Museum scientists John Sparks and David Gruber have traveled the world in search of bioluminescent and biofluorescent organisms. On Wednesday, November 2, at 7 pm, the pair will host November’s SciCafe, Alive and Glowing: Adventures in Bioluminescence and Biofluorescence, and shed light on the way these phenomena have appeared throughout the tree of life. Dr. Sparks will also curate the Museum’s upcoming special exhibition Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence, which opens March 31. Below, Sparks and Gruber answer a few questions about their enlightening research.
Over 10,000 Native Americans of the Mohawk tribe live on the Akwesasne reservation in upstate New York—and every family in the community has included an ironworker. For decades, these men have weekly made the six-hour drive to New York City to build its tallest skyscrapers. Katja Esson’s film Skydancer, which will be shown at the Margaret Mead Film Festival on Sunday, November 13, at 2 pm, follows a group of Mohawk “sky walkers” as they continue the craft of their forefathers, spending weeks apart from their families and risking their lives for a job that pays well but also perpetuates superhuman stereotypes of Mohawk men.
Following the screening of Skydancer, Bear Fox andKatsitsionni Fox, who appear in the documentary, along withRobby Baier, the composer of the film’s score, will perform traditional Mohawk songs. Esson, who will attend the Mead Festival screening of the documentary and participate in a Q&A immediately afterward, recently answered a few questions about the film.
This specimen from the Museum’s paleontology collection is a single dinosaur toe covered with lichen.
Most likely collected in 1912 in Alberta, Canada, the toe is thought to belong to a hadrosaur (duck-billed) or ceratopsian (horned) dinosaur. The toe is the terminal phalanx, or the one that supported the hoof. The lichen growth, which occurred on the two damaged parts of the bone, shows that the bone was exposed on the surface of the ground for many years before being discovered.