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. Read more about Possible New Primate Discovered in Peru
Chicago Ideas Week (CIW) is an innovative gathering of ideas and presentations to innovate and fuel new ways to look at the world. Past speakers include David Axelrod, Hillary Clinton, Naomi Judd, George Lucas and Reverend Al Sharpton. Invited to the 2014 CIW Edison Talks, Bill Stanley, Director of the Collections Center at the Field, used specimens to explain how study of the diverse and unique library of material housed at the Museum constantly re-defines our understanding of earth. Read more about The Field Museum Collections help define the "edges" of life on earth
You may remember him from the Saturday morning cartoon, Kim Possible – Rufus, the naked mole-rat, tenacious pet of Kim’s best friend Ron. With very little hair, some whiskers, wrinkly-pink skin and large teeth, Rufus stole the hearts of all who watched him save the day. In many episodes, Rufus is the hero, and like Kim and Ron, scientists agree that naked mole-rats are pretty cool. Read more about Naked mole-rats: Not a mole, not a rat, and not an African mole-rat
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. Read more about Species in a world that thinks there is a clear division between basic and applied science
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. Read more about Another Thursday night for the Bird Division
Another interest of mine that I hope does not get left out of the refocusing that is currently underway at FMNH is our connections to other institutions like ours across the world. I feel like we could do so much more with respect to helping other natural history institutions in the myriad of countries where we work. Read more about Will we maintain our connections to other natural history institutions around the world?
MacArthur Curator Bruce Patterson (Zoology-Mammals) just returned from a three-week trip to Kenya's South Coast. Three counties--Kwale, Mombasa, and Kilifi, lying between Malindi and the Tanzanian border--harbor Kenya's richest bat faunas. Many congregate in the coral caves which line the coastal plain. Some of these colonies contain more than 100,000 individual bats and virtually all contain multiple bat species. The caves are used by both fruit bats and insectivorous bats, and it does not take long to appreciate that each bat species uses particular roosting sites within the caves. Some are restricted to well-lit, well ventilated parts of caves, while other only inhabit caves that offer dark, secluded, and poorly ventilated pockets. Read more about Fieldwork on "The Bats of Kenya"
Let's cut straight to the chase: there's just one owl. It's great to know that it has survived for over a week in the Montrose Beach Dunes (a state-designated natural area) on the city's north side, despite many potential predators in the area and many eager birders trying to add it to their state lists. The last time a Burrowing Owl that showed up there--in 2008--it only survived for a morning before falling prey to a Cooper's Hawk. Read more about BURROWING OWL at Montrose!
With Field Museum researcher Julian Kerbis Peterhans and post doc Terry Demos, Bernard "Risky" Agwanda untangles the stories of mammalian evolution in eastern Africa. In the process, they may have found a new species of elephant shrew or "sengi." Bernard and his collaborators express an important message, that peace is a significant component in the development of society--including science. Read more about Video: The Naming of the Shrew
MacArthur Curator of mammals Bruce Patterson and research associate Paul Webala (Moi University, Kenya) are working together to get a better understanding of Kenya's bat diversity. As part of their study they are recording bat calls, gathering fecal samples and collecting tissues to do genetic studies. Read more about Video: Bat calls from Kenya