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Beetle-Wing Body Art: Shuar Ear Ornaments

From the Collections posts

When dressing for special occasions, the Shuar people of the upper Amazon adorn themselves with ornaments made from materials found in the surrounding rain forest: feathers, plant fibers, animal parts, wood, and stone. Along with colorful headdresses and necklaces, men wear dramatic ear ornaments like those pictured here, which are made from toucan feathers, glass beads, and the iridescent wing covers of the giant ceiba borer beetle, Euchroma gigantea.

Tags: Anthropology

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Museum Ph.D. Student Confirms New Lizard Species in the Congo

Research posts

Museum graduate student Edward Stanley recently used high-resolution x-ray images of tiny “armor” bones to help an international team of scientists discover a new species of lizard from remote, war-torn mountains in Central Africa. The lizard, Cordylus marunguensis, was found on the Marungu Plateau in the southeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is described in the African Journal of Herpetology.

The new lizard was discovered on an expedition led by Eli Greenbaum, assistant professor of evolutionary genetics at the University of Texas at El Paso, and Chifundera Kusamba, a research scientist from the Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles in the Congo. Suspecting that the lizard represented a new species, Greenbaum sent DNA samples and a specimen to Stanley, a third-year student in the Museum’s Richard Gilder Graduate School—the first museum program in the Western Hemisphere with the authority to grant the Ph.D. degree.

Tags: Our Research, Richard Gilder Graduate School

Special Screening of Mead Festival Winner's Film "To The Light"

News posts

In rural coal mining communities in China, miners face daily perils for slim rewards in a profession that claims an estimated 5,000 lives annually. Winner of the 2011 Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award Yuanchen Liu delved into this riveting story with his documentary To the Light, and as part of the Margaret Mead Traveling Film Festival, the film and Liu will return to the Museum on Thursday, May 17, at 6:30 pm for a special encore screening and discussion.

Tags: Margaret Mead Film Festival

Bloody Bay Wall

Extreme Fieldwork on the Bloody Bay Wall

From the Field posts

We wanted to include a panoramic image of a magnificent coralscape in Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence, and Bloody Bay Wall [off Little Cayman Island] was the perfect place.

But capturing Ansel Adams-like vistas are impossible under water, where sections of the light spectrum—especially reds—are absorbed within a meter. We need to get in very close to our subject and use flash photography to capture the reef ’s true color. We have to repeat this process hundreds of times over the wall face. Then, the small consecutive images are painstakingly stitched together to create a life-sized, true-color view.

Tags: Bioluminescence

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