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Museum Scientists Tweet From Hearst Mongolian Paleontological Expedition

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Since 1990, scientists from the American Museum of Natural History have traveled to Mongolia’s vast Gobi Desert each summer in search of fossils, continuing a tradition of Museum expeditions to the region that began in the 1920s. In 1993, Museum researchers working with Mongolian scientists uncovered one of the richest fossil beds ever found: Ukhaa Tolgod. The site produced hundreds of dinosaur, lizard, and mammal fossils from the Cretaceous period.

Tags: From the Field

Brain Exhibition Wins Design Award

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Brain: The Inside Story, the Museum’s popular exhibition which gives visitors a new perspective and insight into the human brain using imaginative art, vivid brain scan imaging, and thrilling interactive exhibits, was recognized for outstanding achievement in museum exhibition design. Event Design Magazine recently announced the winners of their Event Design Awards and the Museum’s Exhibitions team won Silver honors for Best Museum Environment for their evocative work on Brain: The Inside Story. Every year the Event Design Awards—the industry’s highest honor—receives hundreds of entries across 13 categories to determine the best of the best in the world of events, exhibits, and environments.

Tags: Brain

What’s in Store For Your 21st Century Brain?

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Mechanical devices now connect to the brain to restore lost senses like hearing and sight. What if similar technologies could end addiction, improve memory, cure a headache, or lift one’s mood? These and other amazing facets of current brain research are explored in the Museum exhibition Brain: The Inside Story in a section called Your 21st Century Brain.

Here, visitors can see a video in which researchers try to decode language directly within the brain through a brain-computer interface that has the potential for manipulating a keyboard to communicate or powering artificial limbs. Another treatment on the horizon uses non-invasive magnetic waves to theoretically treat for everything from schizophrenia to obesity.

In the video below, exhibition co-curator Rob DeSalle discusses these and other cutting-edge developments ahead for our 21st century brains. Brain: The Inside Story is open now through Sunday, August 14.


Tags: Brain

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Wasp Nest Project Weathers Storm

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A brief, blustery storm blew across the Museum’s Arthur Ross Terrace Wednesday evening, taking with it most of the scalloped cardboard structure of a human-sized wasp nest under construction there since Monday. Three British TV hosts are to be filmed living in the nest this weekend as part of a new Nat Geo WILD series called “Live Like an Animal.”

The unexpected need to rebuild the nest or “envelope” provided an object lesson in actual wasp behavior.

“It is a fact that wasps repair the envelope if the damage to the nest is not too great, where ‘too great’ means something like the nest falls down,” says James M. Carpenter, entomologist and curator in the Museum’s Division of Invertebrate Zoology, who is working in consultation with the television crew. “I’ve done experiments in envelope removal in the field myself and seen it.”

Tags: Invertebrates

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From the Field: Fossil Leaves and Mammals

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Blogging from west Kenya, William Harcourt-Smith, a research associate in the Division of Paleontology, is directing a 20-million-year-old paleontological site on two islands in Lake Victoria. One of these islands, Rusinga, is best known as the site of the discovery of the first fossils of Proconsul, an early ape. Harcourt-Smith’s multidisciplinary team includes physical anthropologists and geologists, and in addition to collecting fossils, researchers are trying to learn more about the evolutionary events and environmental conditions that may have influenced the emergence of Proconsul and other early ape lineages.

Tags: From the Field

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