Blogs & Videos: Evolution

Why Sharks?

Welcome to five consecutive calendar days dedicated to programming about everyone's favorite cartilaginous fishes: the sharks!  Special thanks to David Shiffman (@whysharksmatter) for his help, support, advice, and fun facts about sharks! Additional thanks to Joe Hanson (itsokaytobesmart) and the folks at PBS Digital Studios for helping to put this great series together. :) 

Fossil Fish, Pt. II: A History

Join us for Part II in our quest to uncover the tropical world of ancient Fossil Lake! Palm trees in Wyoming! Sex in the fossil record! Check out "Lost World of Fossil Lake: Snapshots from Deep Time," by Lance Grande http://bit.ly/1p79CXv Gems and Gemstones: Timeless Natural Beauty of the Mineral World, by Lance Grande: http://bit.ly/1dr59GM

Species in a world that thinks there is a clear division between basic and applied science

Humans are an inconsistent lot, but you would think that might not apply as much when it comes to science, and yet it does.  Even in science are still plenty of ways in which topics lead to opposing and confused viewpoints.  Around my institution these days the terms “applied” and “basic” science are being kicked around at the same time we are discussing “species” as a theme that cuts across research programs.  In terms of birds, this comes just as the much anticipated last volume of Handbook of Birds of the World arrived in the mail (sent to the Bird Division by Lynx Editions because of photos Mary Hennen took from our collection for the volume). It includes articles describing 15 new bird species from Amazonia, and as I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, Jason Weckstein and I were co-authors on two of these descriptions with Jason overseeing the gathering of DNA sequence data that helped support the descriptions.  In all, ten of these 86 recently described species involve Field Museum staff and collections in some direct way. Then there is also the description of the new species of Hero Shrew, on which I am a grateful co-author based on work by mammalogist colleagues including Bill StanleyJake Esselstyn and Julian Kerbis with appeared in Biology Letters several weeks ago.

North American Ornithology: Past, present, and future comes to Chicago

The Field Museum and the Palmer House served as the meeting sites for 650 ornithologists from August 13-17.  These were joint meetings of the two largest North American ornithological societies, the American Ornithologists’ Union and the Cooper Ornithological Society.  

How to Recover from a Mass Extinction

A growing number of species in the modern world (nearly 200 in fact!) go extinct every day due to factors such as climate change and habitat destruction. During the earth's history, there also have been a number of 
mass extinctions, like the one that killed off the dinosaurs. Increasingly, scientists are turning to past mass extinctions to gain new insight into what is happening today.

Ornithologists of the Field Museum play major role in discovery and discription of new species

I adopted the following from something I submitted to the museum's Science and Education News several weeks ago.  The photo is one of only a handful of specimens of the recently described Tsingy Rail (Canirallus beankaensis) in the world (see below).  It is a roadkilled bird that was obtained by Steve Goodman (given to him in Madagascar) and it will eventually be given to our dermestid beetles for the cleaning necessary for it to be what is probably the only skeleton of this species in the world's museums. 

What the Fish? Episode 26: Fin

We here at "What the Fish?" have had a great time discussing all of our favorite fishy things in life, and we hope you have enjoyed the content we put together. We are ending "What the Fish?" on its 26th episode because that marks one year's worth of shows, and it coincides with Beth, Leo, and Matt leaving The Field Museum for other fishy adventures.

What the Fish? Episode 24: Leaving the Sea

Within the evolutionary history of vertebrates, the transition from an aquatic environment to a terrestrial habitat significantly impacted the course of vertebrate evolution on Earth. Scientists have been studying this transition intensively from an incredible variety of angles, such as biochemistry, paleontology, functional morphology, and evolutionary relationships of these incredible creatures. In this episode we discuss some of the factors and science that influenced this incredible turning point in vertebrate evolution.

Another Thursday night for the Bird Divsion

Over the course of a year we do plenty of evening events of all kinds.  It is always fun to go support people who work in the Bird Division when possible, but last Thursday (2 May) there were multiple events happening across the city at the same time.  Research scientist Jason Weckstein was down at the University of Chicago with graduating senior Jennie Lee who presented her thesis work on population genetics of Ramphastos toucans.  Jennie gathered all her data in the Pritzker Laboratory and we’re looking forward to having her continue with us this summer.  She did a great job on this project and drew rave reviews from the faculty reading her paper.  We expect it will be ready to submit to a scientific journal shortly.

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