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Environmental Impact II

October 2nd, 2020 – May 15th, 2021

Traditionally, art depicts nature as beautiful, pristine scenery. However, this is not the case for some areas on the planet. Environmental Impact II is going against traditional artwork and looking at a real and serious matter. Through the use of 60 art pieces by artists from around the country, visitors will get a glimpse of the issues that are affecting our environment daily. From oil spills to wildfires to diminishing water resources, all impacts not only affects natural flora and fauna but our lives as well. 

For more information about the exhibit and the artists, visit www.davidjwagnerllc.com/Environmental_Impact-Sequel.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT II is produced by David J. Wagner, L.L.C., David J. Wagner, Ph.D., Curator/Tour Director, davidjwagnerllc.com.

BySternberg Museum

The Sternberg Museum’s Coronavirus Policy

The Sternberg Museum is still taking every necessary precaution to maintain the health and safety of its guests and staff. In order to help us continue to make the museum a fun and safe environment, we have a few policies in place so guests can plan their visit accordingly.

  • Everyone is required to wear a mask during their visit. Children under the age of 5 are exempted.
  • Maintain a distance of 6ft from other guests.
  • Frequently wash your hands.
  • Sneeze into your elbow.
  • If you are feeling sick, stay home, and get well.

We hope you enjoy your time at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History, if you have any questions call us at (785) 628-4286 or email us at sternbergpr@fhsu.edu.

The FHSU COVID -19 policy document.

The City of Hays: Face-Mask-Ordinance

BySternberg Museum

A 91-million-year-old fossilized shark discovered in Kansas! Newly described as Cretodus houghtonorum.

A 91-million-year-old shark, recently described as Cretodus houghtonorum, was discovered in 2010 near a ranch located in Mitchell County. The discovery and excavation were conducted by the authors, Kenshu Shimada and Michael Everhart, adjunct researchers of the Sternberg Museum, along with two assistants from central Kansas, Fred Smith, and Gail Pearson.

Even though the fossil shark is an incomplete skeleton, it still represents the best Cretodus specimen known from North America. The team was able to uncover more than 130 teeth and 60 vertebrae from the site. The shark was estimated to be about 5 meters (nearly 17 feet) long, suggesting the animal was rather sluggish, which is a similar trait to a shark group called Lamniformes. This also includes modern-day distant cousins, the great white and sand tiger sharks.

The specific epithet “houghtonorum” is in honor of the landowners Keith and Deborah Houghton, who generously donated the specimen to the Sternberg. Discoveries like this would not be made possible without the cooperation and generosity of local landowners, and the local knowledge and enthusiasm of amateur fossil collectors, according to the authors. “We believe that continued cooperation between paleontologists and those who are most familiar with the land, is essential to improving our understanding of the geological history of Kansas, and the Earth as a whole,” said Everhart.

The study, A new large Late Cretaceous lamniform shark from North America with comments on the taxonomy, paleoecology, and evolution of the genus Cretodus, will appear in the upcoming issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology and is available online. Click here to read the published paper.

More pictures and information from this dig are posted online at http://oceansofkansas.com/Cretodus.html.

 

Source:

Michael J. Everhart

mike@oceansofkansas.com

316-788-1354

 

Kenshu Shimada

kshimada@depaul.edu

773-325-3697

BySternberg Museum

Book a Tour

Come to the Sternberg Museum and experience a tour with experienced staff.

Group Tours (min. of 12 people) are available as a part of the Sternberg experience.

Guided tours last anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours, after which participants are welcome to spend any additional amount of time they wish visiting the museum at leisure.

Or let us bring the Museum to you.  Book an outreach program and let us bring the excitement and grandeur of the Museum to your students, group, corporate gathering, or assembly of people.  We offer a multitude of programs and educational activities to meet any need.  Our programs are available to anyone from schools, to libraries, to any other group.

Click on our NEW link to book your tour or outreach event today!

BySternberg Museum

Winter Hours

The Sternberg Museum will be switching to their winter hours starting October 5th. 

Hours

Tues-Sat 9am-6pm
Sunday 1pm-6pm
CLOSED MONDAYS

Admission

Adults (age 13-59) $9
Youths (age 4-12) $6
Senior Citizens (60+) $7
FHSU Students (w/valid ID) $5

 

BySternberg Museum

Camps Blog: Guest Post by Intern Maggie Wolf

Hello everyone, my name is Maggie Wolf, and I am a freshman at the University of Evansville majoring in Biology. I attended the Sternberg Paleontology, Southwest Biology and Expedition Ecuador camps, all of which provided me with amazing experiences and helped me learn more about the things I love. At the end of last summer, I was provided with a new opportunity: to work on data curation for the high school camps, which involved organizing the photos and notes taken at each camp into a coherent set of data. It has provided me with new challenges that, when overcome, have been very rewarding.

The goal of the data curation position is to establish a data set for the high school biology camps. At each camp, students and instructors take field notes and record when and where they observe different organisms. Students also take photos of the organisms seen, which, when coupled with the field notes, means that an enormous amount of data is collected at each camp. As birds are a particular interest of mine, I started there, sorting the photos by date and then species. Each set of observations was entered into eBird, an online database of bird sightings that spans the globe. In the end, 48 separate lists of birds were entered that included a total of 201 different bird species. Each sighting was then entered into iNaturalist, a similar website that allows you to enter observations or help others identify what they have seen. This site allows for entry of any living organism, vastly expanding the number of entries possible. In the end, 673 observations were entered, 259 of which have been deemed research grade. Incredibly, 496 different species were documented at the high school camps last summer!

I’m on the right in this photo that looks down into a beautiful, cloudy valley in Pichincha, Ecuador

I’m on the right in this photo that looks down into a beautiful, cloudy valley in Pichincha, Ecuador

A male Masked Trogon (Trogon personatus), part of a genus of birds related to almost nothing else. Although their evolutionary history is elusive, they were not, and they calmly posed for photos (thank God) unlike most other birds which are notoriously difficult to photograph well.

A male Masked Trogon (Trogon personatus), part of a genus of birds related to almost nothing else. Although their evolutionary history is elusive, they were not, and they calmly posed for photos (thank God) unlike most other birds which are notoriously difficult to photograph well.

However, it was not without complications. For each observation, I had to determine where an organism was seen primarily based on when it was observed. This was complicated by the many time changes we experienced, meaning the time recorded in the field notes was not always the time the camera recorded for each photo. This meant I had to double and triple check that the correct time and place was associated with each photograph. Having time stamped photos was helpful several times though. In most cases, it is easier to identify an organism in real life because you can gather information from its appearance as well as its behavior. Several organisms that were harder to identify in photos lined up with observations in my field notes, letting me make more accurate identifications. One of the hardest tasks was identifying unknown organisms that were photographed. Without the context I would normally get (like their habitat, behaviors and any noises), it was much more difficult to figure out what animals I was looking at. Several were particularly confusing because they were species I recognized but they looked different because they were from a different region. After seeing reddish purple House Finches my entire life, it threw me for a loop when I saw a group of orange ones.

This experience was thoroughly eye-opening because I realized how little I know. I have seen a small piece of the spectacular diversity of life on the planet, and even here it has been overwhelming. I thought I had a fair amount of knowledge about plants and insects, but when it came down to identifying a small brown spider or a red fern, I was totally at a loss.

This bird’s identity is still in question. Whether it is an oddly colored House Finch, a Saffron Finch or a Hepatic Tanager is unclear. There is much more variation between individuals within a species than I realized, which has made this and other identifications difficult.

This bird’s identity is still in question. Whether it is an oddly colored House Finch, a Saffron Finch or a Hepatic Tanager is unclear. There is much more variation between individuals within a species than I realized, which has made this and other identifications difficult.

You would think a shiny blue beetle would be easy to identify, but it turns out that there is an entire genus of shiny blue beetles that are essentially identical. Knowing that I will never know exactly what kind of beetles we saw is infuriating.

You would think a shiny blue beetle would be easy to identify, but it turns out that there is an entire genus of shiny blue beetles that are essentially identical. Knowing that I will never know exactly what kind of beetles we saw is infuriating.

I gradually developed the skills and vocabulary I needed to identify organisms more accurately though. Being able to identify an organism’s family became much easier and the few that I narrowed to the level of genus or species constituted major victories. One of the most incredible changes that I have noticed is that I have become much more observant. You never know how much you are missing until you can tell the difference between organisms. Sure, a field is full of plants and animals. It becomes rewarding, though, when you understand what organisms are there and how they interact. I became much more dedicated to the project as I put in more time and effort. While it was often difficult or frustrating, I kept working and became more determined. This project is important because the data can be used by researchers to advance scientific knowledge, and I am really glad to be a part of that quest.

Maggie during a night time amphibian survey in the Andes in 2017.

This guest post is by Margaret (Maggie) Wolf, a camps participant from 2015-2017 from Kansas City, KS. Last summer, Maggie participated in the Expedition Ecuador wildlife biology camp. Following this program, Maggie was selected for the 2017 Sternberg Camps data curation paid internship. With guidance, Maggie organized and entered wildlife documentation data from the Expedition Ecuador and Southwest Biology Camps into online databases iNaturalist and eBird. Maggie will be returning to the camps this coming summer as a teaching assistant.

To get a glimpse of Maggie’s work during her internship, please check out the Sternberg Science Camps pages on iNaturalist, and eBird.

iNaturalist

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