University of California Museum of Paleontology UCMP in the field See the world (and its fossils) with UCMP's field notes.
About UCMP People Blog Online Exhibits Public programs Education Collections Research
About UCMP : News and events

2004 news archive


News archived from:
2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007
2008 | 2009

Paper Summarizes the History of UC Museum of Paleontology
A new history of the UC Museum of Paleontology was issued by the California Academy of Sciences as part of a special volume dealing with natural history museums across the country. The article, written by UC Museum of Paleontology curator Jere Lipps, summarizes and interprets the museum's 150-year history and its diverse roles in the university, national and international science, and education communities. (December 17, 2004)
Read more...

Fay Receives Joseph A. Cushman Award
UC Museum of Paleontology graduate student Scott Fay received the Joseph A. Cushman Award for Student Research. The funds from the award will support Scott's research in dinoflagellate symbionts in Sorities foraminifera. (December 16, 2004)
Read more...

Inside the Collections of the UC Museum of Paleontology
The Fall 2004 issue of the Berkeley Science Review features the ongoing curatorial work of the UC Museum of Paleontology staff scientists, Ken Finger, David Haasl, Diane Erwin, and Pat Holroyd. The article provides an overview of the diversity and abundance of fossils within the collections, and gives the reader a glimpse of the work the museum scientists do on a daily basis. (December 13, 2004)
Read more...

Stromberg Receives Romer Prize from Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
UC Museum of Paleontology alumnus Caroline Stromberg received the Alfred Sherwood Romer Prize at the recent annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. The award recognizes an outstanding scientific contribution in vertebrate paleontology by a predoctoral student. Caroline's talk was based on her PhD dissertation research looking at the spread of grass-dominated habitats and the evolution of high-crowned cheek teeth in horse lineages. (November 18, 2004)
Read more...

What Do Patterns on Larval Shells Tell Us About Evolution?
A recent article in the journal Invertebrate Biology by UC Museum of Paleontology curator Carole Hickman analyzes repeated patterns of microsculpture on marine gastropod larval shells at successively high magnifications. Carole suggests that the patterns reflect common principles of growth and construction. She argues for a more integrative approach to the problem of similarity and the creation of a unified set of principles to analyze form in living and fossil organisms. (November 17, 2004)
Read more...

Scotchmoor Receives Joseph T. Gregory Award
Judy Scotchmoor, Director of Education and Public Programs at the UC Museum of Paleontology, was recently honored at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. Judy received the Joseph T. Gregory award for her outstanding service to the welfare of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. (November 17, 2004)
Read more...

Dinosaurs Under the Knife
Paleontologists are now cutting fossils open to gain new insights into the biology of dinosaurs. An article in the November 2004 issue of Science Magazine features the research of UC Museum of Paleontology curator Mark Goodwin, and paleontologist Jack Horner of Montana State University. Mark and Jack sawed open the high-domed skull of a dinosaur called pachycephalosaurs to answer questions that can only be determined by examining fossilized bone tissue. (November 10, 2004)
Read more...

The Paleontological Society of Germany Honors UC Museum of Paleontology Interim Director Bill Clemens
In early October, UC Museum of Paleontology Interim Director, Bill Clemens attended the annual meetings of the Paläontologische Gesellschaft in Göttingen, Germany, where the organization elected Bill as a korrespondierendes Mitglied, or honorary member, of the society. In previous years Bill was a recipient of an Alexander von Humbolt Senior Scientist Award and an NSF fellowship. This award made it possible for Bill to carry out research projects on Mesozoic mammals while at the paleontological institute in Munich and, later, a study of microstructure of mammalian enamel at the paleontological institute in Bonn. Bill's election recognized both his collaborative studies with German paleontologists and his other contributions to the field of mammalian paleontology. (October 14, 2004)
Read more...

Recent Article Describes the "Morphology of Steve"
A recent paper co-authored by UC Museum of Paleontology Visiting Scholar Eugenie Scott and several hundred scientists named Steve, including Stephen Hawking, reports a number of biogeographical discoveries about the morphology of scientists named Steve/Stephanie/Estaban. Also reported are cognates such as the mid-continental Steve deficit, the disproving of Bergman's Rule, the reversal of sexual dimorphism in this sample of human beings, and perhaps of greatest interest, island dwarfism among insular Steves compared to mainland Steves. The paper is a spin off of the National Center for Science Education's "Project Steve", a parody of creationist lists of scientists "doubting Darwin", and was published in the Annals of Improbable Research, July-August, 2004. (October 14, 2004)
Read more...

The Search for Life on Jupiter's Icy Moons
Jupiter's moons Callisto, Ganymede, and Europa, may contain liquid water or ice-water slush below their icy surfaces, signalling the possibility of life. Life could exist on benthic soft and rocky substrates below the water-slush, in the water column, and in the icy crusts themselves. A recent paper co-authored by UC Museum of Paleontology curator Jere Lipps, in association with colleagues in the Berkeley Center for Integrative Planetary Sciences and at Lockheed Martin Corp., summarizes the astrobiology of Jupiter's moons. The article has been published in the Proceedings of SPIE, International Society for Optical Engineering Volume 5555. (October 13, 2004)
Read more...

PaleoBios Article Describes First Occurrence of Brachiosaurus from Oklahoma
In the fall 2004 issue of the journal PaleoBios, UC Museum of Paleontology graduate student, Matt Wedel, co-authored an article which reports the first occurrence of Brachiosaurus in Oklahoma. The paper describes a Brachiosaurus bone in the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History that had been previously identified as Camarasaurus, a more common sauropod. Brachiosaurus lived in East Africa and western North America during the Late Jurassic period. Although Brachiosaurus is the most common dinosaur in East Africa, it is one of the rarest dinosaurs in North America. Until now, Brachiosaurus had only been found in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. (October 08, 2004)
Read more...

Study Shows the Critically Endangered Indochinese Box Turtle from Southeast Asia is Actually Three Species
A recent paper co-written by UC Museum of Paleontology Postdoc Jim Parham documents a study on the molecular phylogeny of the critically endangered Indochinese box turtle, Cuora galbinifrons. The DNA analysis showed that some of the morphologically distinctive subspecies of this endangered turtle have long separate evolutionary histories. The study recommends elevating their status to full species, which greatly affects the breeding and conservation efforts of the Indochinese box turtle. The paper was published in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution (31:164-177). (October 07, 2004)
Read more...

Understanding Evolution Site Receives 2004 Science and Technology Web Award
The Understanding Evolution website (http://www.evolution.berkeley.edu) is a recipient of the 2004 Sci/Tech Web Award given by ScientificAmerican.com. The site was created by the University of California Museum of Paleontology as a one-stop resource for educators. This is the second Sci/Tech Award received by the Museum this year, with the first award going to the Paleontology Portal (http://www.paleoportal.org). (October 06, 2004)
Read more...

Paleontology Portal Wins 2004 Science and Technology Web Award
ScientificAmerican.com has selected The Paleontology Portal (http://www.paleoportal.org) as a winner of the 2004 Sci/Tech Web Awards. Produced by the University of California Museum of Paleontology in partnership with many other societies and organizations, the site is a central entryway to the Web for anyone interested in paleontology. (October 04, 2004)
Read more...

Study Implicates Humans and Climate Change in Late Pleistocene Extinctions
A study published in the October 1 issue of Science magazine by paleobiologists Anthony Barnosky, Bob Feranec and Alan Shabel, with their coauthors Paul Koch (UC Santa Cruz) and Scott Wing (Smithsonian Institution), implicates a "one-two punch" of human activities plus climate change as the cause of the end-Pleistocene megafauna extinctions. Barnosky, Feranec and Shabel are affiliated with both the UC Museum of Paleontology and the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. The paper is featured on this week's Science web page (www.sciencemag.org), and has also been reported by more than 50 news services throughout the world, including CBS, ABC and CNN International. (October 01, 2004)
Read more...

Stromberg Receives Isabel Cookson Award From the Botanical Society of America
Caroline Stromberg, a recent alumnus of the UC Museum of Paleontology, received the 2004 Isabel Cookson Award at the annual meeting of the Botanical Society of America. The award recognizes the best paleobotany paper presented by a student or recent graduate. Caroline's presentation was on phytolith evidence concerning Tertiary vegetation change and grass evolution in the North American interior. (August 11, 2004)
Read more...

Mid-Pleistocene Vertebrate Fossils Help Distinguish Human Impacts from Ecosystem Disturbances
UC Museum of Paleontology Curator Tony Barnosky, graduate student Alan Shabel, and co-authors published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (vol. 101, pp. 9297-9302, June 22, 2004) that suggests mammalian communities in the Colorado Rocky Mountains changed more in the last 200 years due to human impacts than they changed during the past 850,000 years, despite several major climate changes during that time. (August 06, 2004)
Read more...

Perotti Receives Lerner-Grey Grant for Marine Research
UC Museum of Paleontology graduate student Liz Perotti received the Lerner-Grey Grant from the American Museum of Natural History. Liz will use the award to investigate how (and if) evolutionary history influences the ecology of extant limpets in Baja California. (August 05, 2004)
Read more...

Biodiversity Response to Climate Change in the Middle Pleistocene
How did climate change affect life during the Middle Pleistocene? A new book edited by UC Museum of Paleontology Curator Tony Barnosky presents analysis and data from animal fossils found in Porcupine Cave, located in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Data from Porcupine Cave is helping to show how evolutionary and ecological changes that occurred in this period can influence biodiversity. (August 04, 2004)
Read more...

UC Museum of Paleontology Co-sponsors World Congress Symposium on the Evolution of the Mollusca
The symposium on the Phylogeny of Molluscs was a three-day highlight of the World Congress of Malacology, held in Perth, Australia and was co-organized by UC Museum of Paleontology Curator David Lindberg. Scientists from throughout the world gathered to present and discuss current hypotheses on the evolution of the Mollusca. (August 04, 2004)
Read more...

Vendetti Receives Malacology Grant
UC Museum of Paleontology graduate student Jann Vendetti received a student grant in Malacology from the Western Society of Malacologists. Jann's research will focus on the shell character evolution in the extinct Cenozoic gastropod genus Bruclarkia. The award gave Jann a chance to collect Bruclarkia gastropods in the Sooke formation on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. (July 30, 2004)
Read more...

Study Documents Experimental Release of Endemic Tree Snail Species on Moorea
What happens when captive-bred tree snails are reintroduced after being driven to extinction in the wild by an invasive predator? In a current publication of the journal Pacific Science, a paper by a group of researchers including UC Museum of Paleontology Curator Carole Hickman details the experimental release of three Partula tree snail species into a native forest on the island of Moorea. (July 30, 2004)
Read more...

Lipps, Montellano Receive UC-MEXUS Grant
Co-Principal Investigators Dr. Jere Lipps from the UC Museum of Paleontology and Dr. Marisol Montellano from the Institute of Geology at UNAM-Mexico City were awarded a UC-MEXUS CONACYT Grant for Collaborative Projects. Their research, to take place during fall 2004 and spring 2005, will explore the stratigraphy and systematics of Late Cretaceous vertebrate faunas from Baja California, Mexico. Jere will focus on the stratigraphy and paleoenvironments, while Marisol will work on the vertebrate paleontology. Graduate student Greg Wilson will also be involved in the project. (July 29, 2004)
Read more...

Special Journal Issue On Evolution of Grass-Dominated Ecosystems
A special issue in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, and Palaeecology examines a major ecological change that took place during the late Cenozoic, the evolution of grass-dominated ecosystems. This volume was edited by Caroline Stromberg and Bob Feranec, recent alumni of the UC Museum of Paleontology. (July 16, 2004)
Read more...

Life on the Icy Moons of Jupiter?
The icy moons of Jupiter appear to have briny oceans below their ice crusts, as well as the chemicals and energy for life, and so are primary targets in the search for life in our Solar System. A mission to orbit the moons, the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbitor (JIMO), is being planned for launch sometime after 2015. UC Museum of Paleontology Curator Jere Lipps, with several other Co-Investigators in the Center for Integrative Planetary Sciences (CIPS), UC Berkeley, and PI Alan Duncan, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center, have been awarded a substantial NASA grant as a planning step toward developing specialized instrumentation for that mission. Lipps and his students will focus on developing a paleontological and biological strategy: how can the orbiting spacecraft identify sites where body fossils, trace fossils, biotextures, biomarkers and biocompounds from past and present life might be found? (June 28, 2004)
Read more...

Summer 2004 Morphometrics Workshop
Mimi Zelditch and Don Swiderski of the of University of Michigan gave a morphometrics workshop in Berkeley the week of June 21 - 25, organized by UCMP graduate students Nick Pyenson and Alan Shabel. Morphometrics is a method of spatial analysis used to quantify changes in the shape of complex objects, which has many interesting applications in paleobiology. (June 25, 2004)
Read more...

Paleobiology Article Tests Head-Butting Hypothesis
In the spring 2004 issue of the journal Paleobiology, Mark Goodwin (University of California Museum of Paleontology) and Jack Horner (Museum of the Rockies) examine the internal bone structure of pachycephalosaurs. Their study falsifies the popular notion that these dinosaurs engaged in head-butting, and suggests instead that their skulls may have borne ornamentation used for communication, recognition or sexual display. (June 07, 2004)
Read more...

New Book Explores Early Cambrian Evolution
James W. Valentine, UC Museum of Paleontology Curator and Professor Emeritus of Integrative Biology, has published a new book: On the Origin of Phyla. This book synthesizes data from many fields--molecular genetics, evolutionary developmental biology, embryology, comparative morphology, and paleontology--in an extensive investigation into the origin and early diversification of animal phyla. (May 11, 2004)
Read more...

Paleontology Portal Featured in Netwatch
The Netwatch column in the May 7 issue of Science highlights the Paleontology Portal (http://www.paleoportal.org), currently under development at the UC Museum of Paleontology, as a resource for "anyone from fossil enthusiasts to professional scientists." (May 07, 2004)
Read more...

Wilson Receives Three Year Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
Greg Wilson, a UC Museum of Paleontology graduate student associate, has received a Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation for research on the early evolutionary radiation of placental mammals. He will work for two years at the University of Helsinki, Finland with Dr. Jukka Jernvall and for a year at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYCOM) with Dr. John Hunter. (April 21, 2004)
Read more...

Help Build the Paleontology Portal
Members of the paleontological community are invited to contribute images, links and information to help build a central, interactive entry point to paleontology resources on the Internet. Slated for a grand public opening in fall 2004, this new web resource is a joint project of the UC Museum of Paleontology, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, the Paleontological Society, and the U.S. Geologic Survey with funding from the National Science Foundation. (March 30, 2004)
Read more...

Wedel and Lee Honored As Outstanding GSIs
Matt Wedel and Andrew Lee, graduate student associates of the UC Museum of Paleontology, have been selected as Outstanding Graduate Student Instructors for 2003 by the Department of Integrative Biology. Congratulations, Matt and Andrew! (March 22, 2004)
Read more...

Hopkins and Moustakas Receive NSF Grants
Two graduate student affiliated with the UC Museum of Paleontology have received Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants from the National Science Foundation. Samantha Hopkins has received funding to enable her to more thoroughly describe the evolution of ecology in aplodontoid rodents. Jacqueline Moustakas will use her funding to support two years of research on dermal ossifications in reptiles. (March 18, 2004)
Read more...

New Book by Kevin Padian
A new book by University of California Museum of Paleontology curator Kevin Padian, titled "De Darwin aux dinosaures: Essai sur l'idee d'evolution," has just been published in France by Odile Jacob. It proceeded from his lectures as a Professeur Invité in the Collège de France in 2002. (March 17, 2004)
Read more...

Understanding Evolution Featured in Netwatch
The Netwatch column in the Feburary 20 issue of Science Magazine recommended the Understanding Evolution Web site as a source for up-to-date information and classroom resources for teachers. The site was recently launched by the University of California Museum of Paleontology and the National Center for Science Education. (March 01, 2004)
Read more...

Valentine To Receive Lapworth Medal
James W. Valentine will receive the Lapworth Medal from the Palaeontological Association in recognition of his outstanding research contributions to paleontology. The Medal will be awarded in December 2004 during the Association's annual meeting in France. Valentine is a Curator of the University of California Museum of Paleontology and Active Emeritus in the Department of Integrative Biology. (February 18, 2004)
Read more...

Understanding Evolution Web Site Makes Its Debut
The University of California Museum of Paleontology, in partnership with the National Center for Science Education, announces a comprehensive new resource developed to meet the needs of K-12 teachers. The site provides an informal on-line course covering essential science content, as well as a searchable database of resources for the classroom. (February 11, 2004)
Read more...

New Paleobios Issue Honors J. Howard Hutchison
The current issue of Paleobios, a peer-reviewed journal produced by the University of California Museum of Paleontology, features papers by four young scientists who have been influenced by the work of J. Howard Hutchison. Best known for his ongoing studies into the evolution of fossil turtles, Hutchison's work over the last 30 years has documented much of the known record of North American turtles from the late Jurassic through the Cenozoic. (January 26, 2004)
Read more...

New Volume on Fossils of Florissant
Herbert W. Meyer, a University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP) alumnus and U.S. National Park Service paleontologist, has published a new volume describing the spectacular fossil beds of the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. "The Fossils of Florissant" includes hundreds of gorgeous color photographs of fossils, many of which are housed in the paleobotany collections of the UCMP. (January 20, 2004)
Read more...

Special Session Examines Hot Topics in Sponge Biology
In January, thirteen speakers from four countries convened for a special session on hot topics in sponge biology. Sponges are highly diverse, and have demonstrated potential for pharmaceutical and biotechnological applications, yet are largely understudied. University of California Museum of Paleontology graduate student Scott Nichols and Gert Woerheide of the University of Goettingen, Germany co-organized the symposium for the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. (January 13, 2004)
Read more...