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MCZ News & Events

Congratulations to MCZ Faculty-Curator Hopi Hoekstra, newly elected member of the American Philosophical Society. She is one of five new members representing the biological sciences.

James Hanken, MCZ Director and Curator of Herpetology and others tell Harvard Crimson about the Museum of Comparative Zoology, highlighting the history of the collections, numbers of specimens (over 21 million), biodiversity, operations, and use by researchers. (2 May 2018)

The New York Times featured research by MCZ Faculty-Curator Gonzalo Giribet, MCZ Associate Gustavo Hormiga and collaborators. "Phylogenomics, Diversification Dynamics and Comparative Transcriptomics across the Spider Tree of Life" was published in Current Biology and addresses the origins of the orb-web in spiders. Photo by Hormiga. (26 April 2018)

MCZ Faculty-Curator Naomi Pierce has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Class of 2018. You can read more about the honor in the press release. (April 2018)

Dr. Peter Cummings and George Farah of Boston University recently utilized the MCZ's Ornithology collection to investigate whether woodpeckers exhibited some of the same signs of brain injury detectable in humans. The behavior of woodpeckers of pecking at trees with their bills to extract insects or to create nest cavities makes them an interesting group to study in this way. The brains of several of the MCZ’s preserved woodpecker specimens were tested and revealed some distinct signs of brain injury including the presence of phosphorylated tau proteins which have been linked to detectability and presence of brain injuries in humans. You can find out more about this important work here. (April 2018)

Photographer Rosamond Purcell gave a public lecture at the Harvard Museum of Natural History and spoke to the Harvard Gazette about her decades of photography and the MCZ’s role in her evolution as an artist. (photo by Purcell, a collection of Mammalogy specimens) (12 April 2018)

Congratulations to Dave Matthews (graduate student in the Lauder lab) who was awarded a 2018 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) award! (April 2018)

Congratulations to Tauana Cunha, graduate student in the Giribet Lab, who was awarded a Faculty for the Future Fellowship. Recipients are women in STEM fields who may become role models in the sciences upon returning to their home countries. Tauana studies the phylogenetic relationships of gastropods, their biogeography in the marine environment and the evolution of shell shape across large time scales. (March 2018)

For the last 4 years, Peter Fried, an expert in archival-quality 3D imaging at NYU, has been scanning and making 3D models of Blaschka marine invertebrates from the MCZ and Cornell University collections. His newest model is of a 3.5-inch glass model of a sea anemone, Phymactis pustulata. You can view the 3D images and learn more about the models and the digitization process at Peter's website. (12 March 2018)

The latest issue of Breviora documents the first living individuals of a species previously only known from deceased specimens collected over 50 years ago. Rediscovery and a Redescription of the Crooked-Acklins Boa, Chilabothrus schwartzi is available on our website and more about the project is posted by the University of North Carolina, Ashville. (8 March 2018)

MCZ Faculty-Curator Emeritus E.O. Wilson discusses his latest book, The Origins of Creativity, with the Harvard Gazette. (6 March 2018)

Members of the Edwards Lab used a museum specimen to reconstruct the DNA of the extinct little bush moa, a flightless bird driven to extinction 700 years ago. Read more about the project in Scientific American. (27 February 2018)

The 2016-2017 MCZ Annual Report is now available. Read about special projects completed during the year, faculty, staff and student awards, headline-making research, and more. (February 2018)

MCZ faculty-curator George Lauder and postdoc Mehdi Saadat were part of a team of evolutionary biologists and engineers that demonstrated a bio-inspired structure that could improve aerodynamic performance of airplanes, wind turbines, drones, and cars. Read more about the research in the Harvard Gazette and the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. (February 2018)

Curatorial Associate Jessica Cundiff gave a behind the scenes tour of the Invertebrate and Vertebrate Paleontology collections to a lucky group of visiting Harvard Alumni. Jessica showed them notable specimens such as an authentic Kronosaurus skull, inspiration for the model on display in the HMNH. (February 2018)

MCZ Faculty-Curator Gonzalo Giribet co-authored one of two papers describing a new species of extinct arachnid. Notable for its long tail, similar to that of a scorpion, it closes a 170 million year gap in the fossil record. Read more in The Scientist. (February 2018)

Congratulations to MCZ Faculty-Curator, James McCarthy, co-recipient of this year’s Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. Professor McCarthy and Paul Falkowski (Rutgers University) were recognized for their decades of leadership in understanding - and communicating - the impacts of climate change. (February 2018)

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