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092

Yael Wyner

OLogy Series
ologist
card
092

Yael Wyner

OLogy Series
ologist

As a conservation geneticist, Yael tries to help endangered species by studying their DNA. In Madagascar, an island off the southeast coast of Africa, she investigates the endangered black and white ruffed lemur. Yael hopes that her research will lead to laws that will protect these marvelous mammals.

Lemurs and Leeches and Snakes, Oh My!
Yael Wyner's passion for protecting the endangered black and white ruffed lemurs recently took her to the rain forests of Madagascar, an island off the coast of Africa. Research there was hard work, and full of adventure. After leaving the town, she drove on dirt roads and over wobbly bridges for three hours. Then she hiked for 12 hours through thick forest. Along the way, Yael spotted a snake eating a frog. Later, Yael discovered that she was covered with leeches. YUCK! Yael recalls, "It sounds gross but they don't hurt." To collect samples of DNA, Yael shot some lemurs with tiny darts to collect samples of their blood. The darts didn't hurt them, and hopefully these valuable DNA samples will help protect this species of lemur by creating laws to protect its habitat. She also placed radio collars around their necks to track their movements.

When Yael was a kid, she wanted to be:

a historian

a bird breeder

an ice skater

Are you right?

Correct!

She has always liked history. Yael's interest in history extends past American history, and ancient history into geologic time. Her study of lemurs and how they have changed over time is really just her own way of looking at history.

While Yael was searching for lemurs in Madagascar, she also spotted a:

tarantula

giraffe

tree frog

Are you right?

Correct!

Madagascar has incredible wildlife. Along with lemurs, Madagascar has an array of chameleons, frogs, and snails. Tree frogs are bright little amphibians that can be found all over the world. Ribit!

Yael Wyner

Studying lemurs gives me the chance to help these amazing creatures. I hope they will be around in the future so others will have the chance to know them, too.

While doing research in Madagascar, Yael saw a bird egg twice the size of her head!

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

The extinct elephant bird probably weighed about 1,000 pounds! This giant bird went extinct over 350 years ago. Sometimes people find the eggs -- but they don't hatch!

Yael Wyner
Date of Birth: February 12, 1972
Hometown: Maplewood, NJ
Position: conservation biologist at the American Museum of Natural History
Education: B.S., Yale University; Ph.D., New York University
Known for: studying lemurs

Image credits: courtesy of Yael Wyner; Yael Wyner: courtesy of Yael Wyner.