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Showing blog posts tagged with "Mammals"

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Fossil of Giant Lizard Described From Mammalian Collections

Research posts

Several years ago, Dr. Nikos Solounias, a visiting researcher specializing in the fossil record of animals from Samos discovered lizard bones mixed in with mammalian fossils that Museum paleontologist Barnum Brown had collected from Greece in 1924. Solounias showed the lizard bones to Jack Conrad, a research associate in the Museum’s Division of Paleontology, who recognized them as those of a varanid, a giant lizard typified by the Komodo dragon. In a new paper in PLOS ONE published last week, Conrad and colleagues Ana Balcarel and Carl Mehling have identified the 30-odd bone fragments, which fit in a box 8 inches long, as the remains of the oldest giant lizard ever to walk the Earth. If proportioned like its relatives, the new species—Varanus amnhophilis, or the Samos dragon—was 6 feet long.

Tags: Mammals, Our Research

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Minute Marsupial: Zeledon’s Mouse Opossum

News posts

Small enough to climb onto the inflorescence, or flower cluster, of a palm plant, this tiny mouse opossum belongs to a newly re-classified South American species: Zeledon’s mouse opossum (Marmosa zeledoni). Minute marsupials like this one are rarely seen at flowers, but this species may be a pollinator for some neotropical palms.

Zeledon’s mouse opossum was previously lumped together with the Mexican mouse opossum, Marmosa mexicanaBut in a recent study partly funded by the National Science Foundation, Curator Rob Voss of the Division of Vertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History and colleagues examined roughly 1,500 mouse opossum specimens, some collected from as far back as the 1800s. They determined that what had been known as the Mexican mouse opossum could actually be subdivided into two different species.

Tags: Mammals, Our Research

Revisiting Akeley's Gorillas

News posts

Stephen C. Quinn, senior project manager in the Museum’s Department of Exhibition, recently traveled to the eastern Congo basin to visit the exact site depicted in the Akeley Hall of African Mammals’ mountain gorilla diorama which is based on paintings, photographs, and specimens collected in the field by explorer and taxidermist Carl Akeley and his team in 1921 and 1926.

Like the artists on Akeley’s 1926 expedition, Quinn used field sketches and paintings to document the area’s flora and fauna, recording the changes that have taken place and reinforcing the important role artists play in habitat conservation and environmental education. In this eight-minute highlight video from a recent talk at the Museum, Quinn shares finished works, including a panoramic plein air painting.

Watch the video, which includes footage from the field, here:


Tags: Mammals

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Revisiting Akeley’s Gorillas

News posts

Each of the 28 extraordinary dioramas in the Akeley Hall of African Mammals offers visitors a chance to travel not just in space but in time. The views are of specific habitats at particular moments, painstakingly recreated from paintings, photographs, data, and specimens collected in the field by the explorer and taxidermist Carl Akeley and his team on expeditions in the 1920s.

Tags: Mammals

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