The Living Wild
Photographs by Art Wolfe
Through August 3, 2002
Kingdom is fun, and zoos show you the wild animals in modern cages, but
the power of earth's living animal species in their own habitat is best
savored through great photography.
This is evident in the animal portraits of Art Wolfe, the celebrated
nature photographer who devoted himself to creating his signature
photography exhibit, The Living Wild.
It was a three-year odyssey for Wolfe to photograph these
animals. His travels included more
than 40 different countries to record over 140 different species on film:
from the Florida panther (reduced to only 50 animals) to the California
Condor (declared extinct in the wild in 1987 but successfully reintroduced)
and the gray whale. His
photographs record the diversity of
wildlife on earth at the start of the 21st century.
The Bald Eagle--unique to North America--is an
interesting conservation success story. In the 18th century
estimates of the bald eagle population ranged from 25,000 to 75,000, but
fewer than 450 birds still survived in the 1960s. Habitat destruction, systematic bounty
hunting, and pollution had doomed them. The DDT contamination of their food
and eggs led to thin-walled eggs that failed to hatch. Then the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Survey began a last effort captive breeding program, and began
to reintroduced birds into the wild. Habitats were protected and the use of
DDT was banned in agriculture. Today
there are about 4,500 birds in the contiguous United States, and 30,000 in
The photo is of a curious eagle which lifted off its
nest to scrutinize photographer Wolfe, who was positioned 100 meters above
him. The site was a grassy
promontory overlooking the Bering Sea.
In his 25-year career Wolfe has taken more than one
million images and made slides of over 1,000 species. Many species he photographed, like the
Mexican grizzly bear, the Seychelles parrot, and the Okinawa flying fox,
are now extinct. But Wolfe dedicates The
Living Wild to "the species we still have time to save. The Living Wild provides a look at a
world of animals that few get the chance to see in their natural
habitat. It also presents an honest
look at how these animals are doing at this point in time." His message is about the challenge of
conservation, based on the evidence of what still exists.
Signed copies of Art Wolfe's The Living Wild, published by the Wildlands Press, are
available at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History Store.
Eomaia, the "Dawn
Carnegie Scientists discover the first placental mammal
Scoring another first in the field of vertebrate
paleontology, Carnegie scientists have just published their findings on the
world's first placental mammal, called "Eo-maia," the "dawn
mother." This small fossil
specimen, some 125 million years old, is the ancestor of all the placental
species that bear their young live. What followed them has ranged from
elephants to manatees, tree sloths, armadillos, hedgehogs, bats, pangolins,
horses, rhinos, cows, pigs, whales, monkeys, and of course humans, and
man’s best friends - dogs.
resembled a large shrew, and was an active climber. It had claws and feet which gave it
considerable ability to walk on branches and in the trees. It was an insectivore. The fossil was
discovered in 2000 at a field site in northeastern China, but Carnegie
Museum of Natural History paleontologist Zhexi Luo, and mammalogy curator
John Wible, were in a good position with their colleagues to bring it to
light to the world’s scientific community.
Their article was published in the prestigious British scientific
journal Nature (April 25, 2002).
"This is a very important find," says Zhexi
Luo, who worked with colleagues he calls "the best in China,"
from the Chinese Academy of
Geological Science. This is
the earliest species in placental mammal evolution that has a climbing
adaptation, and shows how early diversification of species began. The specimen is older by ten million
years than the next oldest placentals
known only by three isolated teeth, and older by 40 million years
than the next oldest placentals represented by skulls. It helps to fill fresh information in a previously
blank period of the placental mammal history.
and People: Fishing for Solutions
Dr. Bill DeWalt
July 11, 7pm,
seafood resources place disaster on the planet's menu?
Bill DeWalt, Director
of Carnegie Museum of Natural History, shares his thoughts on how we may
continue to eat shrimp cocktail and scampi without causing harm to the
While a consultant
for the World Wildlife Fund and the World Bank, DeWalt focused on finding
solutions for the ecological and social issues that affect shrimp farming
in Latin America.
Museum on the Move: A
20th Anniversary 215
Sunday, April 28, 1:00-4:00pm
To celebrate 20th
years of service to children and adults with special needs, Museum on the
Move held a Community Fair at the museum. Displays and activities for the
family to enjoy were set up by ten of the more than 50 organizations that
partner each year with the museum-based program. The broad outreach of
Museum on the Move touches the lives of some 10,000 people each year.
The fair included
tables from Allegheny Intermediate Unit, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh,
LEAP Preschool/The Watson Institute, Pioneer Education Center, The Bradley Center (residential treatment
facilities, schools, support and consultation services), South Hills Interfaith Ministries, The
Knowledge Connection, and Reading is FUNdamental.
Museum on the Move
reaches out to children with special needs in schools, institutions,
residential treatment facilities, camps, shelters, and acute care
hospitals. At the sites trained volunteers present free programs on natural
history and anthropology subjects adapted to the needs of specific
audiences. All programs include hands-on activities and crafts. Museum on
the Move is supported by grants and donations from foundations and
For more information
about Museum on the Move, contact Lenore Adler at
adlerl@CarnegieMuseums.org, or (412) 688-8687, or fax the Division of
Education at (412) 622-3419.
Dave Berman: Carnegie Paleontologist Honored
In March 2002 David S. Berman, curator of Vertebrate
paleontology, received an award in Houston from the SEPM Foundation, Inc.
for an outstanding research paper published in the scientific periodical Palaios.
He and his colleagues have published articles since the early
1990s on the ancient life discovered at the abandoned Bromacker quarry site
in central Germany. Their research
into fossils of the early Permian period (290-250 million years ago) has
helped prove that North America and Europe were once linked in a single
massive continent called Pangaia.
The First Step in Human Globalization--Horseback Riding
Archaeologist Sandra Olsen explains the oldest evidence of taming
wild horses in Discover
magazine (March, 2002)
For nine summers archaeologist Sandra Olsen of the
Anthropology Section of Carnegie Museum of Natural History has returned to
the same windswept, grassy plains in the heart of the Eurasian steppe, in
Kazakhstan. There she studies life
in the prehistoric village of Krasnyi Yar, a primitive settlement dating to
some 5,500 years ago. Olsen knows
that in this site the ancient Botai people endured harsh nine-month
winters, dressed in furs from small mammals, huddled around campfires in
pit houses dug into the ground, and ate horsemeat.
But not only did they eat horsemeat, Olsen says, they
hunted and herded horses, and probably used them for transport. Thus the Botai were in fact among the
first to invent horseback riding, and this development changed human
behavior forever. Prior to riding
horses people walked, carried their cargo on their shoulders, or used boats
along rivers and coasts. Horses were
the first ) form of rapid transit.
They were fleet of foot, carried one or two people or heavy loads,
and could survive in a poor environment.
Thus by turning their prey into transport, the ancient horse culture
of the Botai enabled isolated human societies to develop into
interconnected spheres of influence.
By studying the clues from horse bones and burials in
northern Kazakhstan, and asking the right questions, Olsen deduces that
wild horses were hunted from horseback and domestic horses were kept as
livestock. People used horse manure
for building material, butchered horses for food near the village, and
fashioned horse jawbones into thong-making tools. Some 5,500 years ago
horses were buried with their owners, perhaps like faithful servants to
accompany a person or family in the afterlife. In today's remote villages,
Kazaks still enjoy a bitter-tasting drink called "koumiss" made
from fermented mare's milk, boys are taught to ride at age four, and a
marathon 20-minute horse race is a highlight of the various horse games at
With generous support from the National Science
Foundation and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Olsen and her
colleagues from England and Kazakhstan continue to investigate this turning
point in the history of humankind.
Olsen’s co-director, Bruce Bradley, a world-renowned stone toolmaker,
has found a quarry where the Botai collected raw materials to fashion
arrowheads and scrapers. Colleague
Alan Outram is looking for residues of horse milk in their ancient pottery
to prove that the Botai consumed koumiss just as their modern counterparts
The Discover magazine article has led
to National Public Radio and BBC
radio interviews, and BBC's Horizon program
plans to visit the site and make a film.