This week, we welcome guest blogger Robert Boessenecker. Bobby has been interested in paleontology since he was a kid. He grew up in the Bay Area; when he found Miocene shark teeth in the Santa Cruz Mountains, he was hooked. He first got involved with the UCMP when he was a high school freshman — he visited the museum with his dad, to interview UCMP Assistant Director Mark Goodwin for a school project. Bobby is now getting a Masters' degree at Montana State University. He studies the taphonomy … [Read more...] about Marine vertebrate paleontology in Half Moon Bay
Thanks for joining us on Cal Day! Here are some photos from a few of the UCMP's Cal Day events. At Fun with Fossils, visitors used microscopes to look for fossils. They picked through matrix collected at the Bug Creek Anthills in Montana. People found reptile vertebrae, fish scales… and one little girl found a dinosaur tooth! The courtyard of VLSB was buzzing as hundreds of visitors perused the Biodiversity Roadshow. This exhibit included specimens from many of the Berkeley Natural History … [Read more...] about Cal Day at the UCMP
Join us at the UCMP on Cal Day, Saturday April 17! Events run from 9am to 4pm; check the schedule for a full listing of activities. Here are just a few of the Cal Day events at the UCMP: ~ Take a tour of the collections with a museum scientist. The collections are open to the public just one day a year, so this is your chance! Tours are held throughout the day, but tickets are first-come, first- served, and they go fast — come early to pick up your free tickets in advance. ~ Visit the special … [Read more...] about Visit the UCMP on Cal Day!
Ring species are often touted as examples of speciation in action — and the Ensatina salamander, which forms a ring around California's Central Valley, is a classic example. Biologists discovered this ring species back in the 1950s, and investigations of Ensatina continue today. Learn more about Ensatina in this research profile of biologist Tom Devitt, on the UCMP's Understanding Evolution website. Tom is a graduate student in Integrative Biology here at UC Berkeley. The profile follows him … [Read more...] about Highlights from Understanding Evolution
Very little was known about wetland ecology back in 1869, when Samuel Merritt dammed a former tidal slough and began developing its surrounding wetland as his "Jewel of Oakland." By restricting the flow of waters in and out of the newly created tidal lagoon, a.k.a. Lake Merritt, silt and algae were allowed to accumulate and within a few years the lake had become a bit of an environmental disaster. Nevertheless, part of it was designated by Teddy Roosevelt as our nation's first wildlife refuge, … [Read more...] about Creatures from the black lagoon
Not all fossils are discovered by paleontologists combing the earth on special expeditions. Many fossils are found by accident — particularly during construction projects. Impressive fossils, like whales, mammoths, and sloths, have been found while digging foundations for buildings, leveling land for highways, and excavating subway tunnels. This spring, the UCMP blog will take you on a tour of Bay Area construction sites, past and present, to show you some of the fossils underfoot in the … [Read more...] about Fossils found fortuitously
Hundreds of thousands of people cross San Francisco Bay each day. But as commuters zip through the BART tunnel or drive over the bridges, they probably don't think about what the Bay looked like in the past — or what it will look like in the future. On Saturday, February 6, over 150 people attended the UCMP's annual Short Course, Predicting the future of San Francisco Bay: Learning from history. Throughout the course's five talks, they saw a very different view of San Francisco Bay. A theme … [Read more...] about Predicting the future of San Francisco Bay: Learning from history
A few weeks ago, the UCMP welcomed visitor Jake Enk, a graduate student from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Jake visited the UCMP to saw off chunks of fossil mammoth teeth. Yes, you read that right. He took a small saw, sterilized the blade with bleach, and sliced off a small piece of tooth. Even after tens of thousands of years, mammoth teeth still contain DNA. Jake will put a little piece of the tooth in a test tube, and use a series of chemicals to purify the mammoth DNA. He does … [Read more...] about How many mammoths?
UCMP graduate student Kaitlin Maguire is working with the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose to develop a new exhibit about the life of Lupé, a mammoth fossil that was found in the nearby Guadalupe River. This is the second in a series of blogs about Lupé and the new exhibit. Read Kaitlin’s first Lupé blog here. Development of the Lupé Story Exhibition is moving along quickly as exhibit ideas come to life in prototyping labs, in which the development team at the Children’s Discovery … [Read more...] about Lupé’s story, part 2: Prototyping the mammoth exhibit
How will sea level rise and climate change affect San Francisco Bay in the coming years? To predict the future, we need to look at the past — history shows us that San Francisco Bay has undergone some major changes throughout its history. Learn more about the Bay at this year's UCMP Short Course, Predicting the future of San Francisco Bay: Learning from history. This all-day course will be on Saturday, February 6, at UC Berkeley. It features talks by five renowned Bay Area scientists, as well as … [Read more...] about UCMP short course: Predicting the future of San Francisco Bay
In 2005, Roger Castillo found the fossilized bones of a juvenile mammoth in the Guadalupe River near San Jose. Roger was walking his dog along the river, which he did frequently as a volunteer for the Guadalupe-Coyote Resource Conservation District, when he saw the tusks of the mammoth's skull poking out of the soil along the riverbank. At the time he wasn't exactly sure what he was looking at but recognized their importance and contacted the UCMP. The fossilized mammoth has been named Lupé, … [Read more...] about Lupé’s story: A mammoth’s journey from the ground to a museum