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Showing blog posts tagged with "Paleontology"

Trilobite-250

"Punk Eek," 40 Years Later

Research posts

In the late 1960s, Curator Emeritus Niles Eldredge was a graduate student with a passion for trilobite eyes. He had been taught to expect slow and steady change between the specimens of these Devonian arthropods he collected for his dissertation. Only his trilobites were doing one of two things: staying the same, or evolving in leaps.

Tags: Evolution, Paleontology

Microraptor

New Finding: Dinosaur’s Feathers Were Black with Iridescent Sheen

Research posts

A pigeon-sized, four-winged dinosaur known as Microraptor had black iridescent feathers when it roamed the Earth 130 million years ago, according to new research led by a team of American and Chinese scientists that includes Museum researchers. The dinosaur’s fossilized plumage is the earliest record of iridescent feather color. The findings, which suggest the importance of display in the early evolution of feathers, are published in the March 9 edition of the journal Science.

“This study gives us an unprecedented glimpse at what this animal looked like when it was alive,” said Mark Norell, one of the paper’s authors and chair of the Museum’s Division of Paleontology.

Tags: Dinosaurs, Paleontology

draper-250

A 19th-Century Gift

From the Collections posts

Not long ago, a descendant of John William Draper, a celebrated 19th-century naturalist, gave the Museum Draper’s collection of fossils from Whitby, England. The set, mostly ammonites, was neatly stowed in a wooden box along with a handwritten list of contents dated 1844 and a price stamp of 28 shillings.

“It’s a lovely cabinet of curiosities,” says Neil Landman, curator in the Division of Paleontology, who suspects Draper bought the collection whole, perhaps as a gift for his children or because it was “the kind of thing any respectable naturalist would have owned.”

Born in England in 1811, Draper emigrated to the U.S. in 1832 and rose to prominence as a chemist, botanist, historian, and pioneering photographer. He served as president of New York University from 1850 to 1873 and was a founder of the NYU Medical School, where he taught chemistry until a year before his death in 1882.

Tags: Paleontology

Shaena-Montanari-250

Graduate Student Links Dino Eggshells and Ancient Climates

News posts

Fourth-year Richard Gilder Graduate School (RGGS)doctoral student Shaena Montanari uses her geology training and subtle clues left by dinosaurs to reconstruct the environment of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert as it was 70 million years ago. Based on an innovative approach that takes cues from the geochemistry of dinosaur eggshells, Montanari’s latest findings—that late in the Mesozoic “age of the dinosaurs” the Gobi desert was a much wetter and warmer place than today—were presented this week at a poster session of the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

Tags: Paleontology

Phalanx-224

Curious Collections: A Single Dino Toe

News posts

This specimen from the Museum’s paleontology collection is a single dinosaur toe covered with lichen.

Most likely collected in 1912 in Alberta, Canada, the toe is thought to belong to a hadrosaur (duck-billed) or ceratopsian (horned) dinosaur. The toe is the terminal phalanx, or the one that supported the hoof. The lichen growth, which occurred on the two damaged parts of the bone, shows that the bone was exposed on the surface of the ground for many years before being discovered.

Tags: Dinosaurs, Paleontology

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