News Release Date: September 28, 2012
Contact: Jennifer Reynolds, Media Specialist • (909) 307-2669 ext. 278 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Scott, Curator of Paleontology • (909) 307-2669 ext. 241 • email@example.com
For release: Immediately
Event date: Sunday, October 7, 2012
Curator to discuss horses, bison
Eric Scott, the curator of paleontology at the San Bernardino County Museum, will present an in-depth discussion about horses, bison, their evolution, and what happens at the juncture of fossils and molecules in a talk entitled “Immigrants, Natives, and Icons” on Sunday, October 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm. The presentation is included with paid museum admission.
Horses and bison are well-known and well-loved emblems of the American west. Yet for all their popularity, there’s still much to be learned about them. This is true for paleontologists as well as other scientists, for both horses and bison have a rich fossil record in America. Throughout the western United States, the ground beneath the feet of the living animals often contains the fossilized bones and teeth of their ancient ancestors. Despite this paleontological wealth, questions remain. How many species lived in North America during the Ice Ages? What might the fossils be able to tell us about the living animals? Can new studies of ancient DNA shed more light on the life and death of these majestic creatures?
Recent studies of DNA preserved in Ice Age fossils of both horses and bison have challenged traditional, anatomy-based views about how these animals lived and evolved. “Fossil DNA is sexy,” said Scott, “and often the information gleaned from molecular studies can end up at odds with interpretations based on fossils. But in many cases, the fossils still have a lot to say—both about the evolution of these animals, and about the living creatures themselves.”
Scott’s talk will briefly review the evolutionary history of horses and bison, comparing what is known from fossils with what has been learned from molecular studies. He will also showcase the paleontological record of horses and bison from our own southwest region, with a particular focus on newly-discovered fossils from County Museum studies north of Las Vegas, Nevada. “These two classic American animals have thrilled our imaginations and warmed our hearts for generations,” said Scott. “It’s nice as a paleontologist to get in on all the fun!”
The San Bernardino County Museum is at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 am to 5pm. General admission is $8 (adult), $6 (military or senior), $5 (student), and $4 (child aged 5 to 12). Children under five and Museum Association members are admitted free. Parking is free. For more information, visit www.sb countymuseum.org. The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities. If assistive listening devices or other auxiliary aids are needed in order to participate in museum exhibits or programs, requests should be made through Museum Visitor Services at least three business days prior to your visit. Visitor Services’ telephone number is 909-307-2669 ext. 229 or (TDD) 909-792-1462.