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Pittsburgh has a "Gold Rush"

The 2001 Gem & Mineral Show

August 24- 26

Gold is the theme for the fourth annual Gem & Mineral Show, as some of the world's foremost collections bring outstanding specimens to Pittsburgh.  There will be an international flavor this year, and the "Gold Rush" is the theme at the Gala Preview party on Thursday evening, August, 23.

As usual, a variety of minerals will astonish visitors. Specimens will be here from famous mineral collections such as the Harvard Mineralogical Museum and the Houston Museum of Natural Science.  Kristalle from California will be selling crystalline gold, and you will be able to buy nugget gold from (who else?) Colorado Nuggets.  Silvertown will be bringing in sterling silver jewelry, and there will be carved opal and "sheen obsidian" from Austin, Texas.  Pittsburgh's own Headwaters Lapidary will have loose stones that it has cut and faceted, as will Mine Design and Gem Fair.   The unrivaled work of Gem Artists of North America will be on display.  If you select a gem or mineral you like and want to have mounted, it can be done at the show by an expert.

The popular Gem & Mineral Show has had increasing attendance during the past few years and is continually changing. Local hobbyist groups work hard to make the Gem & Mineral Show a success, including attending a private workshop conducted by the museum's mineralogist Marc Wilson.  International interests will be represented this year by exhibitors such Dimitri Belakovsky of the Fersman Mineralogical Museum in Moscow and by a vendor from India. Of  the nearly 30 dealers, many more will have craft-oriented materials than in the past.  The public will have a chance to see and buy trinkets and crafts that are seldom seen in western Pennsylvania.

For more information, call  412.622.3391

Marc Wilson makes the "Rockhound Hall of Fame"

The museum's head of the section of minerals, Marc Wilson, has been elected into the Rockhound Hall of Fame.

The rewards are a portrait plaque, a ceremony of induction, and inclusion in the National Rockhound and Lapidary Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Lapidary Journal,  in Murdo, South Dakota.

Wilson has been with the museum for more than eight years and has built strong relationships with local hobbyists, experts, and professionals around the world.  Hillman Hall of Minerals & Gems is well known in the profession as a premier venue for displaying fine specimens and as the home of an outstanding collection of masterpiece specimens.   Wilson is quick to give credit to his predecessors, to the teamwork of volunteers, and to the great facility of which he is manager: "I put additional polish on what was already a great hall."   But his expert management, development of the collections and of events such as the Gem & Mineral show, and his enthusiastic supporters have earned him the esteem of his peers as an important Rockhound.


The Tiniest Mammal              

By R.Jay Gangewere

Scientific research is like cultivating a rose; sometimes it seems to dry up and wither, and sometimes it takes root and blossoms.

An international team of researchers led by Carnegie Museum of Natural History Vertebrate Paleontologist Dr. Zhe-Xi Luo has discovered a 195 million-year-old fossil mammal, a creature the size of a paperclip weighing only two grams. It is the smallest mammal known to science, and a new branch on the mammalian family tree.

An article published in the prestigious journal Science (May 25, 2001) describes the animal as having a precociously large brain and a middle ear like that of modern mammals.  It suggests that these two features may have evolved together. Named Hadrocodium for its exceptionally large brain (hadro – Greek for “large and full” and codium – Greek for head), the fossil has widespread implications for the earliest mammalian evolutionary history, and pushes back the origins of mammals by some 45 million years to the Early Jurassic.

With such a tiny body, it was probably limited to eating very small insects and small worms.  Its enlarged brain and very small body tell scientists that the animal had a very high metabolism, which forced it to eat continuously.  Small size is also regarded as an indication of ecological diversification.  Today's living mammals distantly related to it are the platypus, kangaroos and primates.  The smallest mammals living today are species of bats and shrews.

Dr.Luo was first involved in the study of this tiny skull in 1988 when he was a post-doctoral researcher at Harvard University, working with Alfred W. Crompton of Harvard and Ailin Sun of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.  Through the years they  explored the meaning of the small skull, and are finally publishing their findings. "I never stopped working on it," says Luo.  "Science is sometimes like gardening.  Your carefully nurtured plantings can wither and never amount to anything.  But then something you research and plant will take root and blossom like a rose after years of work."  The little Hadrocodium wui is right now his scientific rose.   Scientifically, "This little critter really has it," says Luo.

A Century of Scientific Publications

The museum's managing editor talks about his work


In 1901, Carnegie Museum published the first scientific description of Diplodocus carnegii, the museum’s original dinosaur.  One hundred years and many volumes later, the scientific publications program of Carnegie Museum of Natural History continues to play an important role in advancing our understanding of natural history.

Most people are familiar with our exhibits and public programs, but they might not realize how active we are as a research institution. Our publications are an important outlet for our staff and research associates to share their work with colleagues in the scientific community.

The scientific publications program produces the quarterly journal Annals of Carnegie Museum and two additional series, the Bulletin of Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Special Publications of Carnegie Museum. A fourth series, Memoirs of the Carnegie Museum, was published from 1901–1936.

The Annals features a mix of articles from various scientific disciplines. Thumb through the pages of an issue and you might find a description of a new species of animal or information on an archaeological excavation site. Bulletins and Special Publications usually consist of longer papers on a single subject.

One important Bulletin resolved the debate over which skull belonged atop the skeleton of the museum's own Apatosaurus louisae.  This is the "type specimen," the example which identifies the species and to which specimens anywhere else must be compared.  After publication of the 1978 paper by Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology David Berman and Research Associate John McIntosh, every museum in the world that had mounted the wrong head on the dinosaur’s skeleton knew it had to change its display. 

The managing editor, with the help of scientific editors David Berman, David Watters, and John Wible, guides each manuscript submission through an external peer review process and formats each publication before sending it to press.

In a 1901 editorial opening the first issue of the Annals, former museum director William J. Holland expressed his hope that the dawn of a new century would find the Annals on library shelves around the world.  In 2001, the museum shares its publications with over 500 libraries and institutions in more than 80 countries.               

 --Orr Goehring,  

Managing Editor,  Scientific Publications



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Copyright (c) 2001 CARNEGIE magazine 
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