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Michael J. Novacek

SciCafe Returns October 3

News posts

Kick off the new season of SciCafe, the Museum's popular first-Wednesdays series featuring science, cocktails, and conversation, on October 3 with paleontologist Michael J. Novacek

Dr. Novacek, who is also the Museum's Provost of Science, will discuss why and how we should create a comprehensive inventory of species, understand the evolutionary relationships of the major branches of life, and probe the connections between the genome and the more external traits of organisms that their genomes influence.  

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Two Nectar Bats

New Study: Nectar-drinking Traits in Bats Evolved More Than Once

Research posts

Contradictory explanations for the evolution of nectar-drinking in a diverse group of bats have long puzzled scientists, but new research led by the American Museum of Natural History and Stony Brook University provides a clear answer.

The conflicting explanations come from two different types of data. Genetic data suggest that nectar feeding evolved twice in New World leaf-nosed bats whereas earlier analyses of the bats’ anatomy point to a single origin of nectar feeding. These bats are found in Central and South America and, uniquely among bats, eat nectar, fruit, frogs, lizards, and blood.

Tags: Mammals, Our Research

Science Bulletins: The Roots of Human Language

News posts

The landscape of human language is complex, and tracing the origins of the 7,000 known modern languages has been a significant challenge for scientists. An analysis by a researcher at the University of Auckland in New Zealand points to a familiar place: Africa, the birthplace of our species.

This fall, examine the biology of language in a five-part adult course, the Sackler Brain Bench program "Is Your Brain Wired For Language?" 


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language in the brain

Science Bulletins: Language in the Brain

News posts

Why is it that humans can speak but chimpanzees, our closest living relatives, cannot? The human brain is uniquely wired to produce language. Untangling this wiring is a major frontier of brain research. Peer into the mental machinery behind language with this Science Bulletins feature, which visits a brain-scanning laboratory, Columbia University's Program for Imaging and Cognitive Sciences (PICS). Columbia neuroscientist Joy Hirsch and New York University psychologist Gary Marcus explain what researchers have learned about how our brain tackles language—and what's left to learn.

This fall, examine the biology of language in a five-part adult course, the Sackler Brain Bench program "Is Your Brain Wired For Language?" 


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