Once there were billions

JAC: Yesterday I mentioned that today is an anniversary of note. I forgot that it was the 75th anniversary of the invasion of Poland by the Germans, and thus the beginning of World War II. But it’s also a biological anniversary, and Greg has volunteered to tell us about that one: by Greg Mayer Exactly […]

Pterosaurs take Manhattan

by Greg Mayer Last weekend, a new exhibit opened at the American Museum of Natural History in New York: “Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs“. The New York Times had a piece on the making of the exhibit last week, and today their museum critic, Edward Rothstein, weighs in with his take on the […]

Nature editorial supports science at the Field Museum

by Greg Mayer Jerry and I have written about the plight of science at Chicago’s Field Museum, both here at WEIT, and with several colleagues in a letter to Science. In an editorial, Nature, the leading scientific journal of the English-speaking world, has also spoken out in support of science at the Field. In the […]

Goings on at the Dinosaur Discovery Museum, Kenosha, Wisconsin

by Greg Mayer The Dinosaur Discovery Museum in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is becoming a hotbed of evolutionary activity. I already posted about their Darwin Day celebrations, and now I want to announce an upcoming event in their Spring Lecture series: Life and Death in a Cretaceous Coastal Swamp by my colleague, Prof. Chris Noto. The lecture […]

Chicago’s Field Museum must continue its historic mission of high quality scientific research

by Greg Mayer At the end of last year, the Field Museum in Chicago announced that it was considering draconian budgetary cuts to, and even more ominous institutional restructuring of, its scientific departments. Jerry and I wrote about this here at the time, decrying the Field administration’s plans. In January, Science published a news article […]

Joint post: Chicago’s Field Museum endangered by unwise budget cuts

I’ve lived in Chicago for more than 25 years, and have watched the Field Museum’s public exhibits degenerate from an educational experience to an entertainment experience. This isn’t unique to that museum: it’s happening everywhere as natural history museums seek to make more money by displaying dinosaur skeletons and offering ‘hands-on’ experiences and animated exhibits […]

Koch to fund renovation of Smithsonian’s dinosaur hall

by Greg Mayer David Koch, billionaire industrialist and bankroller of right wing causes, has announced that he will donate $35 million to the National Museum of Natural History (aka the USNM) for an overhaul of its dinosaur hall. The New York Times’ Patricia Cohen writes: In 2009 he gave the Smithsonian $15 million to create […]

The Academy of Natural Sciences at 200

by Greg Mayer This year is the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, the oldest natural history museum in the United States. Although now surpassed in size by some later-founded institutions, it is still one of the most important natural history museums in America, rich in types and […]

The hind legs of whales

by Greg Mayer Snakes are not the only tetrapods (or even lizards) to have lost their legs. Whales have lost their hind legs (the front ones are now their flippers), and we have a pretty good fossil record of how they did so, thanks in large part to the work of Phil Gingerich of the […]

Is there life in the Solar System?

by Greg Mayer Matthew recently asked if there is life on Gliese 581g– a newly discovered Earth-like (in some ways) planet (I’m tempted to say “class M planet“).  There’s also the question of if there is life in the Solar System (Earth doesn’t count)– on Europa, or Mars, or Enceladus, say. On the same trip […]

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