Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Summer at the Museum

This was the final week of the post-season here in the Paleontology Department of the AMNH or, as one child called it in an interview with Time Out New York, the Dinosaur Museum of Magical History.

While we've been working to finish up all the projects we took on this summer, much of the Vertebrate Paleontology department is in Bristol, England at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology annual conference presenting projects they've been working on all year.

Georeferencing: Final Destination

Feeling like it's finals time in algebra class, we've combined notes and numbers from georeferencing and are proud of our progress. Just in the overtime, the small group of us left completed 26.9% of the lat/long searches out of the entire 1808 item list from the very beginning of the project. Unfortunately, about 6% of the remaining localities cannot really be elaborated further. This is out of our hands though, since the locality on the labels, and catalog cards are sometimes as vague as "Decatur County, Kansas" or "None Given."

Rehousing: Ethafoam Apocalypse

Over the course of this last week we've rehoused everything from rodents, cats, and dogs to bears, primates and other species from some of the rarer mammal families. One of the more interesting genera we came across this week was the Glyptodon - an armadillo relative that's roughly the size and shape of a Volkswagon Beatle!

We've seen quite a few interesting specimens as we've worked across the 5th floor and while we won't reach the lofty goal we set of finishing all the type specimens on the floor, we're leaving Alicea in a good position.

We're finishing out the week keeping in mind that others will continue where we left off. It's important to leave reports for future interns and volunteers to read, to store all our materials in a place that's easy to locate and access, and to break down our work stations and leave the collections tidy.

We wish Ruth, Carl, and Alicea the best of luck as they continue on these endeavors.

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