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Showing posts with the label American Museum of Natural History

7.5 million wasps under one roof ? [Video]

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Wasp (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Can you imagine what it would be to see seven and half million wasps under one roof? Don't worry they are not alive and are well segregated taxonomically. Well, this is what you can expect when you are visiting the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH).

In its recently released episode of Shelf Life, something that we have sharing at Coffee Table Science, since the day it began, the AMNH takes us to its collection of 7.5 million wasps that is still being catalogued, even though it was donated to the museum in the late 1950's. Why, because cataloging takes a lot of time and 7.5 million is a massive number.

Interestingly, the entire collection was donated by Alfred Kinsey's wife, the same Alfred Kinsey who is known for his revelations of human sexuality. If you would like read more about it, here is our post about How Sexology became a Science.

For now, let's get back to the 7.5 million wasps in this Shelf Life Episode.

The genetics of Languages [Video]

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DNA Double Helix (Photo credit: Wikipedia) In the past, we have written a few posts about genetics, either on how it can help us recognize faces at crime scenes or helps us understand what the bulk of DNA is doing inside our cells, but can our knowledge of genetics help us learn more about our languages?

Anthropologist Peter Whitley and Computational Biologist Ward Wheeler used logic from gene sequencing to study the origins of languages in native America. Here is the video from the series Shelf Life being produced by the American Museum of Natural History.








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Discovering the Olinguito, in the museum [Video]

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The Olinguito was one of the Top Ten New Species of 2014 and is a mammal that is found in the misty mountains of Ecuador and Western Columbia. While this carnivorous mammal has been spotted multiple times before and even displayed in the zoos of the United States before, people mistook the creature for a common racoon.  However, olinguitos are tree-living animals and prefer to habitat stretches of mountains that are 5000-9000 feet high. They just have a single mammary gland and bear a single offspring at in a single gestation. 
It actually took an accidental discovery in the museum to get the classification right! Here is the story of the Discovery of Olinguito by Kristofer Helgen and how specimens are maintained and analysed in the museum courtesy of the Shelf Life series from the American Natural History Museum 



Behind the Scenes: The American Natural History Museum [Video]

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If you have ever marvelled at how a museum is curated, its collections maintained and who are the people who create the magic therein, then here is your chance to find out more about the happenings inside, sitting in the comfort of your home. The American Museum of Natural History at Central Park West, New York has recently started a video series called Shelf Life on YouTube, which takes us behind the scenes of the popular museum.
The first Episode premiered in November last year and is titled 33 Million Things, an approximate number of artifacts and specimens that the museum holds and gives a sneak preview of what we can expect from the year long series. From Zoological specimens to terra bytes of images of stars, galaxies and planets, frozen DNA and tissue samples and artifacts from Native North American culture, the series opens doors to this huge ocean of information that is the American Museum of Natural History. And in case you have any doubts, museum scientists and collection …