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 […]

Shaping Humanity- a new book by John Gurche on science and art

by Greg Mayer John Gurche, the well known scientific illustrator and “Paleo-Artist” has recently published a new book, Shaping Humanity: How Science, Art, and Imagination Help Us Understand Our Origins (Yale University Press, 345 pages, $49.95) Gurche is best known for his exacting reconstructions of fossil hominids in paintings, bronzes, and life reconstructions, although he […]

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 […]

David Koch and the Hall of Human Origins

by Greg Mayer PZ noted my and Jerry’s pieces on the new Hall of Human Origins at the USNM, and one of his commenters, DavidCOG, points to this piece at Climate Progress (based in part on Jane Mayer’s (no relation) New Yorker article on the Koch brothers), which in turn points to a couple of  […]

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 […]

The Hall of Human Origins at the National Museum of Natural History

by Greg Mayer The Hall of Human Origins, a new permanent exhibition at the Smithsonian‘s National Museum of Natural History (aka the USNM) opened last March (at which time I got only a peek), and over the summer I finally got a chance to take in the whole exhibit. Like Edward Rothstein of the New […]

Another day at the museum

by Greg Mayer Last summer I made a visit to the Smithsonian’s United States National Museum of Natural History (aka the USNM), which I reported on here at WEIT. At the time, a couple of special evolution exhibits, tied to the Darwin bi- and sesquicentennials, were scheduled to open in September, and during my visit […]

Albino squirrel update

by Greg Mayer Observant reader Chris Helzer saw an albino squirrel outside the National Museum of Natural History a few days after I did, and got a much better picture of it, which he has kindly allowed me to post here. This is probably the same squirrel I saw, and it seems to be on […]

New human evolution hall at the National Museum of Natural History

by Greg Mayer Last Wednesday, the National Museum of Natural History (known to biologists as the USNM, the initials of its former name and still the identifying code on its specimen tags and labels) opened its newest permanent exhibit, the Hall of Human Origins. I was at the USNM much of last week, mostly doing […]

New human evolution exhibit to open at the USNM

by Greg Mayer The Smithsonian‘s National Museum of Natural History (known to biologists as the USNM) has announced that its new Hall of Human Origins, first announced in 2006 and originally slated to open this year,will open in March of next year. Normally this would be unadulterated good news; WEIT readers will recall the ‘thumbs […]