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Encope michelini Agassiz (USNM E32989) aboral view

Encope michelini Agassiz (USNM E32989) aboral view.

Research Training Program 2004

Summary

Intern Name Advisor Name(s) Department Project Title
Joaquin Aldabe Carla Dove and Storrs Olson Vertebrate Zoology - Birds Morphological Adaptations for Terrestrial Habits of the Scimitar-biller Woodcreeper (Drymornis bridgesii
Anthony Alvarez Scott Wing Paleobiology GIS Prediction of the Outcrop Area of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum
Neil Aschliman Bruce Collette Vertebrate Zoology - Fishes Relationships of sauries and needlefishes (Teleostei: Scomberesocoidea) to the internally fertilizing halfbeaks (Zenarchopteridae) based on the pharyngeal jaw apparatus 
Arden Ashley Dave Pawson Invertebrate Zoology Intergeneric Hybridization between the sand dollars Encope michelini and Mellita isometra (Echinodermata: Echinoidea: Mellitidae) 
Megan Brown Tim McCoy Mineral Sciences Sulfur depletion on 433 Eros: Analyzing meteoritic analogs to compare possible causes
Jonathan Chen Ted Schultz Entomology The advent of yeast cell cultivation in Cyphomyrmex
Lynn Copes Rick Potts Anthropology The Stratigraphic Precision of Paleoenvironmental Data in Relation to Hominin Localities in the Turkana and Olduvai Basins, East Africa: how much fuzz exists?
Amie Garcia Mike Wise Mineral Sciences A cathodoluminescence study of microcline from the Morefield pegmatite, Virginia
Xavier Haro Harold Robinson Botany Can the species of Critoniopsis from Ecuador be easily identified?
Emily Moran Vicki Funk Botany A Morphological Revision of the Genus Erato DC (Compositae: Liabeae)
James Morgan Neal Woodman Vertebrate Zoology - Mammals Skeletal Morphology of Mammals, Soricid Feet in Relation to Phylogeny
Digna Ortiz William Billeck Anthropology Testing the Ceramic Chronology Sequence of the Steed-Kisker Phase
Christian Miguel Pinto Baez Al Gardner Vertebrate Zoology - Mammals Identity of an atypical bear from Alaska: The first documented wild hybrid bear (Ursus americanus X Ursus arctos)?
Adrienne Sussman Richard Thorington Vertebrate Zoology - Mammals The beautiful squirrel of South East Asia: cranial morphology and variation
Mauricio Torres Mejia Richard Vari Vertebrate Zoology - Fishes A new Creagrutus (Teleostei: Characiformes) from Colombia and its phylogenetic position within the genus
Jorge Velez Matthew Carrano Paleobiology The microvertebrates of Quarry Nine of the Morrison Formation: what environment were they living in?
Lee Zelewicz Sorena Sorenson Mineral Sciences Cathodoluminescence Analysis of Six Bayon Style Sculptures from Angkor Wat, Cambodia 
Andrew Gaudreau Jake Homiak Anthropology Discovering Rastafari: A Case Study of Transnationalism
Kathryn Musica William Billeck Anthropology NMNH or Bust — Museum Sculptures of Native Americans

Research Abstracts

Morphological Adaptations for Terrestrial Habits of the Scimitar-biller Woodcreeper (Drymornis bridgesii)

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/images/aldabe_dove_small.jpgJoaquin Aldabe
Universidad de la República
Montevideo, Uruguay

Carla Dove, Ph.D.
Storrs Olson, Ph.D.
Department of Vertebrate Zoology - Birds

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/virtualposters/images/aldabe_poster_big.jpg

Woodcreepers are arboreal birds that forage almost entirely by gleaning and probing along trunks and branches using their tail feathers as a body support. However, there is one species, the Scimitar-billed Woodcreeper (Drymornis bridgesii) of south central South America that forages mainly on the ground where it feeds by probing loose soil with its long bill. Osteological characters, claw morphology, and tail feathers were examined and compared with other species within the strong-billed woodcreeper clade. The results show that Drymornis has clear anatomical modifications that support the ground foraging habits that characterize this species. The proportion of metatarsal length related to the whole leg was larger in Drymornis than the rest of the genera studied – an adaptation to increase movement capability on the ground. The tip width of the central feathers of the tail in Drymornis is markedly smaller than the strictly arboreal forms; presumably because Drymornis does not need a strongly feathered tail to support its weight. However, no differences in claw curvature were found, a fact that reflects the tree climbing ability that Drymornis still retains. This study also suggests that some of these characters may be used to predict the feeding behavior of fossil birds.

This research was supported by a grant from the Smithsonian Latino Initiatives Fund.




GIS Prediction of the Outcrop Area of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/images/alvarez_wing_small.jpgAnthony Alvarez
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, California

Scott Wing, Ph.D.
Department of Paleobiology

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/virtualposters/images/alvarez_poster_big.jpgThe Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), a period of ~140,000 years during which global temperature rapidly increased (~10,000 yrs), then returned to background conditions, is represented by sediments in the uppermost Fort Union and lowermost Willwood Formations over a wide area of the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming. Using both plant and vertebrate fossils researchers have been working to identify and analyze the impact of these environmental changes on ecological systems. Locating additional outcrops that preserve the PETM is an important goal for field work. A Geographic Information System (GIS) was used to help locate the 30-40 meter-thick set of deposits that were laid down during the PETM. (PETM deposits are a very small part of the >1km thick section of Paleocene and Eocene strata in the Bighorn Basin. Stratigraphic, elevation and spatial information about known PETM deposits were synthesized in the GIS system in order to predict where undiscovered PETM deposits should be exposed within the research area. High resolution (1 pixel=1 meter) aerial photos provided important information because some PETM marker beds can be identified and traced long distances by simple visual inspection. Additional work using the GIS system will include three-dimensional modeling of the PETM strata and calculation of the intersection of this sediment package with the current topography.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program, Award Number DBI-0243512.




Relationships of sauries and needlefishes (Teleostei: Scomberesocoidea) to the internally fertilizing halfbeaks (Zenarchopteridae) based on the pharyngeal jaw apparatus

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/images/aschliman_collette_small.jpgNeil Aschliman
Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas

Bruce Collette, Ph.D.
Department of Vertebrate Zoology - Fishes

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The pharyngeal jaw apparatus in both saury genera was examined to evaluate the 40 life history, myological, and osteological characters from Tibbetts (1992) to determine if the Scomberesocidae are more closely related to the Zenarchopteridae, to the needlefishes, or to the halfbeaks and flying fishes. Data were analyzed using PAUP*, and eight equally parsimonious trees were found (70 steps, CI 0.814, RI 0.938). This analysis indicates that sauries are most closely related to needlefishes, validating the historical superfamily Scomberesocoidea. A caudal displacement of the origin of the retractor dorsalis muscle is a tentative additional synapomorphy for all four saury species. Zenarchopteridae is strongly supported as a valid family sister to the Scomberesocoidea (decay index = 19, bootstrap = 100). Resolution of the internal structure of the Belonidae and the Hemiramphidae requires the identification of additional morphological characters and examination of a greater number of taxa.

This research was supported by a grant from the Alice Eve Kennington Endowment and Battelle.




Intergeneric Hybridization between the sand dollars Encope michelini and Mellita isometra (Echinodermata: Echinoidea: Mellitidae)

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/images/ashley_pawson_small.jpgArden Ashley
Macalester College
St. Paul, Minnesota

Dave Pawson, Ph.D.
Department of Invertebrate Zoology

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In 1974, several unusual sand dollars were collected off of Fort Pierce, FL. They are unlike any known species, and they cannot be referred to any of the existing genera. They exhibit some characteristics of the genus Mellita and some of the genus Encope. It is hypothesized that these unknown sand dollars are hybrids, the result of an interbreeding event between these two genera. If they are not hybrids, they must be regarded as representing a new genus in the Family Mellitidae. Research was aimed at clarifying the status of these unknown sand dollars. Measurements were taken of various morphological characteristics of specimens of the presumed parent taxa, Mellita isometra and Encope michelini, and of the presumed hybrids. In some characteristics (curvature of spines from the oral side of petal IV, number of pores per petal, and relative positions of the mouth and anus, as well as position of the highest point of the test), the hybrids fell directly within the broad limits of variation of the proposed parents. In other cases (relative size of the feeding apparatus or Aristotle's lantern, spine lengths), the presumed hybrids seemed to be quite distinct, falling outside the range of variation of the presumed parent taxa. Further study is required, including additional breeding experiments, DNA analysis and additional morphometric data sampling, including examination of the plate structure and analysis of the internal skeleton.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, Award Number DBI-0243512 and Battelle.




Sulfur depletion on 433 Eros: Analyzing meteoritic analogs to compare possible causes

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/images/brown_mccoy_small.jpgMegan Brown
Arizona State University
Tempe, Arizona

Tim McCoy, Ph.D.
Department of Mineral Sciences

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One of the most surprising findings of the NEAR mission was a marked depletion of S on the surface of asteroid 433 Eros (Nittler et al., 2001). Although micrometeorite bombardment producing S volatilization was the favored mechanism to explain this depletion, partial melting and removal of an Fe,Ni-FeS cotectic partial melt could not be excluded as the cause. We have studied possible meteoritic analogs to 433 Eros to further constrain these two models. Derivation of Mn/Si and Cr/Si ratios (Lim et al., 2003) from NEAR X-ray spectra might provide additional constraints. We have studied the acapulcoites and lodranites Acapulco, EET 84302 and Lodran to document the effect of partial melting on these ratios. Modeling suggests that efficient removal of chromite should reduce Cr/Si dramatically and Mn/Si slightly. Evidence for chromite removal is observed in reduced chromite abundances in Lodran compared to Acapulco. Chromite appears to be removed with the Fe,Ni-FeS melts, with which it is associated in EET 84302. Non-chondritic Mn/Si and, particularly, Cr/Si ratios for 433 Eros would strongly favor partial melting. If impact volatilization is the primary cause of the sulfur depletion, we would expect to see similar effects in ordinary chondrite regolith breccias. The dark portions of these meteorites are rich in solar wind gases and sample ancient regolith. The Dwaleni H6 regolith breccia has a bulk S/Si ratio typical of ordinary chondrites (Jarosewich, 1990) and we found no difference in troilite abundance between the dark, regolith-exposed portions and the light, unexposed clasts. It is possible that ancient regolith breccias do not sample, in bulk, the same material present in the upper hundred microns of modern regolith. We have, however, observed a single taenite-troilite particle which includes numerous orthopyroxene blebs less than 5 microns in diameter. This particle appears to have formed by melting and may be the equivalent of a sulfur-cemented, asteroidal agglutinate. To examine the possible role of volatilization during formation of this particle, ToF-SIMS analyses of chalcophile elements with a range of volatilities are planned.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, Award Number DBI-0243512.




The advent of yeast cell cultivation in Cyphomyrmex

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/images/chen_schultz_small.jpg
Jonathan Chen
Oberlin College
Oberlin, Ohio

Ted Schultz, Ph.D.
Department of Entomology

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The genus Cyphomyrmex belongs to the tribe Attini, a group of New World ants distinguished by their ability to grow fungus. Cyphomyrmex is divided into two groups, the strigatus group and the rimosus group, differing in the states of three morphological characters: the preocular carinae, the mid-pronotal tubercles, and the number of teeth on the mandibles. This division of the genus based on morphology corresponds with a division based on an important behavioral characteristic. Some, but not all, members of the rimosus group grow yeast gardens (consisting of clumps of unicellular yeast cells) rather than the typical mycelial gardens (consisting of connected hyphae) grown by members of the strigatus group and by the rest of the attines. A cladistic analysis of 19 morphological characters and 22 Cyphomyrmex and one outgroup species produced a phylogeny in which the strigatus and rimosus groups are sister clades, and in which the yeast-growing rimosus-group species are monophyletic. The monophyly of this subset of the rimosus group is consistent with the hypothesis that yeast gardening is a derived trait. Although the gardening behaviors of some of the species within this group are currently unknown, its monophyly suggests that those species probably also cultivate yeast gardens. Additional phylogenetic and behavioral data will be required to fully test these conclusions.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, Award Number DBI-0243512.




The Stratigraphic Precision of Paleoenvironmental Data in Relation to Hominin Localities in the Turkana and Olduvai Basins, East Africa: how much fuzz exists?

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/images/copes_potts_small.jpgLynn Copes
Columbia University
New York, New York

Rick Potts, Ph.D.
Department of Anthropology

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This study sought to test the hypothesis that paleoenvironmental evidence (stable isotopes, faunal assemblages and fossilized plant remains) from the Olduvai and Turkana Basins in East Africa comes from the same stratigraphic levels as the hominin and archaeological material from these areas. Another hypothesis tested was that the localities-Koobi Fora, Nachukui and Shungura at Turkana, and Beds I and II at Olduvai-would all show similar patterns of evidence. A set of tests were established to determine the percentage of "hits" at each site -the number of hominins that matched precisely with paleoenvironmental data. The percentage of hominins with environmental matches ranged from 7 to 50%. This left the hypotheses unsupported, as the sites differed greatly in their percentages of hominins with exact matches, and no site was able to boast of more than half of its hominins associated exactly with paleoenvironmental indicators.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, Award Number DBI-0243512.




A cathodoluminescence study of microcline from the Morefield pegmatite, Virginia

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/images/garcia_wise2_small.jpgAmie Garcia
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
Rapid City, South Dakota

Mike Wise, Ph.D.
Department of Mineral Sciences

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The Morefield pegmatite of the Amelia pegmatite district, Virginia is a mineralogically complex, internally zoned, rare-element granitic pegmatite enriched in Be, Nb, Ta, and F. Microcline is a major component of the primary zones and varies in color from tan to green. Tan-colored microcline occurs in the 1st intermediate zone, and green-colored microcline (amazonite) develops in the 2nd and 3rd intermediate zones and the core. Bi-colored microcline crystals with tan and green regions occur locally in the intermediate zones. The green color of amazonite increases in intensity from the 2nd intermediate zone to the core. Cathodoluminescence (CL) was used to study the textural relationships between tan-colored microcline and amazonite from the pegmatite. Amazonite samples show a blue-green color in CL whereas tan-colored microcline displays a blue color. Within bi-colored microcline samples, both CL colors are visible. Microcline immediately adjacent to albite lamellae sometime displays areas of non-luminescence. This feature is very prominent in amazonite samples, and occurs infrequently within tan microcline. Microcline exhibiting the non-luminescent CL contains lower Na2O contents (0.3-0.4 wt. %) compared to the microcline with blue or blue-green luminescence (Na2O = 0.6-0.8 wt. %). Textural evidence obtained from the CL images confirms that amazonite from the Morefield pegmatite developed as a result of a post-magmatic replacement process. Aqueous fluids that were introduced along fractures and cleavage planes of the original primary tan-colored microcline, aided in the transformation to amazonite.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, Award Number DBI-0243512.




Can the species of Critoniopsis from Ecuador be easily identified?

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/images/haro_robinson_small.jpgXavier Haro
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador
Quito, Ecuador

Harold Robinson, Ph.D.
Department of Botany

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Seventeen species of Critoniopsis (Vernonieae, Asteraceae) were previously credited from Ecuador. In order to make a key for the country, the Ecuadorian species were reviewed. Two of the species cited for the country have been withdrawn from the Flora. Critoniopsis bogotana, recorded for one collection, has been re-identified under C. floribunda, a well represented Ecuadorian species. Critoniopsis elbertiana has been withdrawn because the specimens identified under this name exhibit considerable differences from the type collection. Critoniopsis jelskii, a northern Peruvian species, is newly recorded for eastern Ecuador, and four species are currently being proposed as new. Two specimens previously identified as C. elbertiana are being proposed as a new species, as well as two others, one closely related to C. pycnantha, and one to C. sevillana. Additionally, a new sample acquired in the US National Herbarium collection during the period of this project, has been identified as new. A key, including all the newly proposed species, is presented, and the number of Ecuadorian Critoniopsis is expanded to 20 species.

This research was supported by a grant from the Smithsonian Latino Initiatives Fund.




A Morphological Revision of the Genus Erato DC (Compositae: Liabeae)

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/images/moran_funk_small.jpgEmily Moran
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Vicki Funk, Ph.D.
Department of Botany

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/virtualposters/images/moran_poster_big.jpg
Erato DC (Compositae, tribe Liabeae), is a genus of five species distributed from Costa Rica to Bolivia with its main center of diversity in Ecuador. The genus has never before been revised. This morphological study was based on specimens of Erato available in the US National Herbarium. The revision includes descriptions of the genus and of each species, a key to the species, and distribution maps. In addition, a cladistic analysis was performed using 25 morphological and 2 genetic characters, with Munnozia, Chrysactinium, and Philoglossa serving as outgroups. In the course of the study, a new species endemic to Costa Rica was described: Erato sp. nov. E. Moran & V.A. Funk. Morphological and molecular data strongly support Erato as a monophyletic group sister to Philoglossa. The relationships within Erato, however, have only weak bootstrap support. The results of the cladistic analysis and the degree of similarity among taxa suggest that the genus may be a recent radiation.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, Award Number DBI-0243512.




Skeletal Morphology of Mammals, Soricid Feet in Relation to Phylogeny

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/images/morgan_woodman_small.jpgJames Morgan
Fort Valley State University
Fort Valley, Georgia

Neal Woodman, Ph.D.
Department of Vertebrate Zoology - Mammals

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/virtualposters/images/morgan_poster_big.jpg
Morphological variation in the forefeet of shrews (Family Soricidae) of the genus Cryptotis has been used previously to help understand taxonomic and evolutionary relationships. However, few skeletons of shrews are available for study. For this study digital x-rays were used to closely observe the forefeet of 101 dried skins in which the bones of the forefeet were preserved. These specimens included eight taxa from four species-groups that are hypothesized to represent distinct evolutionary lineages within the genus Cryptotis: C. p.parva and C. p.floridana (C. parva-group); C. nigrescens and C. mera (C.nigrescens-group); C. meridensis (C. thomasi-group); C. mexicana, C. goldmani, and C. goodwini (C. mexicana-group). The left forefoot of each specimen was digitally x-rayed, the resulting image edited, and the bones measured using Photoshop computer software. This research primarily focused on the bones of digit III because digit III of all specimens appeared most variable. The variation is useful in distinguishing among species and groups of species. For example, C. meridensis has a long metacarpal relative to all other taxa. The length of the distal phalanx relative to the length of the middle phalanx distinguished three groups of species. In four species (C. p.parva, C. mexicana, C. goldmani, C. goodwini), the distal phalanx is less than 90% the length of the middle phalanx. In C. meridensis, the distal phalanx is greater than 100% but less than 120% and in C. mexicana, C. goldmani, and C. goodwini, the distal phalanx more than 150%.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, Award Number DBI-0243512.




Testing the Ceramic Chronology Sequence of the Steed-Kisker Phase

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/images/ortiz_billeck_small.jpgDigna Ortiz
Universidad Interamerica de Puerto Rico
San German, Puerto Rico

William Billeck, Ph.D.
Department of Anthropology

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/virtualposters/images/ortiz_poster_big.jpg
Using portions of broken vessels from Steed-Kisker phase (ca. AD 1100-1350) archaeological sites from near Kansas City, Missouri, decorative ceramic types were identified and the chronological significance of the decorative sequence evaluated. The results are compared to an existing chronological sequence. This research focused on classifying ceramics from several Steed-Kisker houses to determine the relationships between the houses based on similarities and differences in ceramic decoration. The vessels forms and decoration of the Steed-Kisker phase ceramics were also compared to those from the Middle Mississippian tradition site of Cahokia near St. Louis, Missouri, and to the nearby archaeological sites of the Central Plains Tradition to assess their relationships with the Steed-Kisker phase.

This research was supported by a grant from the Smithsonian Women's Committee.




Identity of an atypical bear from Alaska: The first documented wild hybrid bear (Ursus americanus X Ursus arctos)?

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/images/pinto_gardner_small.jpgChristian Miguel Pinto Baez
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador
Quito, Ecuador

Al Gardner, Ph.D.
Department of Vertebrate Zoology - Mammals

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/virtualposters/images/pinto_poster_big.jpg
Some years ago a remarkable bear was hunted in Alaska. This bear shows characteristics of brown and black bears, a big size but black fur. In order to identify this unusual bear we analyzed the shape of the last upper molar of brown and black bear series and the atypical specimen, using Relative Warp Analysis after Procrustes superimposition. We could distinguish general patterns for both species; however, some specimens have intermediate characteristics. The atypical specimen matched in the group of black bears. When we add centroid size and fur coloration to the regression analysis, both groups were excluded completely and the specimen matched just in the middle between the two species. These evidences strongly suggest that this specimen is a hybrid and not a melanistic brown bear.

This research was supported by a grant from the Smithsonian Latino Initiatives Fund.




The beautiful squirrel of South East Asia: cranial morphology and variation

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/images/sussman_thorington2_small.jpgAdrienne Sussman
Simon's Rock College of Bard
Great Barrington, Massachusetts

Richard Thorington, Ph.D.
Department of Vertebrate Zoology - Mammals

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/virtualposters/images/sussman_poster_big.jpg
Callosciurus prevostii is an arboreal squirrel found on the Sunda shelf in South East Asia. The species is composed of 21 subspecies, which vary widely in peltage and size. (Walker's Mammals of the World, 1997). This variation and the complex paleogeographic history of the Sunda shelf put the current taxonomic classification of C. prevostii into question. This study investigated cranial morphological variation among eight C. prevostii subspecies to determine whether sufficient differences exist to justify taxonomic reclassification. After taking 33 cranial measurements on each skull, several multivariate analyses were performed. It was found that the skulls of the different subspecies are indeed distinguishable, even when controlled for size; a Jackknifed Classification Matrix was able to correctly identify an average of 63% of the subspecies based on their cranial measurements, with the identification rate ranging from 40% to 80% in each subspecies. In particular, squirrels on some of the smaller islands of the South China Sea were found to be quite distinct from other subspecies, and strong differentiation was also found among some of the subspecies on the island of Borneo. The results from this study and the history of the islands' geographic isolation indicate that the squirrels are in the process of allopatric speciation; further genetic testing will be required to assess whether or not a new taxonomic classification is in order. Some preliminary genetic analysis on two of the C. prevostii subspecies has indicated a 4.2% divergence rate in cytochrome b, placing the date for separation of the two species at 0.46 to 2.1 million years ago (Leonard, pers. comm.). This study thus has interesting ramifications in regard to the paleogeography of the Sunda shelf; although the islands were connected by land bridges until as recently as 9,500 years ago (Gorog, Sinaga, and Engstrom, 2004), this squirrel diverged long before that, indicating that some other factor must have affected faunal distribution.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, Award Number DBI-0243512.




A new Creagrutus (Teleostei: Characiformes) from Colombia and its phylogenetic position within the genus

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/images/torres_vari_small.jpgMauricio Torres Mejia
Universidad Industrial de Santander
Bucaramanga, Colombia

Richard Vari, Ph.D.
Department of Vertebrate Zoology - Fishes

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/virtualposters/images/torres_poster_big.jpg
Creagrutus Günther (1864) has currently 66 recognized species, which are distributed through much of South America and Panamá. The members of the genus are most abundant and diverse in swift currents and piedmont rivers. Even though Creagrutus has been recently revised, increasing dramatically the number of its recognized species, it is striking that the intrageneric diversity continues to rise as consequence of continued collecting in many poorly explored regions of South America. The species described here was captured in a low order river within the Río Magdalena basin, and includes morphometric and meristic data, including vertebral accounts. Some specimens were dissected to observe myological and osteological characters, with the latter examined in specimens cleared and double-stained for bone and cartilage. The new species is distinguished from its congeners by a combination of morphometric, meristic, and morphological features. Data gathered was used for a phylogenetic analysis based on data sets previously published. The phylogenetic position of the new species within the genus and various aspects of its ecology and behavior are discussed.

This research was supported by a grant from the Smithsonian Latino Initiatives Fund.




The microvertebrates of Quarry Nine of the Morrison Formation: what environment were they living in?

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/images/velez_carrano_small.jpgJorge Velez
University of Puerto Rico
Mayaguez, Puerto Rico

Matthew Carrano, Ph.D.
Department of Paleobiology

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Although the formation holds one of the richest dinosaur-bearing deposits in the world, the paleoecology of the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation (Wyoming) is poorly understood. For this study fossils collected from a quarry of the Morrison formation, called Quarry Nine, were studied. This research focused on a detailed investigation of specimens collected at the site so as to better understand this ancient ecosystem and highlight the importance of microvertebrate fossils in reconstructing the paleoecology of a formation. To understand the paleoecology of a site, it is important to develop a detailed study of the fossils found in the formation. The fossils collected from this quarry yielded the single most important collection of small vertebrates from the Late Jurassic, offering unique insight into the Late Jurassic environment. Fossil flora and fauna of Quarry Nine include mammals, chelonians, fishes, theropods, ornithopods, sauropods, anurans, urodelans, squamates, rhynchocephalians and crocodilians as well as freshwater snails and plants. New additions to the list of fossils vertebrates of Quarry Nine include one chelonian, two fishes, one squamate, one anuran, one pterosaur and one sauropod, two ornithopods and five theropods. The theropods were identified by measuring the fore-aft base length of the teeth and the amount of serrations per millimeter. The occurrence of fossilized remains of frogs and salamanders provide evidence that freshwater lacustrine conditions were prevalent at the site. This is also supported by the abundance of turtle and crocodile remains and by the occurrence of freshwater plant fossils. The results of this research indicates that Quarry Nine was a lacustrine environment formed during seasonal wet and dry extremes, similar to the modern environment in the Gran Chaco plain of central South America.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, Award Number DBI-0243512.




Cathodoluminescence Analysis of Six Bayon Style Sculptures from Angkor Wat, Cambodia

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/images/zelewicz_sorenson_small.jpgLee Zelewicz
Lycoming College
Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Sorena Sorenson, Ph.D.
Supervising Scientist
Department of Mineral Sciences

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/virtualposters/images/zelewicz_poster_big.jpg
Six samples from Khmer sandstone sculptures dating to the 12th-13th centuries from the collections of the National Museum of Cambodia were studied by cathodoluminescence (CL). Macro- and some microscopic study suggested that these six sculptures from Angkor Wat appear to be carved from the same sandstone. Thin-sections, small samples roughly 1 cm by ½ cm and cut paper thin, were obtained from each sculpture. These thin-sections were observed with CL a technique that images the distribution of trace elements within mineral grains. To use CL, the sample is placed under a vacuum, and an electron beam is directed on the sample. Minerals luminesce in different colors, which make it possible to differentiate among mineral types. CL images were taken of each sample and compiled into a composite showing the whole sample as imaged with CL. These CL mosaics were modified in Photoshop to create color-maps, showing each mineral subtype in a different color, so they can be identified and categorized to obtain a pixel percentage of each mineral subtype within a sample. The six samples are similar in composition, and thus most likely have a common geological provenance. Quartz and feldspars, which are the predominant mineral components of these sandstones, showed similar luminescence features and class proportions. Other grains in the sandstones were derived from altered rock sources are in present in similar proportions. The results of this study corroborate other types of petrographic analysis of these samples, and further supporting the hypothesis that the sandstone of these sculptures came from the same geological unit, and perhaps even the same quarry.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, Award Number DBI-0243512.




Discovering Rastafari: A Case Study of Transnationalism

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/images/gaudreau_homiak_small.jpgAndrew Gaudreau
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Indiana

Jake Homiak, Ph.D.
Department of Anthropology

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Rastafari is a social, political, and religious movement which originated in Jamaica in the early 20th century. It is a response to the legacy of slavery and cultural marginalization and the oppression of Blacks under European colonialism. Rastafari is inherently a resistance movement which espouses social equality and justice, as well as an emphasis on repatriation to Ethiopia/Africa. During the last three decades, the Rastafari movement has gained considerable momentum and membership across the African Diaspora and on the African continent. It has become "transnational," transcending barriers such as race, language, nationality, ethnicity, and gender. This globalization has been facilitated by certain key factors: the philosophy of Pan-Africanism, the popularization of reggae music (particularly through the impact of Bob Marley), increased travel by Rastafari elders, the accelerated networking of Rastafari communities throughout the world, and a political climate in the African Diaspora that has supported reparations and repatriation. This project has examined a number of processes of Rastafari globalization in preparation for a forthcoming exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History entitled "Discovering Rastafari." Work has included the transcription of videotape material from fieldwork, as well as the digitization of postcard, photograph, and slide collections which document Rastafari as a transnational movement. By working with these and other materials, it has been concluded that Rastafari has essentially been transnational since its inception (born out of specific global occurrences and ideologies) and that basic symbolic ambiguities in core Rastafari themes serve to facilitate the ongoing globalization of the movement. These ambiguities (such as whether Rastafari is an exclusively Black heritage or a universal faith for all) invite communicants to resolve basic existential and historical problems. Note that Rastafari has no formal positions of authority or doctrinal precepts. Rather, the structure of the movement encourages individuals to achieve personal meaning and value within a broad ideological framework. Although differences may occur between various Rastafari sects and localities, the common experience of African displacement has nonetheless united individuals who seek spiritual and/or physical repatriation within a single, strengthening movement.

This research was supported by a grant from the University of Notre Dame NMNH Internship Program in Anthropology.




NMNH or Bust — Museum Sculptures of Native Americans

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2004/images/musica_billeck_small.jpgKathryn Musica
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Indiana

William Billeck, Ph.D.
Department of Anthropology

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The Anthropology Department at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History houses approximately 200 busts of individuals. The busts are plaster casts that display the facial features, hair, and shoulders of individuals and were primarily made from the 1870's to the 1930's. Face molds, head measurements, and photographs taken of several hundred living individuals from throughout the world were used by sculptors to create the busts. Research was conducted to ascertain all possible background information on the Native American busts, and more specifically on the Cheyenne, Blackfoot, Crow, and Osage Tribes. The original accession data, catalogue cards, ledgers, personal correspondence, and Smithsonian publications such as the Annual Report and the Proceedings of the US National Museum were searched for information on the field collection or museum manufacturing of the face positives and busts. Several of the Cheyenne subjects produced ledger artwork while imprisoned at Fort Marion in the late 1870s, and a publication on their artwork provides information on the bust subjects. The busts and face positives were examined for markings or details, such as name and tribe, to verify the museum records. Photos taken of the individuals at the time the facemasks were made were used to link the busts, molds, casts, names, and pictures together for a complete integrated record of as many individuals as possible. Digital photographs were taken to share the images of the bust with the descendants of the subjects and tribal representatives and for use on a future website.

This research was supported by a grant from the University of Notre Dame NMNH Internship Program in Anthropology.

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