News Column

New Field Museum exhibit brings ancient Madagascar to life

August 29, 2014

By Steve Johnson, Chicago Tribune



Aug. 29--More than just the setting for a fanciful cartoon movie, Madagascar, of course, is a real island boasting some of the most fascinating biological history on Earsth.

A new Field Museum exhibition, opening Saturday, tries to tell some of that story -- including giant birds and behemoth lemurs -- through an innovative look at the field work of museum scientist Steve Goodman and a colleague.

Rather than just showing the bones and new species Goodman and Stony Brook University professor Bill Jungers have uncovered in their years of work on the island, the exhibition details their colllaboration with artist Velizar Simeonovski to put flesh on what they've found.

"Extinct Madagascar: Picturing the Island's Past" showcases the collaboration between the scientists and the artist and the assist they got from online communities to whom they showed the drawings. Admisttion to the show is included in basic entry fees.

For a bit of context -- and a reminder that science isn't all lab coats and test tubes -- here's how a 2007 Tribune article about Goodman's work began:

"Steve Goodman, Madagascar's most intrepid field biologist, has nearly a dozen species of insects, animals and plants named after him. In some cases that's because his colleagues admire him. In others, it's because they plucked the creatures off him."

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(c)2014 the Chicago Tribune

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Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)


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