Today’s peek into the archives comes from the Museum’s lantern slide collection. These hand-colored images were originally used to illustrate public lectures at the Museum.
Pictured: Roy Chapman Andrews and Walter Granger with dinosaur bones on the Third Asiatic Expedition to Mongolia (1921-1930)
© AMNH Library/LS3-26
The Caribbean originated 120 million years ago, when areas of volcanic islands and ocean floor squeezed past Mexico and South America. In what’s known as the Guatemala suture zone, the boundary between the North American and Caribbean tectonic plates, geologists have found remnants of both a plate collision and a subduction zone, where an oceanic plate plunged into Earth’s mantle. The high pressures of subduction zones help form the precious mineral jadeite (pictured) and its host rock, serpentinite.
In this video, follow Museum Curator George Harlow and a team of geologists on a Constantine S. Niarchos Expedition to the Montagua Valley in central Guatemala, a fault zone rich in jadeite jade. Hiking along riverbeds and steep outcrops, they collected rock samples that might provide clues to the evolution of the Caribbean region.
Before there was life on land, trilobites roamed the Earth’s oceans. These extinct marine arthropods first evolved about 520 million years ago, during the Cambrian Period, when the planet was mostly covered in water.
Cambrian trilobites shared the shallow seas with jellyfish and primitive mollusks such as snails and clams, along with annelid worms and sponges. Their shells were made of the mineral calcite, like clam- or crabshells and they were also the earliest known life forms with compound eyes. Some trilobites even had eyes on stalks, perhaps for peering above the sediment in the waters where they lived.
See 15 trilobite fossils from the Museum’s collections, including some that are more than 500 million years old, now on display in the Grand Gallery.
Take a closer look at the tiny overlapping scales that create striking patterns on this and 33 other moths in Winged Tapestries: Moths at Large, a large-format photography exhibition now on view at the Museum. The dark eyespots on this io moth are for startling potential predators.
This spectacular bird is named Epimachus ellioti, in honor of Daniel Giraud Elliot, one of the most important American ornithologists and naturalists of the nineteenth century. Elliot was a scientific founder of the American Museum of Natural History in 1869, and his personal collection of North American birds included the first specimens accessioned to the Museum.
Elliot traveled the globe studying birds and published hundreds of papers, including multiple folio-sized monographs on groups of mammals and birds, including A monograph of the Paradiseidae or birds of paradise, in which this illustration appeared.
Read more about Elliot’s life and work in this excerpt from Natural Histories: Extraordinary Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History Library.
© AMNH/D. Finnin
“There is a delight in the hardy life of the open.
There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm.
The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased; and not impaired in value.
Conservation means development as much as it does protection.”
- Theodore Roosevelt
This Saturday, more than 500 public middle school students from New York City will show off 300 of their best research projects during a science expo celebrating the conclusion of the successful ninth year of the Urban Advantage Middle School Science Program.
Featured are students from all five boroughs whose projects include: the effect of NYC location to the amount of airborne dust particles, the effect of sea surface temperature on hurricane intensity, and the effect of sneaker material on the ability to run and jump.
The Urban Advantage Science Expo will take place from 1 to 4 pm this Saturday in and around the Milstein Hall of Ocean life. Stop by if you’re in the area, or watch the live stream from home!
Researchers Discover Oldest Primate Fossil Skeleton on Record!
The world’s oldest known fossil primate skeleton is from an animal that lived about 55 million years ago and was even smaller than today’s smallest primate, the pygmy mouse lemur.
The new specimen, named Archicebus achilles, was unearthed from an ancient lake bed in central China and is described by an international team of researchers in the journal Nature.
This almost complete new fossil is crucial for illuminating a pivotal event in primate and human evolution: the divergence between the lineage leading to modern monkeys, apes, and humans (collectively known as anthropoids) and the branch leading to living tarsiers—small, nocturnal tree-dwelling primates.
Learn more about this discovery.