Blogs & Videos: Collections

Aerial view of dense green treetops

A big step in the 300-year quest to find every tree species in the Amazon

How many different kinds of trees grow in the Amazon? This may sound like an impossible question to answer—we’re talking about the most biodiverse rainforest on Earth. Hundreds of thousands of different plants and animals live there, with more being discovered every year.

Zoomed in photo of a fly-like insect trapped in orange amber

Revisiting “Jurassic Park”: Could dinosaurs really be cloned?

“Where do you get 100-million-year-old dinosaur blood?” asks Dr. Ellie Sattler, a character in the original “Jurassic Park” movie. In the film, dinosaurs are cloned from DNA preserved in amber. More specifically, from dinosaur blood inside mosquitoes that are trapped in the amber. Spoiler alert: things get a little out of hand as the cloned dinos wreak havoc on Isla Nublar.

Beetles, Mites, Cockroaches Oh My! [Insect Collection Tour]

The insect collection is the largest at The Field Museum, with more than 12 million specimens - only (only?!) 4 million of those are pinned in the dry collection. Crystal is in charge of all of them- no pressure. Want to search the zoological collections on your own? Look no further!:

Monsters Storm The Field

Invertebrate paleontologists aren’t afraid of anything, so when Collections Manager Paul Mayer was offered a chance to add hundreds of monsters to The Field’s collections, he jumped at the opportunity. The monsters in question, Tully monsters, are just a small part of the enormous donation of Thomas V. Testa’s collection of Mazon Creek fossils that The Field Museum just received from Field Associate Jack Wittry.  

Field Museum Intern Hannah Ranft takes a stab at revising New Zealand lichens

Macrolichens in the family Lobariaceae are among the most conspicuous and charismatic lichens on the planet, due to their often large, colorful thalli and their ecological importance and potential uses. Many species have cyanobacterial photobionts and are capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen, hence acting as biological fertilizers. Lobariaceae are also good indicators of environmental health and the conservation status of forest ecosystems. Species such as Lobaria pulmonaria have been used in homoeopathic medicine.

Through thick and thin! Stabilizing the Plaster on Minirdis’ Coffin

After cleaning, the first part of Minirdis’ burial equipment that we treated was his coffin.  The coffin was constructed of wood panels joined with wood dowels. A layer of an orange colored plaster like material had been applied over the wood to fill gaps between the wood panels and provide a smooth surface. On top of the plaster layer, the coffin had been painted black with red and yellow decoration.

How to Uncoffin a Mummy

Removing the lid of the coffin was just the start. Now there was the problem of removing the damaged mummy from the lower half of the coffin. With the lid off we found that the right side piece, which had been held in place by the lid, was detached from the bottom of the coffin and could easily be removed. This meant that the mummy could be slid out, instead of trying to pick it up – good news because the assembly was very fragile. Even so, this was no small task, and it took four people to safely move him out of the coffin.