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Zuni Museum Enlists AMNH

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A delegation of five Zuni representatives visited the American Museum of Natural History recently on an exciting cultural mission—to add the Museum’s substantial ethnographic collection of over 1,700 Zuni artifacts to an innovative digital collaborative catalog created by and for the Zuni people. This collaboration was funded by the National Park Service through a generous grant, which the Museum applied for on the delegation’s behalf.

Tags: Anthropology

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Ammonites Dined on Plankton

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Powerful synchrotron scans of Baculites fossils found on American Museum of Natural History expeditions to the Great Plains suggests that the extinct group of marine invertebrates to which they belong, the ammonites, had jaws and teeth adapted for eating small prey floating in the water. One ammonite also provided direct evidence of a planktonic diet because it died with its last meal in its mouth — tiny larval snails and crustacean bits. The detailed description of internal structure of ammonites, published by a Franco-American research team this week in Science, also provides new insights into why ammonites became extinct 65.5 million years ago when an asteroid impact led to the demise of the world’s nonavian dinosaurs and much of the plankton.

“I was astonished when I saw the teeth for the first time, and when I found the tiny plankton in the mouth,” says first author Isabelle Kruta of the Département Histoire de la Terre, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, France. Kruta began the project as an Annette Kade fellow at the American Museum of Natural History. “For the first time we could observe these delicate, exceptionally well-preserved structures and obtain information on the ecology of these enigmatic animals.”

Tags: Invertebrates

Joshua Light Show presents Fulldome at the Museum June 3-5

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For three nights only, New York’s legendary Joshua Light Show will present Fulldome, an eye-popping, 360-degree work of light and sound that explores the neurological phenomenon synesthesia, or the blending of sensory experiences, in the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium.

The program will begin with an after-hours visit to the exhibition Brain: The Inside Story, which explores how the brain interprets light and sound. Then, visitors will enjoy a multi-sensory experience in the Hayden Planetarium’s Space Theater.

Tags: Brain, Hayden Planetarium

SciCafe: Hidden Reptiles of Madagascar

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After more than 200 years of exploration, new species of snakes, chameleons, geckos, and skinks are still being discovered in Madagascar, the fourth-largest island in the world. At the next SciCafe on Wednesday, June 1,  Christopher Raxworthy, associate curator in the Department of Herpetology who has spent decades working in Madagascar, will discuss the mix of modern technologies—including satellite imagery and DNA sequencing—and “muddy boots” field biology to remote parts of the island that is making discovery possible today.

Tags: SciCafe

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Vote Now to Name the Mamenchisaurus

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We asked you to help us name Mamenchisaurus, the 60-foot-long female sauropod at the center of The World’s Largest Dinosaurs exhibition. She’s an 18-year-old vegetarian known for her incredible 30-foot-long neck who also happens to love tweeting. She is originally from China, and she just arrived at the Museum this April.

After hundreds of nickname submissions, the finalists are in:

  • Brook (the first Mamenchisaurus fossil was found by a river in China)
  • Neckita
  • Mei Mei (mei means beauty in Chinese)
  • Tiny
  • Mame

Now it’s up to you! Visit the contest page to vote for your favorite nickname through Sunday, June 5, Before you vote, you can get to know Mamenchisaurus a little better by following her on Twitter @Giant_Dino or by visiting the exhibition site.

Her new name will be announced on June 7.

Tags: Dinosaurs

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