Fla. Museum to celebrate Darwin’s 200th birthday with events Thursday, Saturday

February 10th, 2009

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Come celebrate the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, of one of science’s most influential figures, at the Florida Museum of Natural History Thursday and Saturday.

At 7 p.m. Feb. 12, join Betty Smocovitis of the University of Florida’s zoology and history departments for “Singing His Praises: Darwin and His Theory in Song and Musical Production.”

This lecture will examine the issues and controversies of Darwin’s theory of evolution through song while studying the link between modern science and pop culture. To sweeten the event, a birthday cake featuring Darwin will be served.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 14, those curious to learn more about evolution and want to see evidence of the process can take part in “Darwin Day” with Florida Museum collections staff. (more…)

Florida Museum hosts "Science Sunday" lecture April 6

April 2nd, 2008

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History will host the “Of Ants and Elephants” portion of its “Science Sunday” lecture series this Sunday, April 6 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

University of Florida Zoology professor Todd Palmer has returned from east Africa to share with lecture-goers the details of his experience. In this lecture, participants will learn how the relationship between ants, acacia shrubs and African elephants is vital to maintaining a healthy environment.

Palmer is an ecologist with broad research interests, including species coexistence, the ecology and evolution of mutualisms, and the role of ecosystem engineers in structuring rangeland communities. Most of his work is conducted in East Africa, although he has also worked in alpine streams, meadows and prairies of the western U.S. Palmer is the author of numerous publications and conducts various research projects funded by the National Science Foundation. (more…)

Fla. Museum archaeologist explores role of myths in history during Oct. 28 program

October 15th, 2007

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Discover the true story of Columbus through his own words, native oral history and modern scholarship during the Florida Museum of Natural History’s “Science Sundays” lecture series, 2:30-3:30 p.m. Oct. 28.

Florida Museum Caribbean Archaeology Curator William Keegan will discuss how myths and beliefs of the storyteller bias our history. A book signing will follow.

Keegan is the author of the recently released book “Taíno Indian Myth and Practice: the Arrival of the Stranger King.” He began investigating Caribbean prehistory nearly 30 years ago and infuses his accumulated knowledge about the Taíno, an indigenous pre-Columbian people, with archaeological theory to explain how myths and beliefs not only affect cultures, but also may be used thousands of years later by archaeologists interpreting culture. (more…)

Rich fossil dig site near Newberry subject of Fla. Museum program Sept. 9

September 5th, 2007

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Learn about animals that roamed Florida 2 million years ago, surfacing now in western Alachua County, during the Florida Museum of Natural History’s “Science Sundays” lecture series, 2:30-3:30 p.m. Sept. 9.

Florida Museum Vertebrate Paleontology Collections Manager Richard Hulbert will discuss the struggles and victories of the “Tapir Challenge” fossil dig site, how it is being excavated and its scientific significance for understanding Florida’s ancient fauna and climate. Sunday’s program also includes a short documentary film by Michelle Friedline. (more…)

Fla. Museum lecture Sept. 24 explores new evidence of fossil porcupine

September 14th, 2006

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History graduate student Alex Hastings will describe new evidence of a fossil porcupine from Haile, Fla. in his lecture from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Sept. 24 as part of the Florida Museum’s Science Sunday lecture series.

In his presentation, “Bridging the Continents: The Porcupine Enters North America,” Hastings will discuss how this missing link can contribute to the understanding of porcupine evolution and what it can tell us about Florida’s environment 2 million years ago.

Media Contact: Paul Ramey,  (352) 846-2000,  pramey@ufl.edu
Writer: Lauren Williams

East coast butterflies topic of Fla. Museum lecture April 23

April 18th, 2006

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Author Rick Cech will share facts and photos from his book “Butterflies of the East Coast: An Observer’s Guide” from 2-3 p.m. April 23 as part of the Florida Museum’s Science Sunday lecture series. During his presentation in the Lucille T. Maloney classroom, Cech will discuss both common and rare butterflies and their complex behavior. Following the lecture, he will offer a book signing. Books are available for purchase in the Florida Museum Collectors Shop.

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Fla. Museum April 9 lecture explores fossil teeth research on ancient ecology

April 4th, 2006

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida/Florida Museum of Natural History Ph.D. student Larisa Grawe DeSantis will describe research to reconstruct ancient environments from tapir teeth from 2-3 p.m. April 9 as part of the Florida Museum’s Science Sunday lecture series.

The presentation, “Reconstructing Past Environments: Utilizing Fossil Teeth to Infer Ancient Ecology,” will discuss how fossils from the eastern United States are being used to recreate the density of forests and grasslands during the Neogene period, and why tapirs are particularly helpful in revealing secrets of the past.

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Florida Museum presents ‘Revealing the Deep’ lecture March 30 by Daniel Fornari

March 23rd, 2006

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Explore the new science behind mysterious black smokers–deep-sea hot water vents–and exotic tubeworms as Daniel J. Fornari, director of the Deep Ocean Exploration Institute, discusses 21st-century ocean science and technology at 6 p.m. March 30. Fornari’s lecture, “Revealing the Deep: the 21st Century Revolution in Ocean Science and Technology,” will be held at the Florida Museum of Natural History as part of its Museum Nights program.

Fornari holds the W. Van Allen Clark Senior Scientist Chair at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He is internationally recognized for his research in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans on volcanic and hydrothermal processes and on the structure and magmatic processes at oceanic transforms and islands, such as Hawaii and the Galapagos. In 2000, he co-developed “Dive and Discover,” an education and outreach Web site for school science enrichment.

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Wild Florida frontier topic of Florida Museum lecture Feb. 19

February 9th, 2006

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History Curator of Archaeology Jerald T. Milanich will share stories and antics from his newly released book from 2-3 p.m. Feb. 19 as part of the Florida Museum’s Science Sunday lecture series. Following the lecture, Milanich will offer a book signing. Books are available for purchase in the Florida Museum’s Collectors Shop.

Milanich’s book, “Frolicking Bears, Wet Vultures and Other Oddities: A New York City Journalist in Nineteenth-Century Florida,” compiles the wanderings and musings of Amos Jay Cummings as he explores the Florida frontier in the late 1800s. Through his book, Milanich uncovers how Cummings’ writing about “bruins and buzzards; rednecks and racists; murderers and mosquitoes; rich soils and poor souls” reveals the untamed frontier that once was Florida.

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Fla. Museum to host lecture on evolution, intelligent design debate

December 14th, 2005

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History will host a free public lecture on the evolution/intelligent design debate at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2006.

The presentation by Wesley Elsberry from the National Center for Science Education is titled “The Top Anti-evolution Arguments and How to Answer Them.” Seating is limited.

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