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rusinga-team

From the Field: Wrapping Up a Terrific Season

Nairobi, Kenya, July 19, 2011

So we’re finally back in Nairobi, having packed up camp and driven back the 300-odd miles from Rusinga to the nation’s capital. It was a terrific field season, in many ways the best we’ve had. We had a really fun and motivated field crew and found a lot of wonderful fossils. What more could one ask?

Now begins the hard work of sorting out everything we found. In our case this means working in the National Museums of Kenya’s exquisite paleontology collections in Nairobi. Any fossils found in the country are reposited here, making it an ideal place to conduct comparative work. We’ve been here about a week, and it is still an overwhelming task. I’m not complaining though. It’s a fine position to be in; I’d rather we had too many than too few fossils.

Tags: From the Field, Paleontology

Podcast

Podcast: Exoplanets Revealed with Emily Rice

Planets orbiting stars other than the Sun—called exoplanets—were first discovered in 1995. Since then, astronomers have pushed the limits of technology to produce images of exoplanets. In this podcast, Emily Rice, a research scientist in the Museum’s Department of Astrophysics, leads a tour of hundreds of extrasolar planets.

Dr. Rice’s talk was recorded at the Hayden Planetarium Space Theater on April 26, 2011.

Podcast: Download | RSS | iTunes (1 hour, 5 mins, 79 MB)

Tags: Podcasts

chocolate-pot

Curious Collections: Chocolate Pots from Chaco Canyon

More than 100 years after joining the Museum’s archaeological collection, a remarkable set of 11th-century pottery excavated in New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon is at the center of a delicious discovery.

Found at Pueblo Bonito, one of the great ceremonial complexes of the Ancestral Pueblo peoples, the rare ceramics were collected for the Museum by George Pepper at the turn of last century. Only recently, however, have researchers looked to the set to search for chemical traces of the vessels’ long-lost contents. The results were electrifying: tests revealed the presence of theobromine, the biomarker for cacao, confirming the earliest known use of chocolate north of the Mexican border.

Tags: Anthropology

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