Mountains made of crates

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One of the most enduring images of the Panorama shows Dyche and assistants posed with “mountain” made of crates and a few taxidermied specimens, prior to the 1893 World’s Fair. We might have a new appreciation for that image now that a structural engineer has crawled into the tight spaces beneath the Panorama’s mountains and rock outcroppings.

New Event at the KU Natural History Museum

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From small towns in Kansas to Chicago to New York, Lewis Lindsay Dyche thrilled audiences with his skill in natural history displays and later with lectures about his adventures. Many of the glass slides that he displayed in these "magic lantern" talks have not been seen by the public in more than 100 years and will be featured in an exhibition opening and major public event on Nov. 4 at the University of Kansas. For more information about these and other events, visit  http://naturalhistory.ku.edu/events

KU herpetology at the World Congress!

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The Biodiversity Institute was well represented at the 7th World Congress of Herpetology held on August 8–13 in Vancouver, Canada. Among the 1700+ delegates from 41 countries were Rafe Brown, Bill Duellman, Linda Trueb, KU undergraduates, our new curator, Dr. Rich Glor, and 19 former herpetology students who had received PhDs at KU between 1974 and 2012. Among them was Dr. Joseph R. Mendelson III (PhD, 1997), now president of the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles.

Smilodon Fossil Adopted

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A skull of a Smilodon californicus exhibited at the KU Natural History Museum, one of largest such skulls ever found, caught the eye of Lawrence residents George and Mary Ann Brenner. The Brenners adopted the specimen as part of the museum's Adopt-a-Specimen program.

Searching for a Solution to White-Nose Syndrome

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In the five years since the fungal disease white-nose syndrome was discovered in New York, the disease has spread to more than 190 sites in 16 eastern states and two four Canadian provinces. At one Canadian site alone, 5,000 bats died.

In the Field - In the City

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Summertime means summer fieldwork for many academic scientists, but some researchers skip the far-flung places in favor of urban habitats close to home.

Engaging College Students to Support Science Learning

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A recent Science article reported by the New York Times presented the findings of a study that compared the impact of a traditional lecture format to a more interactive approach to teaching in a large college physics class. The latter approach included soliciting students’ ideas and providing feedback, small group work, and in-class activities — and resulted in improved student learning, attendance and engagement.

Biodiversity Observing Network

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Daphne Fautin, Curator of Invertebrate Zoology, recently helped generate a paper that plans a Biodiversity Observing Network or BON – a system that may be a key factor in encouraging sustained marine ecosystem health. The effort would create a standardized, coordinated system for measuring marine biodiversity.

The Oarfish Omen

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A week before the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, an omen washed up on its beaches. The appearance of the oarfish, a ribbon-like, deep sea fish has long been perceived as a warning that seismic activity is on the way. This fish has become a feature of speculation as to whether they can be used to predict an incoming earthquake.

 

Communicating Evolution

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Students hunt for insects in a science camp put on by the Natural History Museum

 

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