heights
the Hayden Planetarium. Saturday, March 26 Popular Science is the media
10 am–noon partner for Hayden Planetarium
1–3 pm monthly astronomy programs
Sidney Horenstein leads this and lectures.
The Museum is deeply grateful to The Presenting Sponsor of The Journey to the Stars was developed Made possible through the generous walking tour about the history
Emily H. Fisher and John Alexander, Butterfly Conservatory is ConEdison. by the American Museum of Natural sponsorship of Lockheed Martin. and the science behind the The Museum’s Youth Initiatives
whose vision and generosity History, New York in collaboration Brooklyn Bridge. programming is generously
supported the acquisition and Journey to the Stars was produced with the California Academy of And proudly sponsored by supported by the leadership
conservation of this collection by the American Museum of Natural Sciences, San Francisco; GOTO INC, Accenture. contribution of the New York
of Tibetan Medical Paintings. History, the Rose Center for Earth and Tokyo, Japan; Papalote Museo del Life Foundation.
Space, and the Hayden Planetarium. Niño, Mexico City, Mexico and Supercomputing resources provided
Body and Spirit is made possible by Smithsonian National Air and Space by the Texas Advanced Computing
a very generous gift from the Estate Museum, Washington, D.C. Journey to Center (TACC) at The University
of Marian O. Naumburg. the Stars was created by the American of Texas at Austin, through the
Museum of Natural History, with TeraGrid, a project of the National
the major support and partnership Science Foundation.
of NASA, Science Mission Directorate,
Heliophysics Division.

Rotunda / Winter 2011 / AMNH.org

18 Explore at the Museum 19
see it
Going To Graduate School Build Your Brain With OLogy Member tickets

At The Museum
to Brain: The Inside
Story are free.

For an extraordinary group of New York City opportunity to conduct research all over the By the time a baby is a few months old, almost all the neurons get better—and they’re not easy to start with!
students, going to class means passing a globe. And some of the most advanced, state- of the brain are in place. But millions of new connections Read With Your Fingers. Scientists who studied the brains
Neanderthal skeleton, a 94-foot-long model of of-the-art scientific facilities in the world are World Class form as people go through life, especially during childhood and of blind people have discovered that the area of the brain
a blue whale, and a family of brown bears—and available on site at the Museum. adolescence—as many as 100 trillion in all. The synapses you normally used for seeing, the visual cortex, may be “reassigned”
that’s just on the first floor. “We can offer our students exceptional Richard Gilder Graduate School use the most grow stronger, while unused connections weaken to sense touch. Use thumbtacks and a Braille key to create
These are the 13 students now enrolled research opportunities and support to help students come to study at the and fade away. So your brain is shaped not only by your body a message, then “see” what it’s like to read with your eyes closed.
in the Richard Gilder Graduate School at the them succeed in our accelerated Ph.D. Museum from all over the world. chemistry, but by everything you think, feel, and do. It’s what Slipping Away. You can’t improve your reflexes because
American Museum of Natural History, which in program,” says John Flynn, dean of the Richard allows us to compensate for injury or disease. Scientists call this they’re hardwired into your system. But you can improve your
2006 became the only American museum—and Gilder Graduate School who is also a curator Class Entering 2008 ability of the brain to change in response to experience plasticity. response by doing something over and over again. Test your
the first museum in the Western Hemisphere— in the Division of Paleontology. “This includes • Zachary Baldwin Learn more in the current exhibition, Brain: The Inside Story, reaction time and compare it with a friend’s. Who can catch
with the authority to grant the Ph.D. degree. our unique academic strengths in faculty, Plymouth, New Hampshire or on Brain OLogy, the latest addition to OLogy, the Museum’s the ruler the fastest? How do your reaction times change?
In 2008, the Museum made history by enrolling collections and laboratories, as well as the Advisor: John Sparks website for kids. It’s packed with games, puzzles, and science,
its first class. Just last year, the New York State resources and assistance provided by the entire • Bryan Falk including three activities that explore brain plasticity: For more from Brain OLogy, visit amnh.org/ology.
Board of Regents granted full institutional Museum-wide community.” Boise, Idaho Brain games. Mental and physical exercise helps the brain stay
accreditation to the Richard Gilder Graduate With all that the program has to offer, Advisor: Susan Perkins healthy longer. Developed to help us process visual signals more Major support for OLogy has been provided by the
School, a landmark decision that recognized the graduate students have a broad range of • Antonia Florio quickly, games like Jewel Diver, Sweep Seeker, and Bird Verizon Foundation. The initial development of OLogy was made
strength of the new program and the Museum’s training opportunities to carry out original Flushing, New York Safari may help people over 50 with complex tasks like driving possible by a generous grant from The Louis Calder Foundation.
long track record of training graduate students research. Edward Stanley, who studies Advisor: Christopher (and work on kids’ brains too). The games get harder as you
in partnership with leading institutions that African “girdled lizards” (Cordylidae), draws Raxworthy
include Columbia University, New York on the Museum’s world-class collection • Sebastian Kvist
University, Cornell University, City University of squamate reptiles, frozen tissues in the Helsingborg, Sweden
of New York, and Stony Brook University. Ambrose Monell Cryo Collection, and state- Advisor: Mark Siddall 10.10.10 Celebration of the Rose Center for Earth and Space Cosmic Discoveries
The Museum’s inaugural doctoral of-the-art CT machine (see page 13.) Shaena • Shaena Montanari
program is in comparative biology, with an Montanari has access to an unparalleled Ridgefield, Connecticut Have you downloaded the
interdisciplinary emphasis spanning the collection of specimens from the Museum’s Advisor: Mark Norell 1 2 Museum’s latest app yet?
origins, history, and diversity of life on Earth. paleontology collections and uses advanced Launched this fall as part
Here, the Richard Gilder Graduate School fossil preparation methods in her study of Class Entering 2009 of the commemoration of
students—who come to study from all over the diet and metabolism of dinosaurs. And • John Denton the 10th anniversary of the
the world (see sidebar)—have several distinct for the last two years, she has traveled to the Gainesville, Florida Museum’s Rose Center for Earth
advantages. The Museum’s internationally Gobi desert on field expeditions with Museum Advisor: Melanie L. J. Stiassny and Space, Cosmic Discoveries
recognized staff of curators and other scientists faculty—just another example of how coming • Alejandro Grajales features nearly 1,000 stunning
are their faculty. The Museum’s world- to school at the Museum is, in fact, a gateway Bogota, Colombia astronomical images, from the
renowned collections of more than 32 million to an exciting, bigger world. Advisor: Estefanía Rodríguez pockmarked surface of Mercury
specimens and cultural artifacts are available • Edward Stanley to the majestic Horsehead
for their research projects. The Museum’s For more about the Richard Gilder Graduate Dorset, England Nebula, culled from the
active field work program offers students the School at the Museum, visit rggs.amnh.org. Advisor: Darrel Frost Museum’s archives and Science
• Isabelle Vea Bulletins as as well as from
Paris, France dozens of space agencies and
Advisor: David Grimaldi observatories around the world.
Students In the Field The app also features eight
Class Entering 2010 stories on a range of subjects,
Here is a sampling of how some at the Pacific Island Fisheries in Costa Rica. Isabelle also • Phil Barden including comets and galaxy
students in the Comparative Science Center in Honolulu. collected scale insect specimens Phoenix, Arizona clusters. Additional stories are
Biology Ph.D. program at the at the Museum’s Southwestern Advisor: David Grimaldi on the way—so when you’re
Richard Gilder Graduate School Isabelle Vea attended a summer Research Station in Arizona. • Ansel Payne not watching the skies, keep
spent the past year: course on the biodiversity of Walton, West Virginia an eye out for more cosmic
“true bugs” (Hemiptera) which Zach Baldwin served as a Advisor: James Carpenter 3 adventures! Cosmic Discoveries
Photos © AMNH/R. Mickens

John Denton helped identify was organized by Museum taxonomist specialist for a • Pedro Peloso follows up on the successes
uncatalogued deep sea Curator and Richard Gilder deep-sea research cruise that Belém, Brazil of the Museum’s Dinosaurs
1. Some festivities to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 3. Astronaut Michael Massimino, a veteran of the fourth Hubble
myctophid fishes (lanternfishes) Graduate School Professor sampled mid-water organisms Advisor: Darrel Frost Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space Telescope servicing mission, signed autographs for visitors. app and AMNH Explorer, which
in collaboration with Bruce Randall T. Schuh and colleagues from the Peru-Chile Trench, • Dawn Roje Space were held on the Arthur Ross Terrace. Gizmodo called "nothing less
2. Activities in the Rose Center included planet model-making
Mundy of National Oceanic and and held at La Selva and Palo which reaches several thousand Los Angeles, California than state-of-the-art.”
and “Meet the Scientist” sessions with members of the Division
Atmospheric Administration Verde biological stations meters in depth. Advisor: John Sparks of Physical Sciences.

Rotunda / Winter 2011 / AMNH.org

20 Members at the Museum 21
Grandfather and Grandson Spring sleepover Learning as They Lead
Set Record for Sleepovers
dates also
include April 16
and May 21. “Batman! Superman! Spiderman!” shouted a crowd of young
campers, eager to share the names of their favorite superheroes,
as guide Michael Malave kicked off his “super power” tour
grandchildren, Shannon Gonsalves and Shane and Shamus through the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life and the Akeley Hall of
Drucker of Staten Island. African Mammals.
Contrary to Cox’s playing hooky, Shane, who is 11, uses extra “When you look around the hall, you can see many animals,
schoolwork as an excuse to get his grandfather to take him to the and each of them has an ability that helps them to succeed and
Museum. “Every time he has a school project, he has to go there survive,” explained Malave to the pack of superhero enthusiasts.
to research it first,” Cox says. “He loves it.” “This is much like how superheroes use their powers to win and
Moreover, since the Museum inaugurated its Night at the beat the bad guys.”
Museum Sleepovers program four years ago, it is a matter of special Malave, who studies applied math at Marist College, was one
pride for Cox that he and Shane have spent six nights camping of 32 students selected for last year’s Museum Education and
out under the blue whale in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. Employment Program (MEEP), a summer internship that trains
“My grandson is bound and determined to have the record college-age students from the New York City area to develop
for most times,” Cox says. and lead free themed tours for camp groups who flock to the
So far, he has succeeded. “No one has come close,” says Leslie Museum’s halls each weekday. In 2010, MEEPers, as the student
Martinez, who manages the program. guides are affectionately known, led more than 580 tours in
Cox is so keen on the sleepover experience that he carries a span of six weeks—an average of more than 20 tours a day.
around descriptions of the program he printed from the Museum’s Part of the Museum’s science education pipeline, a slate
website to hand out in doctors’ offices and elsewhere , encouraging of programming that extends from early childhood courses to
others to experience the sleepovers for themselves. “I appreciate programs for undergraduates, MEEP is also one of many youth
that he tells everyone about it,” says Martinez. “He’s a great support.” initiatives supported by New York Life Foundation. “The Museum MEEPer Hannah Sherman and Member Gabrielle Dolinsky, age 10, in the Discovery Room
At age 3, Cox’s youngest grandchild Shamus is still too is a leader in providing science education, and MEEP offers
young for a sleepover. Shannon, 16, was too old when the college students a valuable opportunity to both learn about and The variety of tours each year reflects the diversity of the MEEPers’
Gregory Cox and Shane Drucker are regulars at the Museum’s sleepovers. program began four years ago for kids 8 to 12 (the age range get work experience in this important field,” says Christine Park, interests. Hannah Sherman, a bioanthropology major at Skidmore
has since been expanded to 7 to 13), and although Cox says he president of the New York Life Foundation. College, led tours through the “alien worlds” on Earth and beyond
When Gregory Cox was a teenager attending the Food and saw her through an avid dinosaur phase when she was younger, that took campers from the Rose Center for Earth and Space to the
Maritime Trades School in the 1960s, he sometimes took she is now more likely to visit the Museum with a boyfriend. Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. Sherman says working as a MEEPer—
advantage of a midday switch from the East Side campus to “She outgrew me,” he says, noting that, on the other hand, Our young campers also see MEEPers specifically, making science accessible to the general public—has
the West Side to skip school and head to the American Museum
of Natural History.
at Shane’s age “grandparents are everything.”
And even though Shane will outgrow the program in a few
as role models, as they explain inspired her to pursue a career in science and the media.
“I was obsessed with the Museum as a kid, so I’ve come full
“I didn’t take the [school] bus, I took the subway,” he recalls over years, Cox still foresees many, many years of Museum visits complicated ideas in ways that inspire circle,” she says. “I love communicating science to people, but you
the phone from his home in Brooklyn. “They never caught me!” and even sleepovers ahead. “By the time Shane outgrows me, children of all ages. need a Ph.D. to understand most science magazines. The Museum
Cox, who lives in Brooklyn, went on to a career in ship I’ll have the little guy!” he says. and other channels can bridge that gap.”
— Margaret Jacobs,
repair, like his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather On Frieda Benun’s popular tour of the David H. Koch Dinosaur
Director of Youth Initiatives
before him. Now retired and a Family-level Member, he loves Members receive a discount for Night at the Museum Sleepovers. Wing, campers examined the long, graceful neck of the Barosaurus

Members photo © AMNH/D. Finnin, Hibiscus photo © istockphoto.com/Hsing-Wen Hsu

sharing his longstanding affection for the Museum with his For more information, visit amnh.org/sleepovers. and the terrifying teeth of the Tyrannosaurus rex while learning
MEEPers spend their first month training with Museum staff about how physical form relates to anatomical function. Like most
to learn the content of the Museum’s halls while crafting original MEEPers, Benun, a biology major at Brooklyn College, at times
45-minute tours based on personal or academic interests. Once struggled to explain certain terms to younger campers.
Reminders for Members Don’t Miss staff and supervisors approve the tours, which cover topics that “These are complex concepts, and the first day a lot went out
range from deep-sea creatures to shamanic practices, MEEPers the door,” Benun says. “The kids wander off, some absorb with
Members Open House Members Star Party Walk on the Wild Side Philadelphia International have the rest of the summer to perfect their presentation. Their their ears, some with their eyes. I realized I shouldn’t be offended.”
Thursday, February 17 Wednesday, March 16 Wednesdays, Flower Show challenge: to be ready to improvise on the spot depending on their Alix Cotumaccio, assistant director of youth initiatives, points
6–8:30 pm 6:30–9 pm January 5–March 30 Sunday, March 6 audience, which could be three-year-olds one day and college out that along with gaining confidence and communication skills,
For Contributor and For Supporter and 8–9:30 am 9 am–6 pm or even graduate students the next. MEEPers also get to know scientists and other staff—and leave
Higher-Level Members Higher-Level Members Free for Members $110 (Includes transportation MEEPers also work in pairs behind touch-carts—portable with a renewed enthusiasm for the institution.
Kindly RSVP before Kindly RSVP before at the Contributor by private coach and garden tea) stations stocked with artifacts and specimens placed throughout For Benun, who grew up in New York, the internship
February 14 March 2 level and up Please register by February 21 the Museum—to demonstrate objects to visitors during the reaffirmed her connection to the Museum. Her dream now:
by calling 212-769-5606 by calling 212-769-5606 Space is limited; call summer rush in the halls or in the Discovery Room. “to work here forever.”
Photo © AMNH/R. Mickens

212-769-5606 to register Join fellow Members on a visit to the 2011 “MEEPers not only gain extensive knowledge of science and
Explore the halls at your This celestial evening Philadelphia International Flower Show— culture at the Museum that support their academic and career goals, Applications for the summer 2011 program are due April 18.
leisure at this Members- in the Rose Center for Enjoy fitness walks “Springtime in Paris”—which celebrates the they also sharpen their leadership and communications skills,” Email meep@amnh.org for more information.
only evening that includes Earth and Space includes followed by breakfast City of Light with full-scale garden and floral says Margaret Jacobs, director of youth initiatives at the Museum.
a wine reception. cocktails, star gazing, in the Akeley Hall displays that recreate scenes from Left Bank “Our young campers also see them as role models, as they explain MEEP is generously supported by the leadership contribution
and more. of African Mammals. cafes, walks along the Seine, and more. complicated ideas in ways that inspire children of all ages.” of New York Life Foundation.

Rotunda / Winter 2011 / AMNH.org

22 Seen at the Museum 23

Save the Date!

Upcoming Events at the Museum

The annual Isaac Asimov Memorial
Debate will explore “The Theory of Everything...
Still Searching?”
4/12 Join us for the 21st Annual Environmental
Lecture and Luncheon.

1 2

4/15 Members will have the first chance

5 to see the exciting new exhibition
5 The World’s Largest Dinosaurs at this
exclusive preview. Free for Members.

4/16 The World’s Largest Dinosaurs

opens to the public.

4/28 Dance the night away at the annual

Museum Dance, the social event of the season.

Photos 1, 2, 5 © AMNH/D. Finnin; photo 3 © David Patrick Columbia; photo 4 © AMNH/R. Mickens.

5/12 The Museum holds its annual
Corporate Dinner.

5/28 Frogs: A Chorus of Colors returns

with more than 200 live frogs representing
25 species from Argentina to Vietnam.

4 3 3
Photos © AMNH/D. Finnin.

1. Sir Elton John, who performed at the Museum Gala 4. Museum Gala Chair Lorne Michaels enjoyed 1. Family Party Committee Member Zibby a photograph shortly before the event began.
on November 19, with Museum President Ellen V. Futter. the evening with Jimmy Fallon and Alice Michaels. Right attended the October 19 event with her 4. The Family Party offered guests opportunities 6/15 Get an astronaut’s view of a sunrise
2. Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, and Gala Chair 5. Ron Spurga, Marie Colwell, Mayke and husband Andrew Right and their children. to interact with live animals, including scorpions. from space on Field Trip to the Moon,
John Eastman share a laugh at the Museum Gala. Jeroen Rijpkema, Humphrey Valenbreder, and 2. Donya Bommer and children stopped 5. Family Party guests Steward Lane, Bonnie Comley,
a virtual trip guided by a live presenter.
3. Howard and Allison Lutnick with Henri Barguirdjian Edzard Enschede of ABN AMRO, co-sponsor by the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. and their children took time to enjoy the Akeley Hall
of Graff, 2010 Museum Gala co-sponsor. of the 2010 Museum Gala. 3. Chairmen of the Family Party posed for of African Mammals.

Rotunda / Winter 2011 / AMNH.org


Central Park West at 79th Street

New York, New York 10024-5192


Cert no. SCS-COC-00648

General Information
© AMNH/D. Finnin

Hours Phone numbers

Museum: Open daily, 10 am–5:45 pm; Central Reservations 212-769-5200
closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Membership Office 212-769-5606
Museum Information 212-769-5100
Entrances Development 212-769-5151
During Museum hours, Members may
enter at Central Park West at 79th Street Transportation and parking
(second floor), the Rose Center/81st Street, Subway: B (weekdays) or C to 81st Street;
and through the subway (lower level). 1 to 79th Street, walk east to Museum
Bus: M7, M10, M11, or M104 to 79th Street;
Restaurants M79 to Central Park West
Museum Food Court, Café on One, Parking Garage: Open daily, 8 am–11 pm;
Starlight Café, and Café on 4 offer enter from West 81st Street. Members receive
Members a 15% discount. Hours are a discounted rate of $10 if entering after
subject to change. 4 pm. To receive this rate, you must show
your membership card or event ticket when
Museum shops exiting the garage.
The Museum Shop, DinoStore,
The Shop for Earth & Space,
Cosmic Shop, Brain Shop, and
Papilio blumei, above, is a butterfly of the swallowtail family.
See more than 500 free-flying tropical butterflies in the Online Shop (amnhshop.com) offer
Museum’s Butterfly Conservatory, a vivarium that approximates Members a 10% discount.
their natural habitat.

The Butterfly Conservatory: Tropical Butterflies Alive in

Winter runs through May 30. Presenting Sponsor of The Butterfly
Conservatory is Con Edison.