Blogs & Videos: Mammals

The Origin of Mammal Movement: Harvard Adventures, Part I

Paleontologists today look at more than just fossil evidence to learn about organisms that lived millions of years ago. In this case, we're seeking to answer the question: how, and when, did mammals evolve their specialized movements? Turns out, the next step in this process involves dissecting a giant weasel.  This is part one in a three-part series supported in part by The Field Museum, the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University, and The National Science Foundation (!!!!). 

Six adorable Halloween animals that will make you re-evaluate your ideas of “scary”

Yes, Halloween's all about things that go bump in the night, but at The Field Museum, we're also all about seeing the beauty (and yes, the cuteness) in the natural world. Here are some of our favorite animals that get a bad rap but are actually pretty gosh-darn adorable. 1. Honduran White Bats

Eight behind-the-scenes specimens that will haunt your dreams

The Field Museum is home to about 30 million objects—including a handful of super creepy ones. Here are some of our favorites that walk the line between scientifically valuable and downright horrifying. 1. Freezers full of dead animals deer_head.jpg

Tea Parties, Bird Barf, and Rat Skulls

At tea parties, etiquette is key. You need to know which spoon to use, whether to pour the milk or the tea first, and, when a fellow scientist hands you an owl pellet for your research, how to graciously accept it and dissect it right there at the table. Field Museum collections manager Bill Stanley was at a garden tea party in Tanzania when a colleague handed him a coffee can containing an owl pellet for him to study. The hacked-up mass of fur and bones contained the key to a scientific discovery—the skull of a rat never before seen in the region.

The Naked Mole-Rat

Naked mole-rats are some of the most fascinating members of the animal kingdom - but just how unique are they? Turns out, they diverged from their nearest relative more than 31 MILLION years ago! Field Museum curator Dr. Bruce Patterson, and Yale postdoctoral researcher Nate Upham have determined they ought to be in their own scientific family. Now, can someone please update their Wikipedia page?

Here's the abstract for the paper: 

Mystery Callicebus from Peru

Possible New Primate Discovered in Peru

Last year I spent three weeks with an incredible team of scientists exploring the Tapiche-Blanco watersheds, a remote region in the Peruvian Amazon. Our team was about 200 kilometers from any of the nearest cities--Iquitos, Pucallpa, and Tarapoto--and 40 kilometers from the border with Brazil. The trip was filled with discoveries (three new plants, four new fishes, four new frogs, a savanna habitat none of us expected in this part of Peru) but the biggest discovery was a mystery monkey. 

North Carolina Zoo polar bear habitat with fake rocks and painted lichens

Attention to lichen detail in the polar bear habitat

One of the best zoos Collections Manager Robert Lücking has ever visited is the North Carolina Zoo, with its vast area allowing much space for its animals. Also, the attention to detail is quite amazing. Many dioramas include rock features made out of various materials including concrete, specifically designed to meet the animals' needs. What is astonishing, however, that the designers and builders even took care to mimic lichens growing on these fake rocks, and even on close-up these look so real that one has to make sure they are not just paint.