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© The American Museum of Natural History 1972 

All rights reserved. 

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 72-89598 

ISBN 0-913424-01-3 

The American Museum of Natural History 

Central Park West and 79th Street 

New York, N.Y. 10024 

WELCOME. You are visiting an institution that is perhaps more 
influential than any other in exploring and illuminating man's pre- 
carious relationship with the natural world. It is The American 
Museum of Natural History, referred to by most people simply 
as the museum of natural history. 

We are well over a century old, and with each passing year 
we get more famous and more beautiful. Maturity and growth 
have brought the development of imaginative programs, excursions 
into lively new areas of teaching and exhibition, and involvement 
in the most profound areas of science. 

Today our research influences the world's biological thinking. 
Our training prepares scores of young scientists for their life's 
work. Our classes help urban students and teachers understand 
the interrelationships of nature. Our anthropology programs ensure 
a better understanding of the differences among human cultures. 
Our exhibits bring the past to life, and involve viewers in the 
complexity of today's environments. 

Your visits to the Museum and The American Museum- 
Hayden Planetarium enable us to bring our programs forward. You 
provide funds, which are crucial. You also offer a yardstick of 
our success in your reactions to our exhibits, in your desire to 
visit again and read our publications, and in your influence on 
your families and acquaintances. We think you will agree that 
the quality of our lives is enhanced beyond measure by an apprecia- 
tion for the wonders of the natural world. 

Gardner D. Stout, President Thomas D. Nicholson, Director 


(Pictures are in Parentheses) 




(10 Museum entrance) 
10 Transportation 

10 Telephone Information 


(11 Members' Lounge) 


(12 White-tailed deer) 



(13 Artifacts) 

(14 Dodo bird, 15 Dried head) 




(19 Museum today, 19 Museum in 1877) 

(20 President Grant, 21 Children in 1900s) 


23 Scientific Work 

24 Field Stations 

(22 Public information, 23 Field trip, 23 Public education, 24 Field 


(25 Teaching intern, 26 Natural Science Center, 27 Adult education, 

28 Field study tour) 

(29 Decorating man ni kin, 30 Elephant hide, 31 Blue whale section. 

31 Tree section, 33 Clay model of bear, 34 Dinosaur bones) 

(35 Earth, 36 Zeiss projector, 38 Andromeda galaxy, 38 "As- 

tronomia," 39 Guggenheim Theater, 41 Willamette meteorite) 
43 MINERALOGY (Minerals and Gems) 
48 Morgan Memorial Hall of Minerals and Gems 

(43 Amethyst carving, 44 Kunzite, 45 Stibnite. 46 Rhodochrosite, 

47 Sapphires) 

49 INVERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY (Invertebrate Fossils) 
52 John Lindslev Hall of Earth Histor) 

(49 Trilobites, 50 Earth globe, 51 Ammonite, 53 Seismograph, 

53 Devonian diorama, 54 Pennsylvanian diorama) 

55 VERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY (Vertebrate Fossils) 

56 Fossil Fish Aleove 
59 Early Dinosaur Hall 
62 Late Dinosaur Hall 

64 Hall of Early Mammals 

67 Hall of Late Mammals 

(55 Archaeopteryx, 57 Age chart, 58 Evolution of fishes, 59 Allosaurus, 
Brontosaurus, and Stegosaurus, 60 Eryops,61 Evolution of reptiles, 
62 Protoceratops hatching, 63 Tyrannosaurus, 65 Ectoconus, 
66 Andrewsarchus, 68 Pliocene, 68 Mammoths, 69 Ground sloths, 
69 Stenomylus) 


73 Hall of the Biology of Invertebrates 

78 Shells 

(71 Glass foraminifer, 72 Paper nautilus, 73 Lobster and crab, 
75 Generalized cell, 75 Paramecia conjugating, 76 Drop of pond 
water, 77 Octopus) 

79 ENTOMOLOGY (Insects and Spiders) 

(79 Housefly, 80 Tarantula, 81 Praying mantis, 82 Monarch butterfly) 
83 ICHTHYOLOGY (Fishes) 
85 Hall of the Biology of Fishes 

(83 Tropical fishes, 84 Filefish skeleton, 85 Coelacanth, 87 Parrotfish 
and queen triggerfish, 88 Anglerfish and flounder, 89 Mako shark, 
90 Nassau grouper) 
91 HERPETOLOGY (Amphibians and Reptiles) 

(91 Snake, 92 Lizard, 93 Crocodile, 94 Tree frog, 95 Salamander, 
95 Box turtle) 
99 Sanford Hall of Bird Biology 
100 Whitney Memorial Hall of Oceanic Birds 
100 Birds of New York City 
100 Roosevelt Sanctuary Group 
100 Hall of Birds of the World 
103 Chapman Hall of North American Birds 

(97 Egret, 98 Goose hatching, 99 Cuckoo and warbler, 101 Bird 
of paradise, 101 Seabirds, 102 Cormorant, 102 Hawk, 103 Heron, 
104 Ostrich) 
105 MAMMALOGY (Mammals) 

107 Hall of North American Mammals 

108 Corridor of Small North American Mammals 

109 Vernay-Faunthorpe Hall of South Asiatic Mammals 
109 Akeley Hall of African Mammals 

112 Akeley African Hall Gallery 

1 15 Hall of the Biology of Primates 

(105 Grizzly bears. 106 Musk oxen. 107 Mink, 108 Asian leopard. 

109 Gemsbok, 110 Lions, 111 Gorilla. 112 Elephants. 113 Giraffes 

and oryxes, 1 14 115 Langur, I U) Blue whale) 

(1 17 Arm\ ants, US Starling feeding, 119 Fish reproduction, 

120 Mouse behavior) 

123 Biolog) of Man 

127 Man in Africa 
1 32 Peoples of the Pacific 
137 Eskimo 

140 Northwest Coast Indians 
143 Indians of the Plains 

147 Eastern Woodlands Indians 
150 Mexico and Central America 

152 Men of the Montana 

(121 Maya sculpture, 122 Birth of a baby, 123 Evolution of man, 
124 Transparent woman, 126 Kidney cross section, 127 Bronze sculp- 
ture, 128 Nomads, 129 Pygmies, 130 Leopard man. 131 Senufo mask, 
132 Pacific masks, 133 Totem ceremony, 135 Feather cape. 
135 Wooden bowl. 136 Shadow puppet, 137 Snowhouse, 138 Eskimo 
sculpture, 140 Haida war canoe, 141 Totem poles, 142 Basket 
weaving and hide preparing, 144 Crow costume, 145 Blackfoot 
tipi, 146 Buffalo hunt, 148 Harvesting corn, 149 Birchbark canoe, 
150 Stone of the sun, 151 Gold objects, 151 Jade necklace) 


159 Felix M. Warburg Memorial Hall 
159 Hall of North American Forests 

159 Hall of Ocean Life 

160 Endangered Species 

(153 Deer in forest, 154 Polar bear, 155 Wolves, 157 Walrus. 
158 Mole underground) 

Exhibition Directory 


Biology o\ Birds (Sanford 


Birds of the New York 

Cit) Area 

Birds of the World 

North American Birds 

(Chapman Memorial) 

Oceanic Birds (Whitney 

Floor Section 

l l > 


Early Dinosaurs 4 

Late Dinosaurs 4 


North American 

Forests , 1 

Man and Nature (Warburg 
Memorial) 1 


Ocean Life 1 

Biology of Fishes 1 

Fossil Fishes 4 


(North American) 


John Lindsley Hall of 

Earth History 4 

Minerals and Gems (Morgan 
Memorial) 4 


Biology of Invertebrates 1 

Primates 3 


Biology of Man 




African Mammals (Akeley 

Memorial) 2, 3 13 

Asiatic Mammals 2 9 

Early Mammals 4 5 

Late Mammals (Osborn 

Memorial) 4 3 

North American Mammals 1 13 

Ocean Life 1 10 

Floor Section 

Indians of the Eastern 

Woodlands 3 4 

Indians of the Northwest 

Coast 1 I 

Indians of the Plains 3 4 

Man in Africa 2 1 

Men of the Montana 2 3 

Mexico and Central America 2 4 


Peoples of the Pacific 4 


John Burroughs 1 

Theodore Roosevelt 1 

Lincoln Ellsworth 1 


(Morgan Memorial) 4 4 


CENTER 2 11 





Museum Shop 

Junior Shops 

.... 1A 

.. 5, 7 

1 2 

1 2 

Basement 12 

Auditorium 1 7 

Education Department 3 11 

Education Hall 1 11 

First Aid Basement 12 

Guest Services 2 2 

Guiding Services, 

Reservations 3 13 

Information Desks 1 ..2, 12 

2 12 

Lecture Room 5 12 

Library 4 1 

Lost and Found 1 12 

Members' Room 2 12 

Photography and Slides 4 11 

Cafeteria Basement 13 

Rest Rooms Basement 12 

1 ... 1, 2 

2 3 

4 1 

School Lunchrooms 

(Reservations required) .... Basement 9 

Subway (IND Line) Basement 12 

Telephones 1 .. 2, 12 

Museum Floor Plans 
















n r 














| • J 

I ■ 





FOSSIL " 13 




4 112 

MINERALS AND 6EMS John Lindslay Hill ot 
I Morgm Memorial I I EARTH HISTORY I 

Osborn Memorial 







Night view of the 
Central Park Wcsl 
entrance to The 
American Museum 
of Natural History. 


The American Museum of Natural History is located on the upper west side 
of Manhattan in Theodore Roosevelt Park, bounded by Central Park West, 
81st Street. Columbus Avenue, and 77th Street. The main entrances are on 
Central Park West and 77th Street. There is another entrance from the parking 
lot at 81st Street, near The American Museum-Hayden Planetarium. 

The Museum is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. School 
groups must make reservations for visits. 


To reach the Museum by bus: the 79th Street Crosstown (No. 17) to Central 
Park West. Or the Eighth Avenue (No. 10) or the Columbus Avenue (No. 
7 or No. 11) to 77th Street. 

To reach the Museum by subway: the Independent (IND) Eighth Avenue 
Local (AA or CC) to the 81st Street Station. Or the IRT Seventh Avenue 
Local (No. 1) to the 59th Street Station and change for the IND Local (AA 
or CC) uptown to the 81st Street Station. Or the IRT Lexington Avenue Local 
(No. 6) to the 77th Street Station and then the 79th Street Crosstown bus (No. 
17) to Central Park West. 

To reach the Museum by car: refer to local highway and street maps. 
The Museum has a small parking lot on the 81st Street side, for which there 
is a charge, and there is limited parking on the streets around the Museum. 

Telephone Information 

Museum Information: 
Planetarium Information: 
Museum and Planetarium Offices: 

212 873-4225 

212 873-8828 
212 873-1300 



Membership In The American Museum of Natural History is open to everyone 
for a modest sum. Members pf the Museum enjoy many facilities not offered 
to other visitors: a subscription to Natural HISTORY Magazine, a Members' 
Lounge, access to lecture series, and a whole range of practical benefits. There 
are also intangible benefits — the satisfaction of supporting important research 
in all the natural sciences, the knowledge that the educational advantages of 
the Museum are open to more and more people, a feeling of community with 
the environment as the Museum explores and explains man's relationship with 
his world. The Museum needs the support of its visitors if it is to continue 
its work, and membership is one way of giving this support. 

For information on becoming a member, see the Membership Secretary 
(Second Floor, Section 12), the Museum Shop (First Floor, Section 2), or the 
Information Desks. 


Ask an attendant for cloakroom facilities. 

A cafeteria serving light snacks is located in the basement near the subway 
entrance. The Museum does not have facilities for picnic lunches, but School 
Lunchrooms are available for school groups with advance reservations. 

Sketching and photography are permitted in the Museum if they do not 
interfere with the enjoyment and study of other visitors. Amateurs are prohibited 
from selling their photographs or allowing them to be used for commercial 
purposes. Professional photographers and filmmakers must make arrangements 
with the Office of Public Affairs. 

Members of the Museum in their private lounge (Second Floor, Section 1 2). 


I he Division of Photograph) has a collection of more than 500,000 black and 
white negatives and thousands of color transparencies on all aspects of natural 
history, including Museum exhibits and dioramas. This collection and other 
photographic sen ices are available to the public fol a nominal tee. For information 
call, write, 01 \isit the Divisionlof Photograph) (Fourth Floor, Section 11). 


The Museum Library (Fourth Floor, Section 1) contains more than 275,000 
books and periodicals on natural history and is considered one of the finest 
in the world. It has volumes covering every subject from anthropology to zoology, 
as well as maps and books on travel and exploration. The Library has an excep- 
tional collection of rare books on natural history; many of them are first-edition 
monographs and folios of great value. The Library is open to the public for 
research: for days and hours see the librarian. 

The Osborn Library of Vertebrate Paleontology, which is separate from 
the main library, is not open to the public, but certain volumes can be obtained 
on request through the Museum Library. 


The Museum Shop 

The Museum Shop is located off the 77th Street Foyer (First Floor, Section 
2). There is a wide selection of merchandise, and proceeds from sales are 

Habitat group of white-tailed deer in the Roosevelt Memorial (First Floor, 
Section 12), photographed by the Division of Photography. 

Examples of the 
artifacts and repro- 
ductions available 
in the Museum 

Shop (First Floor, 

Section 2). 

Left, a Hopi Ka- 
china doll; center, a 
Peruvian llama; 
right, a fertility doll 
from Ghana. 

used to further the research and educational activities of the Museum. There 
are handsome reproductions of some of the fine art objects in the Museum's 
collections, authentic American Indian jewelry and pottery, and many unusual 
and sometimes rare examples of handmade pieces from distant places reflecting 
many different cultures. A large selection of books in the natural sciences is 
available for both adults and children. 

The Junior Shops 

The Junior Shops are located in the 77th Street Foyer (First Floor, Section 
2) and on the lower level of the Roosevelt Building (Basement, Section 12). 
The areas feature small dinosaur models, compasses, microscopes, ethnic dolls, 
and a large selection of postcards showing many of the spectacular dioramas 
and habitat groups in the Museum. There are many mineral specimens and 
rock collections, as well as books with which to study them. 

The Planetarium Shop 

The Planetarium Shop is located near the main entrance to the Planetarium 
on 81st Street (First Floor, Section 18). It sells sky charts, moon maps, star 
identification guides, astronomy art, and telescopes. There is a wide selection 
of books on astronomy and space for both adults and children. For younger 
visitors, educational space-related knicknacks and toys are available, as well 
as such novelties as small meteorites and tektite specimens. 



94-foot Blue Whale It dives head-first from the ceiling of the Hall of Ocean 
Life and Biolog) of Fishes. It's the largest of all animals, and a beautiful 
member of the kingdom (First Floor, Section 10). 
Birth of a Baby How human children are born, and how they are put together. 

Man is a mammal, too, and he has a hall devoted exclusively to his origins 
and biology. Hall o\~ the Biology o( Man (First Floor. Section 4). 

Dodo bird, now extinct, is shown in the Hall of the 
Biology of Birds (First Floor, Section 19). 

Dried head from New 
Zealand in the Hall of 
the Peoples of the Pa- 
cific (Fourth Floor, 
Section 8). 

Gold of the Americas What the Europeans came for. Today gold means 
wealth, but to the Central and South American Indians who fashioned these 
lovely objects, the significance was religious and ornamental. Hall of Mexico 
and Central America (Second Floor, Section 4). 

African Ceremonial Dress Religions, secret societies, tribal cults — their ritu- 
als in Africa inspired some of the most fascinating apparel ever made. Hall 
of Man in Africa (Second Floor, Section 1). 

African Elephants A thrilling sight in the wild, and no less so in The American 
Museum of Natural History. A herd of eight on the run, with a protective 
young male defending the rear. Akeley Memorial Hall of African Mammals 
(Second Floor, Section 13). 

Tyrannosaurus Rex One of the great dinosaurs now gone but not forgotten. 
Millions of children and former children visit the Museum just to see the dinosaurs. 
Halls of Dinosaurs (Fourth Floor, Sections 9 and 13). 

Star of India It is one of the world's finest sapphires (563 carats) and, like 
many great gems, it has a fascinating history. Morgan Memorial Hall of Minerals 
and Gems (Fourth Floor, Section 4). 

Maori Tattooed Heads Severed, decorated, and dried, the heads were prepared 
by friends of the deceased. Hall of the Peoples of the Pacific (Fourth Floor, 
Section 8). 



Along with its man) Other activities, The American Museum of Natural Histors 
is a publisher. Its technical publications, well known to biologists, geologists, 
and anthropologists around the world, contain research reports appearing in 
print for the first time. Its popular publications cover all aspects of natural 
history and are seen b> a wide audience that includes both scientists and laymen. 
I he Museum's publications include: 

Anthropological Papers A journal devoted to discoveries and explorations. 
covering such topics as ethnology, physical anthropology, and related 
anthropological subjects. 

Bulletin A series of technical publications recording the research of scientists 
in the field and in the laboratory, as well as the results of expeditions. The 
publications report on ten disciplines, including entomology, geology and paleon- 
tology, herpetology, ichthyology, mammalogy, ornithology, marine biology, 
malacology, and animal behavior. 

Sovitates A small, well-illustrated serial publication reporting the results of 
preliminary experiments, first accounts of expeditions, and detailed descriptions 
of new forms in systematics in all of the subjects of the Bulletin. 
Dean Bibliography of Fishes A yearly, computerized analysis of significant 
literature put out by the Museum's Department of Ichthyology as a service 
to the world's ichthyologists. 

Herpetological Review An international newsletter produced by the Museum's 
Department of Herpetology for the Herpetologists League and the Society for 
the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. It includes Cwrrm Herpetological Titles. 
a computerized list of the current literature. 

Micropaleontology A quarterly journal published by the Micropaleontology 
Press of the Museum's Department of Invertebrate Paleontology. The press, 
a prime source of geological information in fuel production, also publishes 
catalogs of one-celled animals and certain crustaceans, a monthly bibliography, 
and an index of micropaleontology literature. 

Curator A quarterly journal for the museum profession that serves as a 
forum for all aspects of modern museology. from the preparation of fossil speci- 
mens to the role of a museum in present society. 

Calendar of Events A bimonthly brochure describing current exhibits, 
activities, films, lectures, and educational offerings for adults and children. 
Annual Report A color magazine discussing each year's activities at the Museum 
— including openings of new exhibits, special events, and outstanding research. 
Books The Museum is actively involved in publishing books of many kinds, 
from catalogs of exhibits to collections of articles from Natural History 
Magazine to books concerning the natural sciences. 



For more than 70 years The American Museum has published Natural HIS- 
TORY, a popular magazine concerned with the life sciences, anthropology, 
and astronomy. It has a nationwide circulation of more than 300,000. 

The magazine is edited in offices at the Museum, but experts throughout 
the world discuss their investigations and conclusions in its pages. Members 
of the Museum's scientific staff often contribute articles to Natural History, 
and they review many of the magazine's manuscripts for accuracy. The articles 
are accompanied by illustrations, with many full-color photographs usually taken 
in the field. 

Each issue contains articles about wildlife, such as the predators of the 
Serengeti, the mysterious mountain lions of North America, or the invasion of 
the Western Hemisphere by the cattle egret; modern anthropological articles, 
such as devil worship by Bolivian tin miners or recent archeological discoveries 
in mainland China; astronomy or geology articles on such topics as the expanding 
universe or earthquakes; and a series of thought-provoking columns, essays, 
and book reviews covering a wide range of human and ecological subjects. 

While several thousand copies of Natural History are sold in shops 
at The American Museum of Natural History and other museums throughout 
the country, most readers obtain the magazine by becoming members of the 
Museum. In addition to a subscription to the magazine, members receive other 
benefits within the Museum. At the same time they contribute to the support 
of one of the world's leading scientific organizations. 

To subscribe, write to: Natural History, P.O. Box 2925, Boulder, Colorado 
80302, or inquire at the Museum Shop or the Information Desks. For information 
on higher classes of membership in The American Museum, see the Membership 
Secretary (Second Floor, Section 12). 



At first glance. The American Museum of Natural History is a collection of 
large, pink and white buildings topped by towers reminiscent of those found 
on fairy-tale castles. One of New York City's largest cultural structures, the 
Museum was declared a landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Commission 
in 1966. 

Closer study reveals the many different architectural styles used in building 
the Museum. On approaching the 77th Street entrance, visitors find a handsome 
building with a Romanesque Revival facade facing south and extending from 
Columbus Avenue to Central Park West. 

The main motif of the five-story facade, which is made of Vermont pink 
granite, is two central stairways rising from the street to a seven-bay, arcaded 
porch at the second-floor level of the Museum. The stairways are located on 
either side of a giant, segmental arch, formerly the carriage entrance and now 
part of the 77th Street entrance. The porch terminates at both ends with two 
of the Museum's well-known towers, which rise well above the rest of the 

If the visitor stands in front of the entrance and looks up at the building 
he cannot detect the original South Central Wing. Built in the Victorian-Gothic 
style and completed in 1877, it is concealed by the 77th Street facade. Neither 
can he see the newest addition to the Museum, the Childs Frick Wing, which 
was completed in 1971. This modern structure was built in an interior courtyard 
behind and to the side of the central portion of the facade. Ten stories tall, 
it is designed to hold the world's largest collection of fossil mammals and 
is available for research only. 

The main entrance to the Museum on Central Park West is formed by 
the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial, which has a Roman triumphal arch motif. 
The building is approached by a broad flight of stairs leading to the arch. 
Deeply recessed within the arch is the doorway, with its enframed bronze doors 
and ornate frieze. On either side of the arch are two free-standing Ionic columns. 
The gray limestone building was erected in memory of the twenty-fifth president 
of the United States by the people of New York State. It was dedicated in 
1936 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

The American Museum-Hayden Planetarium, a highly recognizable land- 
mark in its own right, was completed in 1935. The Whitney Wing, which 
houses the bird collections and laboratories, was opened in 1933. 


The American Museum of Natural History was founded by Albert Smith Bickmore 
in 1869 for the purpose of advancing the study and teaching of the natural 
sciences. The Museum opened in 1871 in the old Arsenal Building in Central 


Aerial view of the 
Museum in the 
1970s. Central Park 
is at lower right; 
Columbus Avenue at 
upper left. 

First unit of the Museum in 1 877 . The Columbus Avenue elevated railroad is at 
left; Central Park is just visible at right. 





Park, which was its home until 1X77. In the intervening years the plans for 
the present site were developed. The eighteen acres of Manhattan Square were 
designated by New York City as the future home of the Museum. Calvert 
Vaux. one of the designers of Central Park, planned the Museum as a splendid 
castle m what was then a wilderness. Farms and swamps abounded; there were 
a tew inhabited shanties. Harlem was a tin) settlement to the north, and 
Stagecoaches were the only means of transportation to the Museum area. 

The cornerstone for the first unit of the new Museum was laid by President 
Grant in 1874. (For years no one knew where the cornerstone had been laid — it 
was finally found in 1968.) The Museum was formally opened in December 
1877, when President Hayes and a group of distinguished citizens came to 
lavish opening ceremonies. The Museum grew — the second unit was finished 
in 1892, the entire 77th Street structure was completed by 1900, and sections 
were added throughout the 1900s. 

As the number of halls increased, so did the collections. The first major 
acquisition was a great collection of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians 
purchased from Prince Maximilian of Weid in 1869. The renowned fossil collec- 
tion of Professor James Hall was obtained in 1873. P. T. Barnum contributed 
an iguana and "one Human Hand." Other collections were bought or donated. 

The Museum began to look beyond Manhattan Square in its quest for 

President Grant laying the cornerstone of the Museum on June 2, 1 874 (from 
Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper). 

research materials and specimens. In 1887 the first of over a thousand exploring 
parties left the Museum — an expedition to the badlands of Montana in search 
of bison. Other expeditions brought back a wealth of material — both specimens 
tor study and exhibit and information for research. The Museum's largest expedi- 
tion, led by Roy Chapman Andrews in 1923, traversed 2200 miles of hitherto 
unexplored wastes in the Gobi Desert and returned with the Museum's celebrated 
fossil dinosaur eggs. 

Asia, the Arctic, the South Pacific, Africa — all have been visited by scientists 
in their search for knowledge. Some of the Museum scientists gained public 
renown, such as Henry Fairfield Osborn, the paleontologist, Frank Chapman, 
the ornithologist, and Margaret Mead, the anthropologist. 

The Museum had been founded at precisely the right time in history. The 
teachings of Darwin had opened man's mind to the order of nature, and technology 
had made worldwide exploration feasible. The primitive peoples were still largely 
unaffected by western influences, the fossil beds had not yet been destroyed 
to make way for mines and superhighways, and the territories of animals had 
not been encroached on by man's "civilization." People from the Museum 
joined in the exploration of the world, and the result was the rich collection 
of artifacts and specimens now maintained, studied, and — in some 
cases — exhibited at The American Museum of Natural History. 

Children in the early 1900s looking at bird habitat group. 


( 3 


Today the Museum is a vibrant place, lull of movement and activity, ideas 
and information- an influential voice expressing its concern for the interdepen- 
dence oi all life on earth, including man. Thus the theme for the Museums 
Centennial in 1969: "Can Man Survive?" Over one hundred years of careful 
research have put the Museum In a leading position to ask such a question. 

This is one of the largest museums in the world. As many as four million 
visitors a year come to the Museum, and many more keep in touch through 
Natural History Magazine, the communications media, and traveling exhibits. 

The Museum's broad scope of activities is supported by a variety of sources, 
but the largest single source is the generosity of private citizens — ranging from 
such large amounts as a $6,000,000 gift to endowment early in the century 
to thousands of smaller contributions that come in annually. Private foundations 
and corporations are also helpful sources of funds. 

The City of New York is the Museum's landlord and supplies an important 
share of operating expenses. Federal agencies, such as the National Science 
Foundation, support a number of specific research programs. The New York 
State Council on the Arts has also recently given assistance to the Museum. 

In spite of all this support, rising costs and increasing demands on facilities 
have resulted in an admission charge to the public, the proceeds of which are 
used directly for new exhibits. Like so many other cultural institutions, the 
Museum must explore every avenue of potential support if it is to survive. 

The Museum is under the overall control of a forty-five member Board 
of Trustees, elected for five-year terms. The trustees elect a President, who 
formulates policy under their guidance. They also appoint a Director, who 
administers the staff and programs of the Museum. There are 650 employees 
of the Museum, ranging from scientists and exhibit preparators to writers, electri- 
cians, teachers, painters, and telephone operators — all of whom are highly skilled 
in their fields. 

Staff members in the Museum answer questions relayed from radio stations 
during a special program on the first Earth Day. 

Field (rips are essential to scientific research. 
Here a department head photographs shrimp. 

Scientific Work 

Scientific work is carried out both in the field and in the laboratories of the 
Museum, with some 380 research projects being conducted by 100 scientists 
and their assistants. 

The scientific departments are Animal Behavior, Anthropology, Astronomy, 
Entomology, Herpetology, Invertebrate Paleontology, Ichthyology, Living Inver- 
tebrates, Mammalogy, Mineralogy, Ornithology, and Vertebrate Paleontology. 
Many of these departments are concerned with the work for which the Museum 
is famous — systematic zoology, the classification of animals and the study of 
their evolutionary and ecological relationships. The Museum is also well known 
for its research in animal behavior, mineralogy, and anthropology. 

Much of the work is based on collections that have been gathered and 
catalogued over a period of many years. The material — some twenty-three million 
objects and artifacts — is acquired by the curators on field trips, and also through 
gifts, exchanges, and purchases. 

While acquisitions continue to be made, Museum scientists going into the 
field today concentrate much more on observations and actual field research. 
Their field trips take them to many parts of the world, but most frequently 
to the Museum's own research stations. 

Scientist offers instruction at West Side Day, an annual program for people in the 
Museum's neighborhood. 


Field Stations 

The Museum has five field stations in various parts of the Northern Hemisphere, 
each with Special advantages for field research that attract museum curators. 

visiting scientists, and students. At two of the stations, the Lerner Marine Laborat- 
ory and the Southwestern Research Station, formal course programs are held 
for college students interested in field biology. 

The Archbold Biological Station, in Lake Placid, Florida, is a 1060-acre 
preserve located just north of the Everglades. It presents a unique opportunity 
for scientists to studs the fauna, flora, and ecology of some especially interesting 
habitats that once existed throughout Florida and a large part of the southern 
United States. 

Great Gull Island, far out in Long Island Sound, is the nesting site for 
thousands of common terns and roseate terns. As such, it allows ornithological 
observers to study the breeding behavior, migrating patterns (through banding), 
and physiology of these birds. 

The Kalbfleisch Field Research Station, in Huntington, Long Island, is 
the site for a number of long-term studies of birds, fishes, small mammals, 
amphibians, and vegetation. The research in progress there, mainly conducted 
in the summer, gives college science majors a chance to work outside of a 
class structure under the direction of Museum scientists. 

The Lerner Marine Laboratory, on the island of Bimini in the Bahamas, 
is located between the shallow, coral-filled waters of the Great Bahama Bank 
and the deep, swift water of the Gulf Stream. As a result, there are some 
500 species of fish around Bimini, as well as many other species that pass 
through in migration. This diversified environment enables researchers to study 
a wide range of sea life. 

The Southwestern Research Station, near Portal, Arizona, is a fifty-three-acre 
preserve, surrounded by a large area of forest and desert land. Within this 
region there is unusual variation in altitude, temperature, vegetation, and animal 
life. Scientists and their students from all parts of the United States visit the 
station to collect specimens and conduct field studies with the sophisticated 
facilities and equipment housed there. 

Birds are banded and 
released at one of the 
Museum's field 
stations. Great Gull 
Island, in Long 
Island Sound. 



1 he functions of the Education Department range from ottering college credit 
courses each semester tor New York City teachers to instructing thousands 
of pupils who come to the Museum for special programs. Most visitors know 
that instructors teach individual classes of elemental} and junior high students 
by appointment, that an auditorium program is available, and that slide lectures, 
film programs, and gallery talks are presented weekly throughout most of the 
year. However, few visitors realize that the Education Department helps local 
schools design their own natural science centers, that it occasionally sends lec- 
turers to drug rehabilitation centers, or that it assists small community museums 
with technical advice. With a full-time teaching staff of twenty supported by 
more than a hundred part-time and volunteer workers, the department is quite 
different from the original one-man lecture service begun in 1884. 

Frog is observed in the Natural Science Center, where children learn about the 
animals of the New York area (Second Floor, Section 11). 

Members of an adult edu- 
cation seminar study a 
celestial sphere. 

Brochures describing most programs are available at the Museum informa- 
tion desks or by writing to the Registrar in the Department of Education. 

The department operates the Natural Science Center For Young People 
(Second Floor, Section 11), which introduces city youngsters to the wildlife 
and geology of the metropolitan area. The Center's atmosphere is informal, 
and exhibits include living plants and animals. Classes and groups must arrange 
in advance to visit, but the Center is open to the visiting public weekday afternoons 
(except Monday) and on weekends. A new special teaching area about peoples 
of the world has opened near the Natural Science Center; it is open afternoons 
and on weekends to visitors. 

Guide service is available for groups. Reservations must be made in advance, 
and fees are scaled in accordance with the size and nature of the group. This 
service is presently available only on weekdays. 

The department maintains a collection of exhibits and specimens that are 
loaned to New York City schools. Such outreach programs bring Museum 
facilities to a large number of people. Instructors, particularly during the summer, 
carry teaching into the community, participating in street fairs, block parties, 
and at senior citizen centers. 



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Field study group at a pre-Columbian temple in Mexico. 

For adults, one of the most popular events is attending the Museum evening 
lecture series given in spring and fall. These lectures are presented by education 
staff as well as by curators from the scientific departments and specialists from 
outside. The department also offers field study tours ranging from Mexico to 
the American Southwest, weekend field trips in the metropolitan region, and 
short morning walks in some of the city's parks. These are all described in 
available brochures. 

The department is concerned with providing visitors with assistance in 
the exhibition halls. To achieve this, programs have been established where 
interns and volunteers now serve as teaching-guides in several halls. 

Even this brief description communicates the diversity of the department's 
functions, from adult to child-oriented teaching, from semester-long courses 
to single-contact situations, from a Mexican field trip to a morning walk in 
Central Park. The Education Department is deeply involved with what is happen- 
ing in the city and what is happening in the Museum. It tries to bring the 
two together through its programs. 




Within the Museum there are exhibition halls that date baek to the 1890s and 
those that were Opened onl\ last year. New halls will be opened in the mid-1970s, 
and planning is now taking place tor exhibits tar in the future. 

1 he Department of Exhibition and Graphie Arts is responsible for all of 
these displays, which, in addition to the permanent exhibition halls, eneompass 
man\ different kinds o\ temporary and special exhibits. New acquisitions are 
often put on display before being incorporated into the Museum's collections. 
Timely exhibits on conservation are frequently mounted, and notable scientific 
discoveries are explained and interpreted as part of the Museum's function of 
keeping the public informed. 

The techniques and skills involved in making all these exhibits, whether 
they last only a month or, hopefully, a lifetime, embrace the whole field of 
display from taxidermy to industrial design. However, some of these skills 
are unique to the Museum, and nowhere is this more true than in the great 
halls of habitat groups. Because of widespread interest in how such dioramas 
are constructed, the following description of the making of a typical habitat 
group is included in this guide. 

Most habitat groups represent a specific place at a specific time of the 
year, so a field trip to the selected location is the first step in building the 
group. Innumerable sketches and color transparencies are assembled to make 
a complete pictorial record of the site. Samples of all plant life are collected 
for reproduction in the Exhibition Department studios, while soil, rocks, grasses, 
and other material that can be used as found are carefully labeled and crated. 
Whole trees may sometimes be sent back to the Museum in numbered sections. 

Elephant hide is spread 
flat for cleaning before 
being mounted on a 
plaster mannikin. 

Sections of a Douglas 
fir tree are put together 
for display in the Hall 
of North American 
Forests (First Floor, 
Section 5). 


When the artist returns from the field trip, he starts to rough out his picture 
OH the double-curved background of the diorama, using the sketches and slides 
made at the site. Because there are no corners, an illusion of depth and perspective 
is possible in a wa\ that could never be realized with a Hat surface. This 
rough sketching is then transformed into a careful charcoal rendering of the 
scene, which is shellacked before painting begins. 

In the meantime the preparator, who accompanied the artist on the field 
trip, organizes the material he collected. Some plants can be used as they grow 
in nature; these include mosses and members of the pine family, as well as 
grasses. They are soaked in a solution of formaldehyde and glycerine, which 
preserves the material and also prevents it from drying out. This treatment 
often makes the natural color fade, but even if it does not, colored lacquer 
is sprayed on, because all such preserved plant life loses its natural hue over 
the years. 

Deciduous plants must be artificially reproduced. Molds are made from 
the leaves and flower petals of the plants, which were carefully preserved in 
the field. These molds are the basis of the vacuum-press forming in plastic 
sheet of the plants in the newer habitat groups. Hundreds of perfectly formed 
leaves, complete to every vein, can be produced at one time by this method. 
They are then trimmed and painted, ready for the iron wire midribs to be attached. 
Bundles of iron wire are dipped into nitric acid, which drips down and tapers 
the wires toward their ends. Older dioramas have plants made of crepe paper 
and wax, a time-consuming technique that needs much hand-embossing. 

Other preparators work on the foreground or terrain. Again working from 
sketches and photographs made at the site, they cut wooden forms to match 
the contours of the land. These forms are covered with heavy wire netting, 
then burlap and plaster-of-paris, to form the foundation for the earth, plant, 
and animal life. 

Some rocks that exist in the field may be too heavy either to transport 
or to install in the diorama; artificial rocks are then used. They are also made 
from wire netting, burlap, plaster-of-paris, or papier mache\ After they have 
been painted, a "wet" surface can be obtained by running shellac or varnish 
down the sides. 

A critical problem is the "joining" of the background painting to the 
foreground material. The three-dimensional plant life near the background wall 
is continued on the painted canvas to blend as perfectly as possible. Skill with 
lighting is needed here, as no shadows can be allowed to fall on the background. 
Careful lighting is important for all groups, especially those reproducing a sunlit 
scene. No matter how skillful the lighting is, however, duplication of shadows 
cast by the sun is rarely possible. The solution is to paint out the shadows 


cast by the light bulbs and to paint in the shadows where the sun would cast 
them. No wonder an accurate record of the site is necessary! 

The mounted animals are generally installed toward completion of the group, 
unless they are near the back of the terrain, with plant life partially obscuring 
them. Only birds and small mammals are mounted by putting their skins on 
artificial bodies made of wrapped excelsior (the method incorrectly referred 
to as "stuffing"). 

The larger mammals are mounted on mannikins, using the sculpture 
technique pioneered by Carl Akeley. The basic skeleton is reinforced by a 
wood and wire framework that can pose the animal in the position desired. 
After the skin or hide is carefully removed, the flesh and muscles are replaced 
by watered clay, sculptured over the skeleton. The clay is shaped to match 
the muscles, tendons, ribs, and prominent veins, as if the animal had just lost 
its skin. When the statue is finished, a plaster mold is made from the clay 
figure. From this mold a hollow mannikin cast is made, upon which the hide 
is to be placed. 

Working on a clay 
model of an Alaskan 
brown bear for the Hall 
of North American 
Mammals (First Floor, 
Section 13). 


Hundreds of dinosaur 
bones have been identi- 
fied and await assembly 

Fitting the skin to the mannikin is a delicate process. Adhesive is put 
on the underside of the skin as the different pieces are fitted. The pieces are 
also sewn together, where necessary, on the underside, and stretched tight around 
key points with hundreds of small nails. When the adhesive has set in two 
or three days, the nails are removed, and the contours of the body, the ribs, 
and the rippling muscles are as plain as they would be in a living specimen. 

The habitat group is now nearly finished. Final lighting adjustments are 
made and the window inserted in the diorama frame. The work may have taken 
a year to complete and have involved twenty or thirty people. Yet this is only 
one item of the vast range of display work called for in the Museum. If, as 
has been said, the ideal museum should present the entire story of the universe 
in logical order, the skills of the exhibition department ought, indeed, to be 






The American Museum-Havden Planetarium, adjoining the Roosevelt Memorial, 
with its main entrance on 81 Si Street and Central Park West (First Floor, Section 
IS), constitutes the Museum's Department of Astronomy. The establishment 
of the Planetarium in 1935 marked the culmination of a ten-year effort to secure 
a planetarium projector for The American Museum of Natural History. In 1933 
the trustees of the Museum had formed a separate corporation under the Recon- 
struction Finance Corporation to build and equip a planetarium. Charles Hayden, 
alter whom the building is named, donated the Copernican model solar system 
on the first floor and the original Zeiss planetarium projector. In 1960 the Charles 
Hayden Foundation also donated the Zeiss Model IV projector that replaced 
the original instrument. In 1969 the Zeiss Model VI projector was installed, 
again with the generous assistance of the Foundation. All of these projectors 
were developed by the firm of Carl Zeiss, now located in Oberkochen, West 

Zeiss projector, with sixteen separate lens systems in each star globe. 

•AV : * 

The great Zeiss projector is the very heart of the Planetarium. It is installed 
in a hemispherical dome seventy-five feet in diameter and forty -eight feet from 

the floor to the highest point. The moving portion of the instrument itself weighs 
two tons and is twelve feet long. At either end of it are large star globes, 
each of which contains sixteen separate lens systems. In these lens systems 
are ineorporated eopper foil plates with holes of various sizes for stars of different 
magnitudes, so that a central light source causes the star images to appear 
on the dome with their relative intensities. The brightest stars are produced 
by separate projectors. The star images fit together so the constellations are 
reproduced exactly as seen in the real sky under ideal weather conditions. All 
the stars, some 8900 visible to the unaided eye from any part of the earth, 
are shown. Each of the thirty-two star field projectors is provided with a device 
that acts like an eyelid and automatically eclipses the star images when they 
reach the horizon. Individual projectors for the sun, moon, and the five planets 
that can be seen without a telescope are mounted in the latticed cylinder that 
supports these globes. 

Above each of the two large star globes are smaller globes that throw 
upon the dome the traditional constellation figures used by early astronomers, 
matching them to the stars. The instrument also contains special projectors 
for showing the Milky Way, important variable stars, and the reference circles 
used by astronomers in describing the positions and motions of the celestial 

The main projector turns independently on any one of three axes. First, 
it may turn on an axis parallel with the polar axis of the earth. This reproduces 
the apparent westward motion of the heavenly bodies due to the earth's rotation. 

Second, it may rotate on an axis perpendicular to the plane of the earth's 
orbit about the sun. The effect of this is to swing the north pole of the heavens 
in a vast circle that is completed every 25,800 years. This motion, known 
to astronomers as precession, introduces a slow change over a long period 
of time in the sky picture. By its use, the instrument can be set back some 
5000 years to 3000 BC, when Thuban, a dim star in the constellation of the 
Dragon, was our North Star. When the instrument is set ahead some 12,000 
years, Vega, the fourth brightest star, marks the north pole of the heavens 
while the Southern Cross is visible from the latitude of New York. 

The motions of the sun, moon, and planets are accomplished by a complex 
arrangement of motors and gears. They may be set in any position relative 
to the stars for any date and hour, and their motions reproduce precisely the 
motions of the actual planets. This so-called annual motion also sets the moon 
at its proper position and phase for any given time. 

The dome itself, upon which the stars are seen, is made of perforated 
stainless steel, painted white on the inside, enclosed in an outer shell of concrete 


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Andromeda gatoy, as 
depicted in a mural in 
the Planetarium. 





Instruments and draw- 
ings from the beginning 
ofthe fifteenth century, 
shown in "Astro- 

and copper. 

The Planetarium projector alone does not bring the entire sky story to 
the audience. Supplemental \ effects and techniques are constantly developed 
to widen the range of action. Horizon scenes, an observatory interior, a rainbow, 
a swirling blizzard, eclipses, the radiance of the Northern Lights, thunderstorms, 
and a host of accessory effects are created. These are combined with controlled 
lighting, music, and special sound effects into such performances as "Trip 
to the Moon," "From Galileo to Palomar," "Exploring the Milky Way," 
"Color in the Sky," "Messengers from Space," and the Christmas show, "The 
Star o\' Bethlehem." There is a change of program six times a year, and regular 
presentations are given at scheduled times throughout the year. 

The Guggenheim Space Theater on the first floor incorporates 
Astrovision — Sight and Sound in the Round — comprised of twenty-two screens 
and forty-two projectors. Some 3000 slides, together with narrations by outstand- 
ing personalities, tell the stories of the earth, the moon, the solar system, rocketry, 
and telescopes. Suspended from the ceiling of the circular room is a forty- 
eight-foot model of the solar system in which the planets out to Saturn are 
shown moving about the sun at their proper relative speeds. 

Pictures flash around the walls in an audio-visual introduction to astronomy in the 
Guggenheim Space Theater. 

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The Planetarium houses two of the world's finest meteorites: the Ahnighito, 
thirty-four tons, and the Willamette, fifteen-and-one-half tons. In addition to 
these, the Woman, a smaller meteorite of three tons, stands before the Planetarium 

In the first floor corridor is an outstanding collection of sundials, compasses, 
and astronomical instruments, ranging from ancient Chinese, through the 
elaborate metal instruments made in the middle centuries in France and Germany, 
to the very accurate compasses of modern navigation. 

Set into the walls of the corridors of both floors are large transparencies 
on glass of astronomical photographs from various observatories throughout 
the world. They include pictures of the sun and moon, many of the planets, 
star fields and star clusters, gaseous, planetary, and spiral nebulae, comets, 
meteors and meteor craters, as well as some of the most famous astronomical 
instruments. Since many of these photographs are time-exposures, they reveal 
the celestial objects far better than they could be seen visually through the 
largest telescopes — they show much detail that would otherwise escape the eye. 

A striking exhibit of astronomical phenomena, painted in luminescent color 
activated by black light, is in the corridor on the first floor. Here are several 
murals, covering an area of 3000 square feet, showing in vivid detail such 
subjects as the surface of the moon, sunspot activity, the Aurora Borealis, 
eclipses of the sun and moon, galactic and spiral nebulae, and our neighboring 
worlds — the other planets. 

Typical of the three-dimensional effect created by this recently developed 
technique is the mural of the Aurora Borealis. A curtain type of aurora is 
seen from the Arctic Circle where, due to the effect of black light, the aurora 
in the mural seems to shimmer, as do the actual Northern Lights. 

Semipermanent exhibits are on the second floor of the Planetarium. t4 Your 
Weight on Other Worlds" is a set of five Toledo scales calibrated to show 
the effect of the gravitational fields of the Moon, Mars, the Sun, Venus, and 
Jupiter on the mass of the visitors' bodies in comparison to their weights on 

"Astronomia" is a hall that treats astronomy through the past 500 years. 
Many ancient books and instruments are displayed. Some of these belong to 
the Planetarium; others are on loan from the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, 
the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, and Harvard University. The display 
incorporates presentations of aspects of astronomy in varying typographs; some 
sections are very sophisticated, others are childlike in simplicity. One dynamic 
model shows the motions of a planet in a gravitational field. A Kinetoscope — a 
matrix theater of nine projectors — discusses the sun, moon, and stars. 

Near the south entrance of the Planetarium dome is the Willetts Memorial 
Weather Hall. This display features a set of dials on which may be read outside 


Willamette meteorite, weighing fifteen and a half tons, was discovered in 
Oregon and brought to the Museum in 1906. 


temperature, barometric pressure, and wind direction and speed. These readings 
arc automatically registered on the dials by remote signals from a weather tower 
high on the roof of the Museum. Flanking this weather information center are 
eight dioramas thai graphically illustrate and explain phases of weather in the 
earth's atmosphere. 

The combination of Planetarium projector and dome is ideal for instructional 
purposes — it is utilized in courses for laymen given throughout the year. Courses 
in astronomy, navigation, and aviation ground training are offered to the public, 
with sessions held once a week during the evening hours. Special school-group 
showings provide supplementary background for studies in astronomy. Other 
instructed groups include West Point cadets, U.S. Power Squadron units, 
engineering classes from neighboring universities, Scouts, and a variety of others. 
The Planetarium is available for special lectures at hours when there are no 
regular performances. 

In the basement of the Planetarium there are comfortable classrooms for 
instruction of such groups. Near these is the workshop of the Optical Division 
of the Amateur Astronomical Association, which supervises and assists such 
activities as the grinding, polishing, and figuring of mirrors for reflecting tele- 

Planetarium staff members are frequently called upon for explanations and 
advice about various astronomical, navigational, and meteorological problems. 
Parties of staff astronomers have traveled to locations favorable for photographing 
and studying recent solar eclipses. With the recent heightened public interest 
in sky phenomena, the Planetarium serves as a clearinghouse for information 
to the public directly by mail and telephone and by means of the press, radio, 
and television. 

Thus, by well-integrated programs and active participation in school and 
community functions, The American Museum-Hayden Planetarium carries out 
its major purpose — that of helping the public to interpret for itself the vast 
body of scientific knowledge about astronomy and the allied sciences in terms 
of its own need and desire to understand the universe. 



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Minerals arc the materials of the earth — the forms in which nature distributes 
its chemicals. The familiar rocks of the earth's crust — the granite, marble, sand- 
stone, and slate — together with other less well-known rocks form the mountains, 
canyons, continents, and ocean floors. Close examination of all these rocks 
reveals them to be natural aggregates of individual minerals. Each mineral has 
a characteristic chemistry and a fixed arrangement of its individual atoms. This 
provides for the distinctive properties of crystal form, hardness, density, color, 
luster, etc. 

The identification of minerals, the understanding of their nature and occur- 
rence, and the investigation of their properties are the primary activities of 
mineralogists. Pursuit of these activities using the methods of chemistry, physics, 
and mathematics and applying them in the field and in the laboratory provides 
the mineralogist with insight into the workings of nature and with knowledge 
of the components of the earth's crust. The science of mineralogy is therefore 
an integrated field of study related to geology on one hand and to physics 
and chemistry on the other. The different aspects of mineralogy have been 
systematized into the following outline: 

Kunzite, the clear lilac- 
to-pink variety of 
spodumene, is occa- 
sionally found as flaw- 
less stones of 1 00 carats . 

Japanese specimen of stibnite , which is the chief source of antimony and occurs in 
unique swordlike crystals. 

Crystallography Concerned with the internal arrangement of atoms and the 
external geometric forms exhibited by minerals. 

Physical Mineralogy Considers various physical properties, such as hardness, 
cleavage, color, specific gravity, magnetism, electricity, and tenacity, as well 
as optical properties. 

Chemical Mineralogy Considers various chemical properties and the origin 
and formation of minerals. This includes chemical analysis, spectrographic 
techniques, x-ray fluorescence, and thermal analysis. 

Descriptive Mineralogy Systematic listing of the various crystallographic, 
physical, and chemical properties of minerals and something of the environments 
in which they are found. 

Determinative Mineralogy Classification of minerals based on physical prop- 
erties and chemical composition that facilitates identification. 


The Department of Mineralogy at the Museum is involved in various areas 
of research. Among them are studies of the chemical variations in igneous 
rock, studies of the inclusions in diamonds, attempts to determine the origins 
ofston) meteorites, and the preparation of a description of rock-forming minerals. 

When a professional mineralogist studies a new mineral deposit, he must 
first have an understanding of the geologic setting in which the minerals are 
found, and he gains this by examining and mapping the rock formations in 
the field. This gives information as to the origin of the deposit. Next, each 
material is identified in the laboratory. Some minerals may be determined by 
inspection, whereas others yield their identity only through chemical tests, through 
measurement of optical constants by microscopic means, or in other ways. 
The mineralogist may make x-ray diffraction of the minerals, since a crystalline 
substance will give a regular pattern recorded on photographic film when subjected 
to x-rays. The intensity and position of these lines are characteristic for each 
crystalline substance. 

Mineralogist examines a specimen of rhodochrosite under the microscope. 

■*^4& a 



Four precious sap- 
phires. Two are bril- 
liants, one is emerald- 
cut, and one is a star 

The mineralogist may borrow tools from the chemist and physicist, such 
as differential thermal analysis, where he subjects the mineral to a gradual 
rise in temperature and observes the characteristic chemical changes that take 
place. Or he may use spectrographic measurements to detect minor elements 
that might be unnoticed by the usual qualitative procedures. After all of the 
minerals of a deposit have been identified, the sequence of deposition can be 
worked out. Once this is known the mineralogist can speculate as to the origin 
of the minerals and the nature of the conditions that gave rise to them. 

Mineral substances and products are indispensable to the welfare, health, 
and standard of living of modern man; they are among the most valued and 
jealously guarded of the natural resources of a nation. The outstanding characteris- 
tic of the present industrial era is the wide application of machinery and the 
use of power; animal muscle has been substituted by power machinery, including 
the steam engine, dynamo, automobile, airplane, and telephone. These inventions 
have brought about the use of minerals in an ever-increasing quantity and ever- 
widening application. As industrial techniques become more complex, minerals 
that contain metals with peculiarly distinctive properties such as aluminum, 
vanadium, tungsten, molybdenum, chromium, cobalt, and nickel have assumed 
real economic importance. For example, platinum, in addition to its use in 
jewelry, is a necessary catalyst in making sulfuric acid; it also acts as a key 
that unlocks a cheap process of chemical synthesis. Antimony is essential for 
the production of clear metal for type, and mercury is important in precise 
scientific instruments. All of the common materials used in modern building, 
such as steel, cement, brick, glass, and plaster, have their origins in minerals. 
The world constantly demands more food, and as a result the phosphates, potash, 
and nitrates are needed as fertilizers. 


Morgan Memorial Hall of Minerals and Gems 
(Fourth Floor, Section 4) 

The Morgan Memorial Hall of Minerals and Gems houses one of the outstanding 
collections In the world, a unique assemblage representative of nearly five billion 
years of earth history gathered from all over the world. 

The hall is general l\ arranged according to the elassification of minerals, 
beginning with the native elements. Many of the minerals form regular solids 
with smooth surfaces characteristic o\' each mineral species. These naturally 
occurring, regular forms are called crystals and are the external result of the 
unhampered growth and arrangement of the constituent atoms. 

Certain minerals among the many hundreds of different species are of 
particular value; they are called gems because they appeal to a sense of beauty. 
The qualifications that make minerals gems include beauty of color, a certain 
degree of transparency that permits color qualities to be developed by cutting 
and polishing, and sufficient hardness to preserve them against wear. In addition, 
the value of gems is governed by their rarity and fluctuating fashions. 

The Morgan Collection contains several outstanding gems, including the 
De Long star ruby and the "Star of India," the largest star sapphire in the 
world. There are also notable diamond crystals and glass models of the world's 
famous diamonds, both in the natural state and after cutting. Several fine speci- 
mens of chrysoberyl are in the collection. This aluminate of beryllium occasionally 
contains hairlike inclusions arranged in parallel bundles; when cut and polished 
it is known as "oriental cat's eye." The specimen from Kandy, Ceylon, is 
thought to be one of the world's finest. 

Other Exhibits 

Outside of the Hall of Mexico and Central America (Second Floor, Section 
4) is a collection of gold objects and jewelry that shows the beautiful forms 
in which this element can be molded. 

The John Lindsley Hall of Earth History (Fourth Floor, Section 2) shows 
how minerals were formed during the history of the earth. 


Invertebrate Paleontology 


As one of the earth sciences, Invertebrate paleontology is concerned with all 
aspects of the lands, the oceans, the atmosphere, and the interior of the earth. 
I he methods of physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology, and engineering are 
employed here in a combination embodied in geology, especially those aspects 
of geologj devoted to determining the manner and sequence of events by which 
the planet and its life have evolved through nearly five billion years of geologic 
time. Using logical inferences about the past based on knowledge of present 
conditions, earth history' proceeds step by step, tracing discernible evidence 
of changes through time. 

Giant globe of the earth shows mountains both above and below the sea (Earth 
History, Fourth Floor, Section 2). 


? : '% 

Typical Lower Triassic ammonite cephalopod. Ammonites are used by paleon- 
tologists to recognize fine divisions of geologic time. 

The science of invertebrate paleontology explores the complicated patterns 
of evolution and environment that compose the billions of years of the history 
of life with special emphasis on invertebrate animals. More than ninety-five 
percent of all animals have always belonged to the invertebrate groups, and 
this overwhelming preponderance is directly reflected in the fossil record of 
the earth. 

The Department of Invertebrate Paleontology at the Museum is involved 
in a number of research projects including studies of diversity, distribution, 
and evolution of the two largest fossil invertebrate groups — the arthropods and 
the mollusks. Current projects include the nature of evolutionary trends and 
the patterns of extinction and repopulation of these and other groups of animals 
during the earth crises that stemmed from climatic and other changes. The 
nature and history of tissue calcification in Mollusca and the history of the 
tropical zone of animals and plants are two other areas of research. 


John Lindsley Hall of Earth History 

(Fourth Floor, Section 2) 

The John Lindsley Hall of Earth History was developed by the Department 

of Invertebrate Paleontology, in collaboration with other Museum departments. 

because many of the scientific concepts of invertebrate paleontology involve 

the interplay of physical and biological events in earth history. 

A large rotating relief globe of the earth is the focal point of the hall. 
The globe is presented as an astronomical object in space. All of the planets 
and stars in the universe consist of certain chemical combinations. On the earth 
these ultimately form the rocks, minerals, and water that make up the surface 
of the planet. The globe shows the land surfaces, the seas (which cover nearly 
three-quarters of the earth's surface), and the newly charted mountains and 
plains of the oceans. 

A film gives a synopsis of the history of the earth, from its very beginnings, 
through evolutionary changes, to the present. The film points out that within 
the earth itself is evidence of past history, known only from studies of earthquake 
waves and deep-seated materials brought to the surface in volcanoes, from out- 
cropping rocks and their interrelationships, and from the fossil records of the 
evolutionary history of life preserved in the rocks. 

The earth is dynamic and constantly changing. A cutaway section of a 
globe shows the interior of the earth, and there is a seismograph that records 
the shock waves of earthquakes. The different layers, or strata, of the earth 
are discussed in nearby exhibits. Eternal modification is illustrated in the different 
configurations of Fire Island, New York, where land masses, water, and climate 
have all changed throughout history. Alternating sea floods, folding of mountains, 
and volcanic eruptions have all contributed to the varied geologic makeup in 
metropolitan New York, producing both the igneous palisade rock of New Jersey 
and the schist of Manhattan visible in Central Park. 

Within the soft sediments that were hardened into rock many invertebrate 
animals were buried. Their fossils were later exposed at the surface by uplift 
and erosion. The history of fossil evolution is found in their ever-deeper strata, 
and this organic evolution has provided paleontologists with a logical and scientific 
explanation of the changes in fossils through geologic time. Most fossil species 
belong to extinct creatures, and some of the animals and plants that lived during 
successive geologic time periods are shown in habitat groups of seafloor com- 
munities as they appeared when they were alive. Other displays illustrate the 
diversity, evolution, and structure of important fossil groups. 

Dating of rock samples by measuring their radioactivity has proved the 
great antiquity of the earth, and studies of residual magnetism in combination 
with the chronology of fossils in the rocks provide the means for accurately 
compiling and correlating events in the geologic history of separate regions 


Reconstruction of a 
Devonian coral com- 
munity from upper 
New York State (Earth 
History, Fourth Floor, 
Section 2). 


of the earth. These methods, which are discussed in the hall, aid in the analysis 
of Stages in the origin of valuable products such as mineral deposits and petroleum 
and in predicting their locations. 

Dioramas of typical oil fields illustrate some of the factors involved in 
the location of oil pools, such as the geometric attitudes of the rock strata, 
geologic age, the depth beneath the surface, and the porosity of the rock. 

Other Exhibits 

The Hall of the Biology of Invertebrates (First Floor, Section 9) shows the 
modern forms of these animals. Vertebrate fossils, from fishes to mammals, 
are exhibited on the Fourth Floor. The ways in which fossils are collected, 
prepared, and studied are shown on the Fourth Floor, Section 4. 

Model of a Pennsylvania coiled nautiloid cephalopod. This primitive relative of 
the squid is shown in its Texas habitat (Earth History, Fourth Floor, Section 2). 


Vertebrate Paleontology 


Vertebrate paleontology is an interdisciplinan, subject involving various aspects 
oi hiolog\ and geology. It is concerned with the elucidation of the history 
and relationships of backboned animals through the interpretation of their fossil 
record. Fossil vertebrates first occur in rocks oi' Ordovician age, and they are 
known from sediments of all successive geologic periods. Since vertebrates 
became adapted to mans different ways of life, their fossil remains are found 
in sediments deposited in a wide variety of environments. 

One of the long-range research programs involving fossil fishes is aimed 
at working out the relationships of the various groups of higher bony ray-finned 
fishes through 400 million years. The Museum's fossil fish collection, which 
is one of the best of its kind, plays an important role in this research, and 
it is constantly being improved and expanded by Museum expeditions and by 
exchanges with other institutions. 

Much of the emphasis in the study of fossil amphibians and reptiles has 
been on Mesozoic forms from various parts of the world. Research in this 
area has greatly expanded knowledge of the animals that lived during the Age 
of Dinosaurs, a critical interval in the evolution of the reptiles. 

Studies on fossil mammals by Museum paleontologists emphasize the primi- 
tive mammals that lived during the early Tertiary and advanced mammals that 
inhabited North America during the last part of the Tertiary. The Museum's 
collection of fossil mammals, including the famous Frick Collection, is the 
largest in the world. 

Fossil Fish Alcove (Fourth Floor, Section 13) 

Fishes are free-living, aquatic, cold-blooded, gill-breathing vertebrates with fins. 
During their long history of nearly 500 million years many groups arose; they 
are shown on the adjoining family tree. The oldest known vertebrates were 
jawless fishes (agnathans) called ostracoderms. They appeared in the Ordovician 
Period and became extinct during the Devonian. The lampreys and hagfishes 
are the only living agnathans. 

The first jawed fishes are represented by the acanthodians, spiny fishes 
that lived from the Silurian to the Permian. Although confined to the Devonian, 
the armored placoderm fishes (also jawed) existed in wide variety. 

The sharks and ratfishes, which may be related to the placoderms, were 
already abundant in Devonian seas, but they declined in the Permian and Triassic. 
With the appearance of modern types in the Jurassic, sharks again became 
successful. The reconstructed plaster jaws and actual fossil teeth of a forty-foot 
Miocene shark are exhibited in the alcove entrance. 

The higher bony fishes arose from acanthodian-like ancestors. They include 
the ray-finned fishes (such as herrings and sturgeons) and the lobe-finned fishes 






















? c I 5 















m i o c r n r 































Ca. 2600 
Ca. 3100 

+ Ostracoderms 

Evolution of fishes. Branches that are now extinct are marked with a cross. 

(such as coelacanths). From the Devonian to the present, the ray-finned forms 
(actinopterygians) have been the most numerous and diversified of all fishes. 
The lobe-finned fishes (sarcopterygians) are represented by the lungfishes and 
crossopterygians. They had a common origin with the ray-finned fishes. The 
conservative lungfishes have changed little since the Devonian; today they are 
represented by only three genera. The crossopterygians include the ancestors 
of the amphibians as well as the related coelacanths. A single species of 
coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae, exists today in the Indian Ocean. 

Other Exhibits 

The Hall of Fishes and Ocean Life (First Floor, Section 10) shows modern 
fishes and traces some of their evolutionary history. 


Early Dinosaur Hall (Fourth Floor, Section 13) 

The Early Dinosaur Hall is dominated by the skeletons of three Upper Jurassic 
dinosaurs placed on a large center island. The largest of the three skeletons, 
that of Brontosaurus, is almost seventy feet long and eighteen feet high at 
the hips. In life it must have weighed thirty or forty tons. The aggressive, 
meat-eating Allosaurus probably preyed upon the big, inoffensive plant-eaters 
such as Brontosaurus, and in this group Allosaurus is mounted as it feeding 
on a brontosaur backbone. The third dinosaur in the group is the plated 
Stegosaurus , another plant-eater. 

Original fossil brontosaur tracks were excavated near Glen Rose, Texas, 
and reassembled on the central island in the hall. There are six forefoot and 
six hindfoot impressions made by a brontosaur as it tramped through a limy 
mud millions of years ago. The three-toed tracks of an allosaur follow those 
of the brontosaur, and since two of the allosaur tracks are superimposed on 
two of the large brontosaur tracks, it is evident that the meat-eating dinosaur 
was actually following the big plant-eater. 

The first land-living vertebrates were amphibians, which arose from the 
lobe-finned fishes and developed along several evolutionary lines. They reached 

Allosaurus, Brontosaurus, and Stegosaurus (left to right) as they might have 
looked millions of years ago (Early Dinosaurs, Fourth Floor, Section 13). 


the culmination of their evolutionary development in the labyrinthodonts of 
the Permian, represented here by skulls and a skeleton of Ery ops, and for a 
brief time they were in active competition with the reptiles for dominance on 
the land. The last labyrinthodonts lived in the Triassic, and they are exemplified 
b\ the large flattened form, Buettneria. Contemporaneous with the labyrintho- 
donts were various other amphibians, such as the bizarre genus Diplocuulus . 
a flattened form with an excessively broad skull, shaped rather like an arrowhead. 
The modern frogs and toads have a poor fossil record, and their closest relatives 
among the Paleozoic amphibians are not known. 

The transition from amphibians to reptiles was so gradual that it is difficult 
to draw a distinct line between these two classes of vertebrates. Seymouria 
is one of a number of tetrapods that lie near the amphibian-reptile boundary. 
Although certain features of the skull and vertebral column are used to differentiate 
the two groups, one of the more significant differences lies in the method of 
reproduction. Amphibians must deposit their eggs in a moist environment, while 
reptiles have a self-contained egg with food and moisture enclosed in a hard 
shell. Although a reptile egg (some are shown in the Late Dinosaur Hall) is 
known from the Permian, it is impossible to associate it with any particular 
fossil skeleton. 

Eryops, an early labyrinthodont amphibian from 
the Permian sediments of Texas, probably ate fish 
as well as land invertebrates. 



Evolution of reptiles from their first representatives. 

Mammallike reptiles called pelycosaurs developed during the Permian. Close 
relatives of the pelycosaurs were therapsids, some of which were directly ancestral 
to mammals, while others developed in different directions. 

During the Triassic the dominant land animals were reptiles other than 
dinosaurs, and mammals appeared during the Late Triassic. But the dinosaurs 


were probabl) the dominant terrestrial animals throughout the entire Mesozoic, 
and the) certainl) dominated during the Cretaceous. 

Late (Cretaceous) Dinosaur Hall (Fourth Floor, Section 9) 

The Late Dinosaur Hall is devoted mainl\ to dinosaurs that lived during the 
Cretaceous Period. Examples are shown in the hall of three dinosaurs that lived 
together toward the end of the Cretaceous: Tyrannosaurus , the largest carnivorous 
animal ever to li\e on the land, Triceratops, a horned dinosaur that lived on 
plants, and Trachodon, one of the duck-billed dinosaurs. 

The skeleton of Tyrannosaurus is about forty-five feet long and, as mounted, 
stands nearly twenty feet high. The huge skull, armed with sharp teeth, is 
in a case on the floor where it can easily be seen; a plaster replica is on the 

Protoceratops hatching from their eggs. These models are largely imaginary — 
no one really knows what they looked like (Late Dinosaurs, Fourth Floor, 
Section 9). 


Tyrannosaurus, the largest land- 
living carnivore, preyed on Othei 

dinosaurs (Late Dinosaurs. Fourth 
Modi, Section 9). 

Trachodon is often called a duck-billed dinosaur because the front of the 
skull is flattened and expanded into a sort of bill. However, recent studies 
on the feeding mechanism suggest that this bill was not used for feeding on 
soft, aquatic vegetation, as is the bill of modern ducks, but was part of a 
highly efficient slicing mechanism. The mummified remains of one duck-billed 
specimen clearl) show the soft parts and skin oi this animal. 

The horned dinosaurs, or ceratopsians, were plant-eaters well adapted for 
defending themselves in fighting. Although not related, they were similar to 
modern rhinoceroses. The skeleton of Triceratops shows the characteristic pose 
of a ceratopsian dinosaur, the huge head lowered to present the three long, 
sharp horns toward an adversary. Ceratopsian dinosaurs had a large frill on 
the back of the skull that served in part as a protection for the neck but more 
importantly as an area of attachment for the heavy jaw and neck muscles. 

At one end of the hall is a display of the pterosaurs, or flying reptiles. 
They arose in the Jurassic, at about the same time the first birds were evolving, 
and for some time they shared the sky with the early birds. There were many 
forms of flying reptiles, some as small as sparrows and others, such as the 
giant Pterandon on the wall, with a wingspread of twenty feet or more. In 
these reptiles the fourth finger of the hand was elongated for a wing support, 
and the wing itself was formed by a large fold of skin. Well-preserved specimens 
with skin and wing imprints show that the pterodactyls were covered with fine 
hairlike fibers similar to the hair of mammals. 

Of particular interest are the skeleton and eggs of Protoceratops , found 
in Outer Mongolia by a Museum expedition in 1923. The eggs were the first 
dinosaur eggs ever discovered. In some of them are fossilized embryos, confirm- 
ing speculation about the method of reproduction among these reptiles. 

Other Exhibits 

The John Lindsley Hall of Earth History (Fourth Floor, Section 2) explores 
the succession of life through geologic time and illustrates the formation of 

Hall of Early Mammals (Fourth Floor, Section 5) 

The beginning of the Age of Mammals was characterized by a radical change 
in the kinds of vertebrate animals that inhabited the earth. The dinosaurs disap- 
peared at the end of the Cretaceous. Although the mammals had already evolved 
from their reptilian ancestors by the Jurassic, their dominance began at the 
start of the Tertiary, the period when they flourished rapidly. 

The first true mammals of the Age of Dinosaurs are known mostly from 
fragmentary skulls and teeth. Enlarged models of these are placed on a family 
tree to show how the early mammals were related to each other and to their 


Skeleton (top) and restoration (bottom) of Ectoconus, a primitive hoofed mam- 
mal of the Paleocene. 

modern descendants. 

The marsupials are a well-defined group of mammals including the common 
opossum and the kangaroo. Their most distinctive characteristic is that the young 
are born at a very immature stage and migrate to a pouch on the belly of 
the female, where they are suckled and carried for some time after birth. Placental 


mammals evolved a more efficient system ot nourishment of the young in the 
uterus; consequently . the young are horn at a more advanced state of development. 
The placentals multiplied and diversified rapidly in the Paleocene and particularly 
in the Eocene. 

1 he first hoofed mammals, or condylarths, appeared in the Late Cretaceous 
and were abundant in the Paleocene and kocene. The long, low skull, short 
limbs, and long tail were primitive characteristics shared for the most part with 
the earliest carnivorous mammals. Meniscotherium was a small condylarth about 
the size o\' a cat. Ectoconus, with its relatively small skull and heavy limbs, 
had the dimensions of a large dog. Phenacodus, which approached the size 
of.a tapir, represents the stock from which the odd-toed hoofed animals (such 
as horses) probably arose. 

The edentates are an order of mostly South American mammals including 
the sloths, anteaters, and armadillos. The ground sloths became common earl\ 
in edentate history, and Hapalops is a typical Oligocene-Miocene form. The 
armadillos were abundant and varied in South America by the Miocene. 

The first carnivores appeared during the early part of the Age of Mammals, 
and their remains have been found in Tertiary deposits on all the continents 

Skull and restoration of Andrew sarchus, a gigantic wolflike mammal from Mongolia 
(Early Mammals, Fourth Floor, Section 5). 

except South America and Australia. In Pliocene and Pleistocene tunes they 
migrated to Smith America via Central America. The dingo was introduced 

to Australia by aboriginal man. 

One group of placental mammals was the insectivores. Fossils of these 
small, ancient mammals are exceedingly rare and are of great value in evolutionary 
study. Modern insectivores include moles, shrews, and hedgehogs. 

During the Paleocene and Eocene the early primates were numerous and 
divided into a number of separate evolutionary lines. Many of them then became 
extinct, but some persisted through the Age of Mammals to produce lemurs, 
monkeys, apes, and, of course, man. 

Historical zoogeography includes the study of the factors that have influenced 
the distribution of animals, particularly land animals, in the geologic past. It 
considers such factors as migration, the geographic isolation of groups of animals, 
their radiation from a point of origin, their sequence of arrival on a particular 
continent, animal distribution, and the evolutionary effects of this distribution 
on the animals themselves. At the very beginning of the Age of Mammals, 
when North and South America were loosely connected, there were three different 
groups of mammals in South America: primitive marsupials, edentates, and 
one group of early hoofed mammals. Later South America became isolated 
until perhaps four million years ago, and during this long period the mammal 
population developed along diverse lines. 

Hall of Late Mammals (Osborne Memorial) (Fourth Floor, Section 3) 

The fossil record for a few groups of mammals is unusually complete, and 
it is possible to follow evolutionary changes in the skeleton throughout many 
millions of years. The Hall of Late Mammals is especially concerned with 
some of the better-known records in the history of the placental animals. 

Various types of odd-toed ungulates, or perissodactyls, descended from 
the earliest hoofed mammals, or condylarths. The perissodactyls were separated 
into the horses, rhinoceroses, tapirs, and several now-extinct lines by the begin- 
ning of the Eocene. 

The rhinoceros, which originated in North America, had a complicated 
fossil history, and several distinct lines evolved in both the New and Old World. 
The largest known land mammal, Baluchitherium , of the Miocene of Asia, 
is a rhinoceros. The large block of Diceratherium bones, which includes the 
skulls of twenty-one small, pair-horned rhinoceroses, gives some conception 
of the enormous number of these animals living in North America during the 

The history of horses has long been of interest to students of evolution. 
The changes that occurred between the early Eocene Hyracothehum (also called 
Eohippus) and the modern horse can be traced with great exactness because 



Late Pliocene in Arizona. Glyptotherium (relatives of armadillos) are on the 
left, Plesippus on the right. In the background are camels and mastodons. 

Woolly mammoths along the banks of the Somme River in France during the 
late Pleistocene. 






W j» 




v^: '•> 






v i 

■< ~< 





Giant Pleistocene 
ground sloths from 
Argentina. G/os- 
sotherium (the 
two specimens on 
the left) and Les- 
todon (right) at- 
tained enormous 
size during their 
evolution in South 
America (Late 
Mammals, Fourth 
Floor, Section 3). 

Stenomylus, small 
North American 
camels. Some are 
the positions in 
which they were 
found on a Museum 
expedition (Late 
Mammals, Fourth 
Floor, Section 3). 

of the excellence of the fossil record. The reduction in the number of toes 
to the single functional toe of modern forms, along with the lengthening of 
the limbs, skull, and teeth and the increase in general bod) size, are well 
demonstrated. Most of the histOI) of the horse is recorded in North America 
because the group originated there, although it later spread to the Old World. 

The even-toed ungulates, or artiodactyls, probably evolved from the con- 
dylarths in North America, but at an earl) date they spread to the Old World. 
1 here the) gave rise to important groups that led to pigs, peccaries, hippopotam- 
uses, camels, deer, giraffes, antelopes, and cattle. Perhaps the most successful 
artiodactyls of the mid-Tertiary in North America were the oreodonts, superficially 
piglike ruminants that were very abundant in the Oligocene and Miocene. The 
early evolution of the camel also occurred in North America, and a group 
o\ Stenomylus, a small Miocene camel of North America, is shown in the 
hall. Camels did not migrate to South America or Asia until near the end of 
the Age of Mammals. 

Among the most spectacular mammals were the Proboscidea, remains of 
which are widely distributed. Mastodons comprised one group of the Proboscidea. 
The skeleton of the American mastodon on exhibit is known as the "Warren 
Mastodon." Collected in 1845 from shell-marl beds near Newburgh, New York, 
it is one of the most perfectly preserved fossil mastodon skeletons ever found. 
After exhibition in New York and New England, it was purchased by John 
Collins Warren, a professor of anatomy at Harvard College. It was on exhibition 
at the Warren Museum in Boston until 1906, when J. Pierpont Morgan bought 
it and presented it to The American Museum. In 1907 the skeleton was taken 
apart, cleaned, and remounted as it stands today. The American mastodon was 
the most abundant Pleistocene proboscidean in the forested regions east of the 

Mammoths belonged to another group of Proboscidea. The tall Colombian 
Pleistocene mammoth skeleton, with its great incurved tusks, is a dramatic 
example of a true elephant. Mammoth skulls and jaws are known from many 
parts of the world, and one of the largest known mammoth tusks, over sixteen 
feet in length, is exhibited here. 

Fossils of many carnivores, such as cats, bears, wolves, and dogs, are 
shown. One exhibit shows how animals were trapped in the famous Rancho 
la Brea tar pits in Los Angeles. 

Other Exhibits 

Various halls of living mammals such as the Hall oi North American Mammals 
(First Floor, Section 13) and the Hall of African Mammals (Second Floor. 
Section 13) show the end result of the evolution of these animals. 


Living Invertebrates 



Invertebrates comprise approximately ninety-four percent of the known existing 
species in the animal kingdom. Responsibility for the care of the vast collections 
o\ living (as distinct from fossil) invertebrates in The American Museum of 
Natural Histor) lies with two scientific departments: Entomology and Living 
Invertebrates. The Department of Entomology works with insects and their rela- 
tives, such as spiders, mites, and centipedes. 

The remaining invertebrates are the concern of the Department of Living 
Invertebrates. They make up twenty-six of the twenty-seven phyla, the major 
groups into which all living animals are classified. The scientific collections 
of the Museum's department consist of such diverse organisms as minute one- 
celled animals (protozoans) and huge bivalve mollusks weighing 600 pounds 
(giant clams). Especially large holdings are the collections of mollusks (including 
snails, oysters, clams, and squids), with more than two million specimens; 
crustaceans (including shrimps, lobsters, and crabs), totaling nearly 120,000 
specimens; and annelids and other worms, with about 40,000 specimens. There 
are important collections of other major groups of invertebrates. 

In its laboratories and in the field, the Department of Living Invertebrates 
conducts varied research projects in evolutionary and experimental biology. 
These include the systematics and distribution of land, freshwater, and marine 
mollusks and of parasitic and free-living worms, and the hormonal control of 
color change, water balance, growth, and molting in land crabs. 

Paper nautilus {Argonaut oar go Linne). The structure that looks like a shell 
is a parchment-thin receptacle for this cephalopod's eggs. 





Model of an American 
lobster {Homarus 
americanus) attacking 
a lady (or calico) crab 
(Ovalipes ocellatus) 
on the sound bottom 
(Biology of Inverte- 
brates, First Floor, 
Section 9). 


Hall of the Biology of Invertebrates (First Floor, Section 9) 

The exhibits in the Hall of the Biology of Invertebrates provide a comprehensive 
view of invertebrates, their origin, classification, structure, physiology, develop- 
ment, behavior, adaptations to the environment, and economic, medical, and 
aesthetic importance to man. 

As a joint undertaking of three scientific departments (Living Invertebrates, 
Entomology, and Animal Behavior), the hall reflects the differing approaches 
and philosophies of several intellectual disciplines. But intrinsic to all exhibits 
within the hall is a largely unstated commitment to three unifying biological 
concepts: the continuity of life, the diversity of life, and the inevitability of 
change. Exhibits in the hall are designed to impart the information discussed 

Details of how life originated are still not precisely known, but it seems 
to have occurred in a series of steps, from gases to amino acids to proteinoids 
to microspheres, or precells. Models of DNA and RNA, essential to protein 
synthesis in cells, are shown, as is a three-dimensional model of a cell enlarged 
40,000 times. 

The incredible diversity of living organisms is the end result of continuity 
and change as one generation succeeds another through reproduction. To bring 
order to this diversity, scientific names and a place in one of the twenty-seven 
phyla have been given to over one million different species. 


Organisms can reproduce asexual l> or sexually. In asexual reproduction, 
iieu individuals are formed from only one parent. Sexual reproduction involves 
two individuals of the same species and can occur in both single-celled and 
multicelled animals. It is advantageous because it results in new individuals 
with diverse genetic characteristics. But male and female sex cells, or gametes, 
must be brought together, which can be accomplished in a number of ways: 
bv chance (in response to a chemical substance released into the water), by 
mass release of gametes, or by bringing a mature male and a mature female 
together at breeding time, with the male able to deposit its gametes in. on. 
or near the female. 

Hereditary units called genes are in the chromosomes of cells. Generally, 
when a cell divides, the genetic material is apportioned equally between the 
two daughter cells (mitosis). But in the formation of the gametes, the number 
of chromosomes is reduced to one-half during cell division (meiosis). The original 
number of chromosomes is later restored when the male and female gametes 
unite to form a fertilized egg. 

The fertilized egg of a multicellular animal divides and ultimately differen- 
tiates into many types of cells and tissues as different parts of the genetic 
material become active at different times. Active portions of the genetic material. 
by directing the synthesis of specific proteins, bring about the formation of 
various types of cells. Included in the genetic information of a fertilized egg 
are instructions for step-by-step development of the egg into an adult of that 
species and no other. 

Change from one generation to the next is inevitable. In living organisms 
gradual change over long periods of time is known as evolution. Evolution 
results in organisms better suited, as a population, to their present habitats 
and areas and better able to invade new ones. It may occur either linearly, 
with a single population changing through time, or through diversification, during 
which the number of species increases. Both types of evolution usually proceed 

Linear evolution, the kind that most people think of, is illustrated in an 
exhibit of oak beauty moths in New York City. Smoke and automobile exhaust 
fumes gradually darkened the trunks of trees on which the light-colored moths 
rested. As a result, they became conspicuous and were eaten by birds and 
other predators. Dark-colored moths, less vulnerable to predators, survived and 
reproduced; the population is now predominantly dark. 

Just as there is an almost unbelievable diversity of form and function among 
species of invertebrates, so there is an equally remarkable diversity of behavior. 
Form, function, and behavior are interrelated, the latter directly or indirectly 
dependent upon the first two. As form and function gained in complexity during 
evolution, so also did behavior. For example, a paramecium has a low level 





# •»• 

Model of a generalized cell, 
with all the components neces- 
sary for life (Biology of 
Invertebrates, First Floor, 
Section 9). 

Two paramecia conjugating. 
They join to exchange genetic 
material and then separate. 

i)t organization, but displays the greatest behavioral complexity possible for 
a single-celled organism; a sponge, which is multicellular, shows simple reflex 
behavior; a Starfish still is unable to learn a simple sideward turn; and a clam 
worm can learn to move along a simple maze and learn a new turn when 
the maze is altered. Bui the octopus, the leading invertebrate in behavioral 
organization and resources, has a highly developed brain and can readily modit\ 
its behavior, learning quickly, for instance, to touch a white disk for meat 
and keep clear o\' a black disk, which gives an electric shock. 

Glass model of a drop of pond water. The helmet-shaped objects are utricles 
(animal traps), the bladders of the carnivorous bladderwort plant (Utricularia 
vulgaris) (Biology of Invertebrates, First Floor, Section 9). 

Model of a common 
octopus, an example 
of a cephalopod mol- 
lusk that has lost its shell 
through evolutionary 

Modification of behavior is illustrated in the exhibit of how a flea circus 
operates. By using a conditioning technique, the trainer obtains fleas that respond 
to light by remaining quiet. By altering the lighting, he manages the selected 
fleas so that they appear to do "tricks." 

Invertebrates show group behavior patterns, from quasi-social groups, such 
as associations of protozoans responding to chemicals from bacteria, to true 
social groups with complex social specialization and organization, such as some 
wasps, social bees, and ants. Some invertebrates show cyclic, or rhythmic, 
behavior. Plankton migrate in response to daily changes in the intensity of 
light; mussels feed rhythmically in response to tidal changes; bees go to buckwheat 
blossoms when they are open in the morning, but go to clover in the afternoon 
when the preferred buckwheat blossoms close. 

An animal does not exist apart from its environment, and many diverse 
forms of invertebrates have evolved in keeping with their environments. For 
example, some are gigantic in comparison with their close relatives. The giant 
squid shown in the hall is an example. 

Animals adjust to their environments in many ways. They receive stimuli 
from the environment and, in response, may find food, avoid predators, maintain 
body processes, and find a mate. Heat energy from the sun raises their body 
temperatures and thus speeds up their body processes; for example, crickets 
chirp faster at higher temperatures. But, in order to survive, a living animal 
must have more than light and heat. It must also have food, oxygen, and salts; 
it must obtain water and excrete wastes. 

Invertebrates first evolved within the sea. As they encroached upon the 
land, they adapted to withstand the assaults of this hostile environment. Some 
found themselves already well equipped to invade a variety of freshwater and 
terrestrial environments. They became inhabitants of ponds, streams, and fields, 
and they moved into dark caves. They now live in very varied environments, 


from tropical rain forests to frigid Arctic conditions, from dry deserts to salt 

Countless species of invertebrates are of economic, medical, or aesthetic 
importance to man — insects pollinate plants, earthworms cultivate soil, shells 
are used in artwork. Some invertebrates are parasites of man. Parasites are 
organisms that live m or on another larger organism, a host, and they depend 
upon the host for nutriment. Parasites may cause disease or discomfort, but 
the) do not necessarily destroy their hosts. An example of a parasite is the 
bod) louse, which can live only on human hosts; it soon starves to death when 

The large majority of invertebrate pests are insects, and the most destructive 
of them are imported species that have left their natural enemies at home. 
Eradication of the pests is seldom possible; controlling them involves manipulat- 
ing their environment and reducing their numbers so greatly that damage from 
them is not important. One pest is the cotton boll weevil, which infests cultivated 
cotton in the United States. 

In the hall are the world-famous glass models of invertebrates created by 
the late Hermann O. Mueller of the Museum. There are protozoans, including 
the familiar freshwater amoeba and a variety of deep-sea radiolarians; rotifers, 
some of them enlarged versions of models in the exhibit of a drop of pond 
water, also a creation of Mueller; and coelenterates, including corals, sea 
anemones, hydroids, small jellyfishes, and large true jellyfishes such as the 
dangerous sea wasps. 

Under enlarged models of flashing fireflies are seven displays showing 
the nature of bioluminescence, the natural light of several invertebrates. In 
a nearby alcove are exhibits of shrimps, lobsters, and crabs — familiar crustaceans. 

Shells (First Floor, Section 2) 

Of the 50,000 species of mollusks, most have shells ranging from a fraction 
of an inch to several inches in size. Some are microscopic, but others, such 
as the giant clam, attain a length of four feet. 

The Evelyn Miles Keller Memorial Shell exhibit shows the classification 
of the major groups of living mollusks. The New York State Shell Exhibition 
identifies common mollusks of the region. 

Other Exhibits 

The John Lindsley Hall of Earth History (Fourth Floor, Section 2) shows the 
fossil past of invertebrates and the environments in which they evolved. 

Many invertebrates are shown in the habitat groups in the Hall of Ocean 
Life (First Floor, Section 10), especially the Pearl Diver group and the Bahamian 
Coral Reef group. 




Entomology is the studs of insects, arachnids (spiders and their "cousins"), 
and myriapods (centipedes and millipedes) — the terrestrial representatives of 
the great phylum Arthropoda, consisting of segmented animals with external 
skeletons and jointed leys. 

Systematica (also called taxonomy), or classification and nomenclature, 
is basic to all disciplines of biology, because no information about any organism 
is of scientific value unless the organism has been properly identified. Insects 
alone number some 850,000 species — eighty percent of all the known kinds 
of animals — and thousands of "new" ones are identified every year. The identifi- 
cation of an insect or spider is work for experts. Physiologists, behaviorists, 
ecologists, and other investigators must rely on taxonomists to name the species 
with which they are working. Since man himself is a land animal, in continual 
association with insects, dependent on them for much and competing with them 
for everything of organic origin that is useful to him, understanding of these 
animals is necessary for his comfort and prosperity, sometimes for his very 

South American tarantula and three examples of an ancient type of spider {Hypo- 
chilus sp.) from California. 




One of many species of the praying mantis, a predator of insects. 

The principal tool of systematists is a comprehensive collection of preserved 
specimens of known origin. The Museum's Department of Entomology houses 
one of the finest collections of terrestrial Arthropoda in the world. There are 
over fourteen million specimens, of which 36,000 are myriapods, 740,000 
arachnids, and the rest insects. Accumulated through gift, purchase, exchange, 
and the fieldwork of Museum expeditions, the study collection continues to 
grow, and the task of maintaining it is formidable and endless. This collection 
is not on exhibition, but is stored in laboratories on the Fifth Floor, where 
it is available, by arrangement, to scholars and qualified students of all countries. 
Members of the department are concerned chiefly with research into systematics 
and evolution. 



At present the Museum has no Hall of Insects and Spiders, but exhibits of 
insects can be found interspersed throughout those in the Museum. The origin 
and fossil history is treated in the John Lindsley Hall of Earth History (Fourth 
ROOT, Section 2). The Hall of North American Forests (First Floor. Section 
5) includes exhibits showing the importance of insects as pests and harvesters 
of trees, as links in the food chain of forest animals, and as components of 
the community of the forest floor. In the Warburg Memorial Hall (First Floor, 
Section 3) exhibits touch on insects as pollinators and pests of crops, as disposers 
of organic wastes, and as conditioners of the soil. Throughout the Museum, 
habitat groups often include a few of the most spectacular insects characteristic 
of the place represented. 

The major exhibits concerning insects, however, are in the Hall of the 
Biology of Invertebrates (First Floor, Section 9). Here the Departments of 
Entomology, Living Invertebrates, and Animal Behavior worked to illustrate, 
in effect, animal biology with invertebrate examples. 

Monarch butterfly on 
a milkweed flower, 
from which it will ex- 
tract nectar. 



Fishes have always been used by man for food, and today, as the world's 
human population is increasing, they represent an even more critical supply 
pf vital, high-quality protein food. Fishes serve man in other ways, too — as 
sources of oils, vitamins, drugs, leather, animal food, fertilizer, and many other 
products. They are important in many forms of recreation — sport fishing, 
aquarium care, and skin and scuba diving. Laboratories use them for studies 
of animal behavior, physiology, genetics, and areas of medical research, such 
as the actions of drugs. 

The Department of Ichthyology at the Museum carries out basic research 
in the classification, life history, and evolution of fishes. Scientists from all 
over the world study the nearly 500,000 specimens in the Museum's research 
collection, and students from nearby colleges and universities work toward 
advanced degrees using the resources of the department. 

Scientist examines the skeleton of a filefish. 


Cast of Latimer ia , the coelacanth, a fish belonging to a group that was thought to 
be extinct but is today found in the Indian Ocean (Biology of Fishes, First Floor, 
Section 10). 

Hall of the Biology of Fishes (First Floor, Section 10) 

The exhibits on the mezzanine of the Hall of Ocean Life are designed to show 
the structure of fishes, how they meet the special demands of their aquatic 
environment, how they find food, how they avoid enemies, how they live together 
with other aquatic organisms, and how they reproduce. A large part of the 
hall is devoted to representative models of more than 400 families of fishes, 
showing their amazing diversity and how they are related. There is a section 
depicting the worldwide distribution of fishes, and in the arches around the 
hall are models of large and seldom-seen fishes from all parts of the world. 

The term fish is generally used to describe backboned animals that swim 
by means of fins and breathe by means of gills. Actually, there are several 
varied groups of fishes that are more different from each other than mammals 
are from reptiles or birds are from amphibians. The first fishlike vertebrates 
are found in fossil rocks more than 500 million years old. These are agnathan 
fishes — they lack a lower jaw. Today the jawless fishes are represented by 
a few species of hagfishes and lampreys; the rest of the approximately 21,000 
species all have jaws. About 400 species of sharks and rays have cartilaginous 
skeletons; the remainder are bony fishes. 

The basic body plan of fishes is the same as other vertebrates. There is 


a central vertebral column with a complicated skull at the anterior, or head, 
end. The skull, which consists of main more bones than that of man, protects 
the brain and sense organs and supports the jaws and gill mechanism. There 
are two sets of paired fins, the pectoral and pelvic fins, corresponding to the 
four legs of mammals. In addition, most fishes have dorsal and ventral median 
fins as well as a tail tin. The fins and jaws are powered by muscles and supported 
by bone or cartilage. The internal organs and the circulatory, nervous, endocrine, 
digestive, excretory, and reproductive systems are specialized in various ways 
in different fishes but are not too different in structure and function from those 
of man. Four large models show the internal structures of fishes. 

Because water is many times as dense as air, fish bodies are generally 
streamlined. Since fishes can move in three dimensions, they must be able 
to detect depth pressure and to adjust their buoyancy, usually by adding or 
removing gas from the gas bladder, a modified lung that is no longer used 
for respiration except in a few specialized fishes. Other peculiarities of the 
water environment — low oxygen content, reduced light transmission, extremes 
of water motion and pressure — are reflected in the fish structure. 

Fishes live in a variety of habitats, from torrential mountain streams to 
the deepest parts of the ocean. A few species, such as the climbing perch, 
can leave the water for short periods, but all must remain moist. Because their 
eggs must remain wet at all times, fishes cannot reproduce on dry land. Each 
type of environment has special requirements that influence the form and 
physiology of the fishes. For example, fishes living in torrential streams, such 
as the hillstream loach, have special shapes and fin structures that enable them 
to remain in place without swimming constantly. 

Many deep-sea fishes have light organs. One exhibit shows a school of 
luminescent lanternfishes reproduced from specimens collected by the deep sub- 
mergence research vessel Alvin. Fishes that live in perpetual darkness in the 
depths of the ocean or in dark caves often have reduced eyes or have lost 
their sight entirely. Ordinary-appearing fishes may have physiological adaptations 
that permit them to tolerate extreme thermal and chemical conditions; for instance, 
several species living in habitats where little oxygen is available in the water 
can breathe atmospheric air. 

In order to survive, every animal must first find the environment that is 
acceptable to it, and then it must have an adequate supply of food for energ\ . 
growth, and reproduction. Fishes feed on a wide variety of other organisms, 
and their food habits are reflected in their mouth structure and general body 
shape and color. The surgeonfishes eat mostly plants, although they may require 
animal matter as well. They have specialized teeth for cutting plants and gizzards 
for crushing the walls of the plant cells so digestive enzymes can reach the 
living material inside. 


Parrotfish (top) bites off pieces of coral and turns it into fine silt. The queen triggerfish, 
here attacking a sea urchin, also has strong teeth with which it can chew coral (Biology of 
Fishes, First Floor, Section 10). 


Carnivorous fishes have a bewildering array of specializations for locating, 
capturing, and digesting their prey. Some, like the gars, have teeth designed 
for grabbing and holding, while others, such as the bluefishes and barracudas, 
have slashing teeth for cutting chunks from large morsels. Still others have 
crushing teeth for smashing shelled animals. A number of fishes that feed on 
soft-bodied organisms have no teeth in the mouth, although nearly all fishes 
have pharyngeal teeth behind the gills. The elongate face of the African 
elephantfish enables it to feed on insect larvae in muddy bottom sediments. 

By far the most common food item is other fish, and many predaceous 
species are little more than animated fishtraps. The goosefish in particular has 
an enormous mouth and a special long "fishing rod'' — actually a modified 
section of the dorsal fin — with which it attracts prey. 

Food and predation are two aspects of the same phenomenon; every species 
has its predators as well as its prey. Survival is dependent upon avoiding predators. 
Some fishes have armored skin or sharp, heavy fin spines that discourage pred- 
ators; others avoid capture by camouflage and concealing or confusing colors 
and patterns. Many can alter their colors to match their backgrounds, and others 
have special means of changing their shape. Several fishes produce venoms 
that can be fatal to man, and some, such as the electric eel and torpedo ray, 
produce electric shocks that can stun a man. Other electrogenic fishes set up 

Lophius piscatorius has a wormlike lure on its first dorsal spine that looks like 
food to a small flounder (Biology of Fishes, First Floor, Section 10). 


a weak field thai the) use for navigating and locating pre) in murks waters. 

Mere survival of the individual does not ensure survival of the species, 
for all organisms gnw old and eventually die. The only way new individuals 
ean be formed is through sexual reproduction. Reproductive processes are varied 
in fishes, who must have ways of finding mates (sometimes involving long-range 
migration to spawning grounds) and eourtship rituals to enable them to recognize 
the opposite sex of their own species. A number of fishes bear live young. 
which means they must have internal fertilization and special organs for transfer- 
ring sperm from the male to the female; some carry the developing eggs m 
their mouths. Some fishes, such as the belted sandfish, are hermaphroditic — one 
individual produces both eggs and sperms. 

Many fishes leave the fertilized eggs without further care, but others build 
nests and guard the young. The bitterling lays its eggs in the gill chambers 
of freshwater mussels; the splashing samlet deposits eggs above the water level 
and keeps them moist by splashing them with water every few minutes. One 
exhibit illustrates the life cycle of the Coho salmon, from its freshwater beginning, 
through its ocean life, to its death back in the stream where it was born. In 
each aspect of reproductive behavior, the objective is the same: to ensure that 
an adequate number of young survive to carry on the species. 

No organism occurs everywhere in the world, and so each geographic 

Mako shark, an excellent sport fish. Shark teeth grow in rows, one row replacing 
another as they wear out (Biology of Fishes, First Floor, Section 10). 

Nassau grouper hides in a coral 
reef, the most complex environ- 
ment in which fishes live (Ocean 
Life, First Floor, Section 10). 

region contains a characteristic assemblage of fishes. The salmon of the northern 
coasts, the lungfish of the southern continents, the minnow, bass, and catfish — all 
have distributions that reflect the evolutionary history of the fishes superimposed 
on the history of the earth itself. Where a fish occurs depends upon how it 
is dispersed and whether conditions are suitable for it after its arrival — questions 
of opportunity and ecology. Land masses are barriers to ocean fishes; salty 
oceans block the dispersal of freshwater fishes. There are still many patterns 
of distribution that are not understood and are continually being studied. 

The problems of finding a proper environment, obtaining food, avoiding 
predation, and reproducing are common to all living organisms. How the problems 
are solved depends upon the species. Through complex evolutionary processes, 
many different solutions have developed, and these are reflected in the more 
than 21,000 species of living fishes. The models of representative fishes in 
the hall give some insight into the diversity of variation on a common body 
plan that enables fishes to take advantage of every kind of aquatic habitat. 
Included are many rare, bizarre, and evolutionary important fishes, such as 
the rays and skates and coelacanths. From giant sharks to tiny gobies, from 
slender needlefishes to stocky anglerfishes, from sleek mackerels to lopsided 
flounders — each species is uniquely in harmony with its environment. 

Other Exhibits 

On the lower floor of the Hall of Ocean Life (First Floor, Section 10) are 
habitat groups of marine animals of all sorts, showing how they live together 
and depend upon one another. 

The Fossil Fish Alcove (Fourth Floor, Section 13) shows the evolutionary 
history of fishes from the earliest fossils. 




The branch of biology that deals with the amphibians and reptiles is known 
as herpetology. In its broadest sense, herpetology is concerned with the origin, 
evolution, distribution, and classification of the amphibians and reptiles, their 
relationships to their environment, their life histories, their habits and behavior, 
and their structures and functions. Herpetology is also concerned with the 
economic importance of amphibians and reptiles and their bearing on the activities 
of man. The study of extinct amphibians and reptiles is usually included under 

The staff of the Department of Herpetology at the Museum conducts research 
along a variety of lines, all directed toward achieving a better understanding 
of the evolution and ecology of amphibians and reptiles. Attaining this goal 
involves the integration of studies on preserved specimens in the laboratory 
(the Museum has one of the world's largest and most comprehensive collections) 
with studies of living animals in the laboratory and field. 

Gonyocephalus nigrigularis, from New Guinea, is one of the some 3000 
forms of lizards existing today. 

Young crocodile {Crocodylus acutus). Most species of crocodiles are endangered 
because man has hunted them for their hides. 

Investigation of the anatomy of preserved specimens helps to determine 
the relationships among different species and thus casts light on their evolutionary 
histories. Such studies are also pertinent to the animal's ecological relationships 
because they promote an understanding of how its anatomical features relate 
to its way of life. Studies of living amphibians and reptiles in the field (often 
of animals marked so that they may be recognized when recaptured, perhaps 
years later) reveal such facets of an animal's life history as breeding habits, 
rate of growth, food habits, movements, and longevity. Conventional anatomic 
and life-history investigations are supplemented by diverse specialized studies. 
For example, electronic instruments are used to analyze the tape-recorded vocali- 
zations of frogs; high-power microscopes enable comparisons of chromosomes 
among different species. 


Amphibians arc backboned animals with a moist glandular skin. They lack 
the protective covering of leathers or hair seen in the higher vertebrates; scales 
are rarel\ present and are then hidden in the skin. Amphibians la\ their eggs 
in water or at least in moist places on land. Most young amphibians pass through 
a tishlike. water-dwelling stage, where gills are used for breathing, before 
metamorphosing, or changing, into the adult, air-breathing form. There are 
three major groups o\' living Amphibia: eaeeilians (Gymnophiona), superficial!) 
wormlike, limbless creatures, o\' burrowing as well as water-dwelling habits, 
that live in the tropics; salamanders (Cauilaia). or tailed amphibians, usually 
having four limbs, confined to the northern hemisphere, except for several South 
American species; frogs (Salientia), including those popularly called toads, tail- 
less amphibians with relatively long hindlegs and a hopping or leaping mode 
of progression. Frogs are found on all major land areas of the earth (except 
Antarctica and Greenland) but are absent from most oceanic islands. The three 
groups of amphibians comprise a total of approximately 2500 living species. 

Hxla ebraccata is an inch-long tropical tree frog that sleeps during the day and 
hunts insects at night. 



Box turtle (Terrapene Carolina) 
lays its eggs in holes in the ground 
of the forest where it lives. 

North American tiger salamander 
(Amby stoma tigrinum) is black 
with vivid yellow markings and 
spends most of its life 

Amphibians evolved from lobe-tinned tish ancestors well over 300 million 
years ago. Some fifty million years later one amphibian stock gave rise to 
the reptiles. Thus the amphibians are classified between the fishes and the reptiles. 

Reptiles are backboned animals with dry, scale-covered skins. Many species 
give birth to live young, but most lay eggs, always on land. When the reptile 
emerges from its egg it is similar to its parents and is equipped to breathe 
air. The major groups of reptiles include: turtles (Testudinata); alligators and 
crocodiles (Crocodilia); "beakheads" (JRhynchocephalia), represented by a 
single species, the relict tuatara {Sphenodon punctatum) of New Zealand; lizards 
and sndkes(Squamata), considered units of a single group. The close evolutionary 
relationship of lizards and snakes is indicated by numerous similarities, including 
the existence of snakelike characteristics in several lizards and the retention 
of vestigial pelvic girdles in some snakes. 

Approximately 6000 species of reptiles now exist; many others have passed 
into oblivion or are known only from their fossilized remains. The reptiles 
flourished at an early period of their evolution, well over 200 million years 
ago. The original stock gave rise to a variety of forms, including the dinosaurs. 
Other stocks led independently to the warm-blooded mammals and birds. Manx 
stocks, including the larger "ruling reptiles," failed to survive. The modern 
reptiles include a few species of great size — some marine turtles may reach 
a ton in weight, and crocodiles twenty-four feet in length may weigh even 
more. The largest surviving lizard is scarcely ten feet long, but some snakes 
are thought to exceed thirty feet. 


New exhibits depicting the biology of amphibians and reptiles are under construc- 
tion, and at present there is no specific area in the Museum devoted to these 
animals. There are many amphibians and reptiles in habitat groups in other 
halls, however. For example, a sea turtle is shown with a shark in the Hall 
of Ocean Life (First Floor, Section 10). A frog sits on the edge of a pond 
in the Warburg Memorial Hall (First Floor, Section 3). A rattlesnake is in 
a cypress swamp in the Hall of North American Forests (First Floor, Section 
5), and other snakes are shown in the mammal and bird halls. 

The ancestors of the reptiles are shown in the Dinosaur Halls (Fourth Floor, 
Sections 9 and 13). 







- <i 


The science of bird study in all its aspects is known as ornithology. A major 
task o( the ornithologist is to describe and name the birds of the world and 
to arrange them into species, genera, families, and higher categories of kinship. 
About 8700 species are known. There is still much to learn concerning the 
evolutionary relationships of the families and orders of birds. New methods 
in systematics, as applied to populations of closely related birds, are constantly 
leading to a better understanding of the process of evolution. 

Migration, homing, direction-finding — the whole range of a bird's behavior, 
to the extent that it is modifiable by learning — as well as its genetics and its 
adaptations, are today being intensively studied by critical experimental methods, 
both in the laboratory and in the field. Quantitative and statistical techniques 
have largely replaced random observation. Computers, electron microscopes, 
and other new tools are facilitating broader approaches to many problems. 

As a result of their striking characteristics, living birds offer a very fruitful 
subject for research in animal behavior. Because of these advantages, and the 
numerous scientific advances made by ornithologists, many universities are add- 
ing trained ornithologists to their biological faculties. 

The Museum has about one million bird specimens in its collection. With 
such a large collection, dating from many years ago to the present and aided 
by field and aviary studies, all aspects of bird biology and evolution can be 
studied. An important side result of such collecting has come from the study 
of the collection of eggshells. Those of a hundred years ago are thicker and 
stronger than those of today; the change is a result of the extensive use of 
DDT and other pesticides. 

Domestic goose hatching from an egg (Biology of Birds, First Floor, Section 19). 


European cuckoo lays its 
eggs in the nest of another 
bird. The young cuckoo 
pushes out the other nest- 
lings. Here a garden 
warbler pushes food down 
the throat of the much 
larger young cuckoo (Biol- 
ogy of Birds, First Floor, 
Section 19). 

The Whitney Wing (Section 19) 

The Whitney Wing of the Museum was built in the 1930s as a joint gift of 
Harry Payne Whitney and the City of New York. It is wholly occupied by 
the Museum's Department of Ornithology. Two of the seven floors of the wing 
are devoted to public exhibits. 

Sanford Hall of Bird Biology (First Floor, Section 19) 

The Sanford Memorial Hall of Bird Biology is devoted to exhibits illustrating 
the structure, descent, classification, and behavior of birds and their relation 
to man. The exhibits deal with fundamental scientific problems. There are also 
examples of all the families of birds from penguins to finches. 

A large exhibit of tropical water birds in flight against a sunset sky faces 
the entrance of the hall, and a number of other habitat exhibits show beautiful 
and spectacular birds, extinct species such as the dodo, and certain extraordinary 
aspects of reproductive behavior. 

A number of remarkable fossil birds are exhibited. Among them is the 
toothed swimming bird, Hesperornis, which lived in the age of dinosaurs sixty 
million years ago. Some bones and an egg of Aepyornis, the so-called "elephant- 
bird," are shown. This bird was the heaviest known, weighing about 1000 
pounds. With it is shown the skeleton of a hummingbird, the smallest bird 
in the world. 

Other exhibits in the hall display aspects of bird life, such as evolution, 
distribution, and migration. One alcove depicts the cultural and economic value 
of birds to man. 


Whitney Memorial Hall of Oceanic Birds (Second Floor, Section 19) 

The displays in the Whitney Memorial Hall of Oceanic Birds represent the 
bird life of far-flung islands of the Pacific Ocean, from the Arctic nearly to 
the Antarctic and from the coast of Peru to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. 
The painted backgrounds are all the work of one artist, the late Francis Lee 

The spectator has the illusion that he is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean 
viewing scenes in every direction for hundreds or even thousands of miles. 
From a common horizon linking the painted backgrounds of the habitat groups, 
the sky appears to rise above the exhibits to the blue dome forming the ceiling. 
Suspended from this sky are examples of oceanic birds in flight. 

In the hall are many of the world's most remarkable birds — the rare honey- 
creeper of Hawaii, the extinct moa of New Zealand, the unique tooth-billed 
pigeon of Samoa. The habitat groups in which these birds are shown depict 
many of the romantic or historic islands of the Pacific — the Marquesas Islands 
where Melville's Typee was located, Corregidor and Guadalcanal of World 
War II fame, the Galdpagos islands that were visited by Darwin in 1835. 

Birds of New York City (Third Floor, Section 13) 

Despite the great congestion of buildings in the New York metropolitan area, 
a large variety of birds is still to be seen there. The number of nesting species 
is dwindling, however, as more and more marshes and other favorable habitats 
fall before the spread of business and residential construction. This very restriction 
of habitat, though, leads to some remarkable concentrations of migratory birds. 
Central Park in particular has long been favored in this respect, and over 200 
species of birds have been recorded in this oasis of greenery in mid-Manhattan. 
The exhibit, located next to the Hall of North American Birds, includes 
most of the more than 300 species of birds that are known to occur with reasonable 
regularity in the New York area. 

Roosevelt Sanctuary Group (First Floor, Section 12) 

In the entrance hall of the Roosevelt Memorial Building on the first floor is 
a group showing many of the summer birds found in the Theodore Roosevelt 
Bird Sanctuary at Oyster Bay, Long Island, an area now administered by the 
National Audubon Society. 

Hall of Birds of the World (Second Floor, Section 2) 

Birds live in all parts of the world, from mountaintops to the high seas, as 
is apparent in the Hall of the Birds of the World. The habitat groups show 
a great variety of birds of all sizes, colors, and habits. Their attributes are 
the result of adaptation to all sorts of environments. The habitat groups show 


Greater bird of paradise in Papua, New Guinea. Once killed by the thousands 
for their beautiful feathers, the birds are now protected (Oceanic Birds, Second 
Floor, Section 19). 

Varied seabirds on a cliff on Little Diomede Island in Bering Sea. Murres, 
guillemots, puffins, auklets, gulls, and cormorants come here each summer to 
lay their eggs and rear their young (Oceanic Birds, Second Floor, Section 19). 

v ftk £fw 

Brandt's cormorant 
with its young at a nest- 
ing site near Monterey, 
California (North 
American Birds, Third 
Floor, Section 1). 

Swainson'shawk, still 
quite young, practices 
flapping its wings until 
it is strong enough to fly 
and catch prey for itself 
(Biology of Birds, First 
Floor, Section 19). 


Little blue heron stand- 
ing at its nest in the 
Cuthbert Rookery of 
the Everglades National 
Park (North American 
Birds, Third Floor, 
Section 1). 

such birds as king penguins on the frozen shores of South Georgia Island in 
the Antarctic, cranes assembled at a lake in the Gobi Desert (collected by Roy 
Chapman Andrews of dinosaur-egg fame), scintillating copper pheasants on 
the lower slopes of Fujiyama in Japan. 

Birds are certainly among the most noticeable and attractive of living crea- 
tures. Like man, they are active by day and their sight and hearing are the 
most important of the five senses. Because of these traits they are easier to 
study than many other living things. 

Chapman Hall of North American Birds (Third Floor, Section 1) 

The Chapman Hall of North American Birds, on the third floor, was built 
in the early 1900s under the guidance of Frank M. Chapman. It was the first 
hall in any museum in the world devoted to the habitat type of group display. 
The hall was renovated during the 1960s, but many of the exhibits are essentially 
the same as when they were first installed. 

The hall exhibits many of the species that comprise the rich bird life of 
North America. Large, dramatic, and endangered species are featured, although 
there are intimate displays of warblers and other smaller birds. 

The hall contains the world's only habitat exhibit of the extinct labrador 
duck, of which fewer than fifty specimens exist in the collections of the world. 
Among the dwindling or endangered species included are the American, or 
bald, eagle, the peregrine falcon, the California condor, and the whooping crane. 


Other Exhibits 

Various other exhibits in the Museum contain birds. For example, the Nile 
Riser Group in the Akeley Hall of African Mammals (Second Floor, Section 
13) contains a fine specimen of the rare and remarkable shoebill, or whale-headed, 
stork. In the balcony of the same hall is a group showing a famil) of ostriches, 
the young just hatching from huge eggs, the parents concerned with the approach 
oi a group of warl hogs — enemies of the eggs and young. Nearby is a group 
depicting vultures and other scavengers at the carcass of a zebra. 

Youne ostrich just after hatchiniz in the Ostrich-Wart Hoe Group of the African 
Hall Gallery (Third Floor, Section 13). 




W m 



/ i 

• A v ''*l P . 


A mammal is a warm-blooded, backboned animal with fur or hair. The young 
arc fed with milk by the mother. Mice, cats, dogs, horses, elephants, whales, 
monkeys, and men are mammals. Birds, snakes, frogs, turtles, and fishes all 
have backbones but are not mammals — they have neither fur nor hair nor do 
the) nurse their young with milk. 

The Department of Mammalogy is devoted to the study of mammals — clas- 
sification, development (including growth and size), distribution, adaptation to 
environment, abundance, and many other areas of research. Field and laboratory 
investigations are reported in both scientific and popular publications. 

The department is also responsible for the accuracy of the mammals in 
exhibits in the various halls, where representative mammals from all parts of 
the world are shown in the environments in which they live. Natural habitat 
exhibits have a multiple purpose: the visitor sees the animal at home, he 
appreciates the relationship between the environment and the kind of creature 
that can live in it, and he should realize the necessity of preserving such environ- 
ments if the animals themselves are not to be driven out of existence. Thus 
the aims of both education and conservation are served. 

Musk oxen, with long, dense fur and hair, are especially adapted to live in cold 
climates (North American Mammals, First Floor, Section 13). 


Minks, members of the weasel family, are ranch-raised for their valuable fur (Cor- 
ridor of Small Mammals, First Floor, Section 13). 

Hall of North American Mammals (First Floor, Section 13) 

The varied environments and habitats of North America are shown in the displays 
of the larger mammals. The cold of the tundra, home of caribou and musk-ox, 
the craggy peaks where mountain goats and mountain sheep dwell, and the 
vast evergreen forests inhabited by moose exemplify some of the northern regions. 
Brown bears are shown in Alaska at a salmon stream, grizzlies at the edge 
of a canyon in Yellowstone National Park, and black bears in the cypress swamps 
of Florida. The vast herds of bison that once covered the western plains together 
with fleet pronghorn antelope are exhibited in the center of the hall. 

The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River is the setting for the mountain 
lion group, while America's largest cats, jaguars, are shown at dusk in arid 
Sonora, Mexico. A much smaller cat, the lynx, is shown tracking a snowshoe 
hare in Canada. 

Closer to home, white-tailed deer are exhibited in a setting near New York 
City, while the mule deer and the wapiti are displayed in typical western settings. 

In the corridors on the sides of the hall other characteristic North American 
species — coyotes, beavers, skunks, squirrels, opossums, foxes, porcupines, rac- 
coons, and jackrabbits — are shown in typical habitats. 

At one end of the hall an illuminated map shows the migration routes 
taken in past ages by animals moving between Asia and North America. At 
the other end of the hall, two miniature dioramas show animal life of North 
America in ages past. 


^ A 

Indian leopard. Both Indian and African leopards eat large birds such as this pea- 
fowl and mammals such as wild pigs and gazelles (Asian Mammals, Second Floor. 
Section 9). 

Corridor of Small North American Mammals 
(First Floor, Section 7) 

Many of the smaller and uniquely American mammals are displayed in this 
corridor in small habitat settings. Some of the more valued fur-bearers — mink, 
wolverine, marten, and muskrat — are exhibited in settings from the Canadian 
tundra to the Louisiana marshes. The black-footed ferret, one of the rarest 
and most endangered of American mammals, is shown peering into the burrow 
of its principal prey, the prairie dog, while nearby the common woodchuck 
of the eastern United States peers watchfully over the hillsides of upstate New 

North America has a wide diversity of natural habitats, and the mammals 
living in them vary as well. The nine-banded armadillo, an invader from the 
south, and the piglike peccary are shown in warm southwestern habitats. In 
cooler areas are a flying squirrel in the northern Rockies and a Kaibab squirrel 
on snow-laden pines in northern Arizona. 

Among the other habitats displayed here are Mount Katahdin in Maine, 


the first place in the United States touched by sunrise each morning, (rater 
Lake in Oregon, the Grand Tetons of Wyoming, and Death Valley, California; 

these are the homes of weasels, martens, badgers, and kit foxes. 

Vernay-Faunthorpe Hall of South Asiatic Mammals 
(Second Floor, Section 9) 

In South Asia man's huge populations and wildlife have come sharply in conflict, 
and as a result, the future existence of many species is in doubt. In the Vernay- 
Faunthorpe Hall are a number of these gravely threatened mammals, including 
the tiger, the Indian and Sumatran rhinoceroses, the Asiatic lion, the leopard, 
and Eld's deer. Some have been decimated by hunting, but most are now 
threatened by the destruction of the habitat they need for survival. Among 
these are several kinds of deer and antelope, including sambar, swamp deer, 
and blackbuck. 

Asia has also been the source of many domesticated mammals. The wild 
water buffalo, the gaur, and the banteng each have domestic relatives, and 
the Asiatic elephants have long been domesticated for use in the lumber industry 
and for ceremonial occasions. 

Among the more unusual Asiatic mammals in this hall are the four-horned 
antelope and the termite -eating sloth bear. 

Akeley Hall of African Mammals (Second Floor, Section 13) 

Africa today is the home of vast assemblages of large and fascinating mammals. 
The diverse habitats — desert, forest, savannah — are occupied by particular 
species, some of which still occur in huge numbers. The Akeley African Hall 
displays the fauna and flora of many of these regions with startling and dramatic 

Gemsbok, once widely 
distributed in south- 
ern Africa, are now 
common only in dry 
parts of the Kalahari 
Desert (African Mam- 
mals, Second Floor, 
Section 13). 

African lions in the Serengeti. They prefer the open country where there is long 
grass for cover and game is plentiful (African Mammals , Second Floor, Section 13). 

Some of the numerous species of antelopes are exemplified by the greater 
kudu with spiraled horns, the gemsbok with its rapierlike horns, and the giant 
sable with gracefully curved horns. The Serengeti Plains group shows a mixture 
of hoofed animals in a natural gathering — zebras, eland, wildebeest, Thomson's 
gazelle, Grant's gazelle, topi, and Coke's hartebeest — sheltering under acacia 
trees to escape the midday sun. 

Mountain gorillas in their high humid habitat, okapis in the low rain forest, 
and bongo in bamboo forest are examples of the fauna of these regions. Lions, 
mountain nyala, and giant eland are shown in typical habitats in drier regions. 
The Nile group and the water hole group each show representative species 
congregating to drink, including giraffes, kob, zebras, waterbuck, lechwe, and 
roan antelope, as well as some that make their homes in or near water such 
as the sitatunga and hippopotamus. 


Gorilla shown in a clearing of the 
dense rain forest of the Kivu 
Mountains (African Mammals, 
Second Floor, Section 13). 


East African elephants, alert to danger, huddle to protect the young. One 
checks odor with its extended trunk, while another checks the rear (African 
Mammals, Second Floor, Section 13). 

The center of the hall is dominated by a herd of African elephants in 
alert formation. The great bull's trunk is raised to test the air for scent, while 
a younger animal wheels about to cover the rear of the herd from possible 

Akeley African Hall Gallery (Third Floor, Section 13) 

From the Gallery of the Akeley Hall one can look down on the African elephant 
herd as if in a machcm — the tree platform so frequently used for observation 
in Africa. Around the hall are habitat groups of many intriguing mammals, 
including both kinds of African rhinoceroses — the square-lipped and the black. 
The fastest of the cat family, the cheetah, is shown alertly watching some 
nyala in the background. Another cat, the leopard, stalks a bush pig at a river's 

Reticulated giraffes and oryxes at 
1 12 a water hole, where plains animals 

gather to drink during the dry seasc 
(African Mammals, Second Floor, 
Section 13). 

Tree-living langur 
from southeastern 
Asia (Biology of 
Primates, Third 
Floor, Section 2). 

At dusk several chimpanzees start constructing their nightly sleeping plat- 
forms, while deep in the central rain forest a band of bright-faced mandrills 
forages on the ground. In another treetop group a troop of colobus monkeys, 
dramatically colored black and white, feeds on vegetation. 

In a South African setting, a herd of springbuck "pronks" by the now-rare 
black wildebeest and blesbok. In the Serengeti of Tanzania, scavengers assemble 
over a zebra kill — vultures, hyenas, and jackals will make short work of the 

Hall of the Biology of Primates (Third Floor, Section 2) 

Man, apes, and monkeys all belong to the same group — the primates. With 
mounted animals, skeletons, and diagrams, the Hall of the Biology of Primates 
shows the range of specialization of primates from tree shrews to man. 

Lemurs and tree shrews are considered primitive primates. Lemurs are 
found primarily in Madagascar, and some of them, such as the aye-aye, are 
endangered species because their forests have been destroyed. 

Of the several monkey families, two are from South America: the marmosets 
and the cebids. Some of the latter have a prehensile tail, most developed in 
such groups as the spider monkeys. The Old World monkeys have many charac- 
teristics in common that are not found in New World monkeys. They have 
specializations for leaf-eating and ground-dwelling, they have bare patches of 
skin over the bones on which they sit, and none uses its tail as a fifth hand. 

The apes — chimpanzees and gorillas from Africa, orangutans and gibbons 
from Asia — are the primates most closely related to man. Exhibits in the hall 
show the evolutionary development of the structures, reproductive systems, kinds 
of locomotion, and habits of the primates. 

iimpanzee, from equatorial Af- 
ia, is chiefly vegetarian but will 
Jl and eat some small animals 
Mogy of Primates, Third Floor, 
ction 2). 


Blue whale is the largest living mammal. The model weighs ten and a half tons; 
a real animal this size would weigh 100 tons (Hall of Ocean Life, First Floor, 
Section 10). 

Other Exhibits 

The Hall of the Biology of Man (First Floor, Section 4) shows further details 
of the evolutionary development of man. 

The Hall of Ocean Life (First Floor, Section 10), dominated by the great 
model of a blue whale, shows habitat groups of many mammals living in marine 


Animal Behavior 


6 fik '-/*f M 

























Most visitors are unaware that the Museum houses a large laboratory devoted 
entirely to the study of living animals. This is the Department of Animal Behavior, 
located on the Sixth and Seventh Floors of the African Wing and on the Fifth 
Floor of the School Service Building. Although these areas of the Museum 
are not open to the general public, they are used by high-school, college, and 
graduate students for training in the methods of studying animal behavior. The 
staff of the department is also available for consultation when important problems 
concerning animal behavior arise. 

About four decades ago, Museum authorities in their deliberations concern- 
ing Museum policy decided that while a major function of the institution would 
continue to be the census, classification, and structure of animals, the relationship 
of the various animals to each other and to their surroundings was an equally 
important endeavor. Museum scientists should investigate and exhibit not only 
what animals do, but also why and how they behave as they do. Thus the 
Department of Animal Behavior was established so that specialists in animal 
psychology and biology could study these aspects of natural history, be available 
for consultation in the planning of new exhibits, and participate in various 
training programs. 

Hand-feeding a mealworm to a starling. The bird was taking part in an experi- 
ment on vision. 

Hi«£« !S! 

wmm ^m 


Much can be learned by the scientist when he observes how animals behave 
in their natural surroundings. Field studies, however, have very definite limita- 
tions. It is generally difficult, for example, to rearrange the surroundings so 
that a given aspect of behavior can be studied reliably. Laboratory study offers 
an opportunity to follow up, to supplement, or to correct ideas developed in 
the field. Also, many important problems must be brought into the laboratory 
if they are to be studied at all. For example, some species of fish live in water 
so muddy that they can be seen only when the seine brings them to the surface. 
They can be collected in the field, but their way of life remains hidden except 
to laboratory study . For reasons such as these, the Department of Animal Behavior 
has a laboratory designed to keep animals alive and in good health so that 
their behavior can be observed and analyzed under suitable conditions. A large 
greenhouse situated on the roof has aquariums for warm-water fishes and facilities 
for other tropical animals. There are nest quarters for birds; there are rooms 
with controlled lighting so that animals can be placed in reversed daylight cy- 
cles — thus nocturnal animals can be studied during the day. There are special 
heat- and humidity-controlled rooms and other means of regulating surroundings 
to meet the conditions needed for each type of animal and problem. 

Scientist examines a male mouth-breeding fish used in studies of reproductive 


The departmental program is focused upon the important problem of behavior 
development in the individual and in the species and upon the evolution of 
behavior. Physiological mechanisms involving brain, nerves, glands, and hor- 
mones arc studied along with social factors, previous experience, and the general 
influence of an animal's surroundings upon its behavior. All of these affect 
the animal* s behavior to some extent — the question is how. Somewhat as the 
evolution oi animals is reflected in changes from simple to more complex struc- 
tures, we find among animals an evolution of behavior from the simple, forced 
movements characteristic of one-celled forms to the elaborate behavior patterns 
and mental capacities characteristic of mammals and man. For a proper under- 
standing of the evolution of behavior it is necessary to studv a variety of behavior 
patterns in verv different animals. Thus, as the departmental program progresses, 
living quarters are provided for many types of animal under studv. including 
mollusks, insects, fishes, amphibians, birds, and various species of mammals. 

Grav spinv -backed mice in a simulated environment in the laboratory. These 
mice are born at an advanced stage of development, unlike laboratory or house 
mice, to which thev are related. 




S W ' 




Anthropology is both a natural and a social science in that it deals with man 
as a biological and as a social creature. To treat the various aspects of so 
vast a subject, the held is divided into four scientific disciplines: physical 
anthropology, archeology, ethnology, and linguistics. 

Physical anthropology studies man's evolution, the classification of the 
past and present racial variations of man, and all aspects of human biology. 
It studies the cultural and environmental factors that shape the physical characteris- 
tics o\' a population. Ethnology is the science of culture, that body of learned 
behavior including all of man's knowledge, beliefs, and customs, his social 
organization, institutions, and crafts. Archeology analyzes the artifacts of ancient 
cultures. Working with objects whose material is imperishable, such as tools, 
pottery, and building foundations, the archeologist attempts to reconstruct cultures 
of remote times. The fourth specialty, linguistics, is the scientific analysis of 
language and the laws controlling it. 

While these four fields are separate, they are closely interconnected. They 
augment and amplify each other, while offering four perspectives upon their 
common subject, man. The research interests of the anthropologists on the 
Museum's staff reveal the breadth of the field. They range from the study 
of man's prehuman ancestors to an investigation of the Indian caste system 
as it relates to certain sociological and economic factors. They include the 
ancient cultures of Mexico and Peru, as well as the primitive cultures of today, 
and the effect upon them of increasing contact with modern civilization. 

Baby is born head-first through the narrow pelvic opening into a doctor's hands 
(Biology of Man, First Floor, Section 4). 



Heads of man's ancestors show the changes of skull structure. The heads are re- 
constructed from fossil fragments and therefore the features can only be surmised 
(Biology of Man, First Floor, Section 4). 

Biology of Man (First Floor, Section 4) 

The Hall of the Biology of Man presents man as a species — his relationships 
to other members of the animal kingdom, his evolutionary history, and his 
functions as an organism. 

Man belongs to the zoological order of primates, which also includes prosi- 
mians (lemurs, lorises, and bushbabies), monkeys, and apes. The order falls 
into the larger categories of mammals and vertebrates. The earliest primates 
presently known existed in the last part of the Cretaceous Period, at the time 
of the last dinosaurs (64-60 million years ago), but their fossil remains consist 
of no more than a few teeth. The earliest primate of which some anatomical 
knowledge is known is Plesiadapis, a primitive form that lived in North America 
and Europe during the Paleocene (64-58 million years ago). Plesiadapis was 
rather squirrellike in many of its adaptations and possessed front teeth similar 
to those of modern rodents. 

During the Eocene (58-36 million years ago) much more modern primates 
lived, in many ways similar to the present lemurs. By Oligocene times (36-25 
million years ago) the first of the higher primates had appeared. All the fossils 
of Oligocene higher primates were found in the Fayum depression in the Egyptian 
desert, which contains both monkeylike primates and a primitive ancestral ape. 


The ancestors oi the modern apes were well established b> the Miocene 

(25-14 million years ago), but not until the \er\ end of the Miocene and the 
beginning of the Pliocene (14-5 million years ago) were there primates that 
can be included in the zoological family of man, Hominidae. Only fossil fragments 
of this form, Ramapithecus, have been found, but the pieces of jaws and teeth 
show that Ramapithecus is of, or close to, the ancestry of man. Comparative 
studies of these early teeth and jaws and living primates show that the line 
leading to man probably differentiated from that culminating in modern apes 
because its members adopted a new set of feeding habits, especially in that 
they ate small, tough morsels that required strong teeth for grinding before 
ingestion. It is unlikely that Ramapithecus was an erect biped; certainly the 
enlargement of the brain that characterizes modern man took place at a much 
later date. 

A few remains of Australopithecus from the beginning of the Pleistocene 
(about two million years ago) have been found in South and East Africa. Aus- 
tralopithecus probably walked erect, but its brain was much smaller than man's 
(about 500 cubic centimeters, the size of a modern gorilla). It manufactured 
stone tools, an important step in development. 

At some time during the Middle Pleistocene (less than a million years 
ago) members of man's genus, but of a different species, began to appear. 
Brain size has grown since Homo erectus, but the oldest remains of his limb 
skeleton are virtually indistinguishable from those of modern man. Men of 
the "Neandertaloid" type existed later, with large brains but still possessing 
archaic skull features. The picture of the emergence of modern man is still 
unclear, but men of a completely modern type appear to have evolved in the 
Near East and spread into Europe about 30,000 years ago. Human occupation 
of North America was much more recent. 

Man as a biological organism is discussed in detail in the hall. Man is 
made up of combinations of different kinds of cells, which have different func- 
tions. The resultant systems interact and function to maintain a viable human 
being. The muscles and skeleton together provide support and protection for 
the body, and the ability to move. The nervous system, controlled by the brain, 
controls responses to stimuli of all sorts — including the senses, sight, hearing, 
touch, smell, taste. 

Man has many glands, which together form the endocrine system. Glands 
send out secretions called hormones to various parts of the body to regulate 
the development and functioning of the organs. The pituitary gland controls 
many functions, especially physical growth and sexual development. Other impor- 
tant glands are the thyroid, the pancreas, the adrenals, and the gonads. 

The digestive tract is composed of a long tubelike structure and various 
accessory organs. The muscular action and the chemicals of the stomach break 


ansparent model of a woman showing the internal organs and structures 
iology of Man, First Floor, Section 4). 

down food, sending what remains through the intestines. Nutrients are absorbed 
Into the bloodstream, wastes are sent to the bladder and lower intestine for 
excretion. The kidneys and liver aid in these processes. 

Through the respiratory system, air is taken into the lungs and oxygen 
is sent into the bloodstream. The circulatory system sends oxygenated blood, 
pumped by the heart, to all parts of the body, where the oxygen and nutrients 
are used and the blood is sent back for replenishment. 

All of these body functions are detailed in the hall, and the various systems 
are brought together in their anatomical context by a transparent model of a 
woman, in which all the components are precisely located. 

Human reproduction is accomplished by the joining of a male cell (sperm) 
with a female cell (ovum). The embryo grows in the female uterus and is 
born after forty weeks. The hall shows the stages in this intrauterine development 
and shows how the baby is born. 

Other Exhibits 

The Hall of Primates (Third Floor, Section 2) shows the immediate ancestors 
of man. 

Enlarged cross section 
of a kidney, showing 
the fine network of 
capillaries and neph- 
rons, necessary for fil- 
tration (Biology of 
Man, First Floor, 
Section 4). 

Bronze sculpture from Dahomey in west Africa. A court procession is accompa- 
nied by a band playing musical instruments (Man in Africa, Second Floor, Section 1 ) . 

Man in Africa (Second Floor, Section 1) 

Although the Man in Africa Hall deals largely with the past, it can help to 
give a better understanding of the present by showing the heritage that remains 
and influences the character of new nations and that, in the New World, gives 
Afro-Americans an individuality of their own. 

Present evidence suggests that man had a very early beginning in Africa 
more than two million years ago and may have first appeared there. As man's 
brain developed, his cultural behavior began to specialize, and he started to 
make tools. He had to adapt to the environment in order to serve his own 
needs, and his social evolution resulted in response to this adaptation. A band 
of men, which is small and able to change composition and size, best meets 
the needs of a hunting, nomadic society, where the family is the only social 
unit. When man begins to cultivate land, his whole social life changes radically 
because he settles in one place. Africa has such a multitude of environments 
that adaptation to them took on many forms. Man had to relate to the desert, 
the forest, the grasslands, and the river valleys. The hall is separated into sections 
dealing with each of these. 

The nomadic existence on the desert depends on seasonal variations that 






Berber desert nomads, who live near the Atlas Mountains of Morocco (Man in 
Africa, Second Floor, Section 1). 

may place water and food sources far apart. Water shortage has led to several 
forms of cooperative organization, as has the unifying influence of Islam, which 
has spread far since the Holy War in the seventh century. Nomadic Kalahari 
Desert Bushmen are shown in the hall. Their severely simple life sharply contrasts 
with the richness of their dream world. 

The rain forest stretches from coastal Guinea to the central Congo and 
the edge of the eastern grasslands. The first hunters and gatherers in this area 
lived in harmony with the forest. Later immigrants, accustomed to open country, 
felt threatened by the forest and cut it down to allow sunlight to reach their 
crops and ward off evil. Men living in the forest rely on many aspects of 
spiritualism to give meaning to their lives. Kings rule by virtue of descent 
from semidivine ancestors. Masks and other sacred objects impart power through 
divinity. Music is the prime means by which the living can commune with 
the spirit world. Dance reinforces traditional beliefs and values, even on occasions 
that appear purely festive. Magic is a science, both for prevention of harm 
and for its cure. Tribal doctors know many effective medicines, and even their 
"charms" arc helpful because they offer a needed sense of security to the 


Pygmy youths from the Congo area will not grow to more than four and a half feet 
tall . They live and hunt in traveling bands (Man in Africa, Second Floor, Section 1). 

patient. Different objects showing the spiritual aspect of African life are shown 
in the hall. 

Farming in the forest is arduous, as new fields must be cleared. But organiza- 
tion is not required, and so the villages are autonomous. Common crops such 
as manioc, beans, plantains, and peanuts deplete the fields in two or three 
years. Because of their oil palm cultivation, which does not deplete the soil, 
the Mangbetu have retained the centralized state organization with which they 
settled their area over 1000 years ago. 

The Bira and the Lele fear the forest as a hostile world that perpetually 
hinders their efforts at cultivation. To defend themselves against competing 
neighbors and evil forest spirits, they use magic, witchcraft, and sorcery. Ritual 
propitiation of the forest, and the water in the case of fishermen, is vital for 
cultivation and hunting. 

One diorama shows a band of Mbuti pygmies, where each member of 
the group has a specific job depending on his age and sex; the hunting and 
gathering is a cooperative effort. 

The grasslands, mostly in east and south Africa, were formerly occupied 


by nomadic hunters. The land is now divided between farmers and herders, 
each scorning the other's way of life. Herders usually remain loosely organized, 
whereas the cultivators have sometimes organized into powerful, complex states. 

Traditional African societ\ is based on kinship — from the family to the 
clan to the tribe, with a single imaginar\ ancestor. A strong central authority 
rose with an expanding population and an increasingly complex social organiza- 
tion based on agriculture. The chief eventually becomes king. Women have 
an important place in farming, government, and ritual, where they are the diviners 
and doctors who influence the fertility of the earth. Economic and political 
prestige and authority are enjoyed by women all over Africa. Inheritance is 
frequently through the female line. A large exhibit details the role of women. 

A group of grassland herders, the Pokot of northwest Kenya, are shown 
bleeding a calf. The blood is used for food. 

Africa's river valleys have always been important. Civilizations flourished 
along the Nile, the Niger, the Congo, and the Zambesi because the rivers sim- 
plified trade and travel and the rich riverbanks produced surpluses for the settled 
farming communities leading to economic specialization and political expansion. 
Behind a facade of autocratic rule, the Niger kingdoms were essentially democra- 
tic. Along the Zambesi the Zulu state developed mostly through conquest, and 
the Lozi grew more gradually through riverine farm bases. 

States rose in the Congo Basin bringing unity and peace, cultivating the 
arts, and creating splendid royal courts. Dynastic Egypt on the Nile relied on 
agriculture with a good annual surplus to support the many nonfarming groups 
such as priests and craftsmen. Pharaoh was deified but was outside the social 

Bira man paints his body 
to resemble the sacred leo- 
pard for a male initiation 
ceremony deep in the for- 
est (Man in Africa, 
Second Floor, Section 1 ). 

Masks are used for many 
functions, usually to sym- 
bolize a person, animal, 
god, or emotion. Shown 
here is a Senufo mask used 
for rites in a women's so- 
ciety (Man in Africa, 
Second Floor, Section 1 ). 

hierarchy that characterized the state. Social mobility was common, and men 
of humble origins often rose to key posts. Ethiopia is a Christian country, 
but the religion has retained its archaic form somewhat resembling Eastern 
Orthodoxy. Regionalism and warfare, due to rough, irregular terrain, marked 
Ethiopian development until unity in the nineteenth century. 

Africans transported to the Americas as slaves brought elements of African 
culture with them, and some traditions are still apparent today in the southern 
United States. The institution of slavery in North America tried to undermine 
African tradition by dividing families and destroying cultural patterns. However, 
much of what is African, particularly the broad concept of family with its 
focus on the mother, has been retained by the Black American as part of his 
own identity. 

Other Exhibits 

The Akeley Hall of African Mammals (Second Floor, Section 13) shows the 
variety of landscapes and animals found on the African continent. 


Peoples of the Pacific (Fourth Floor, Section 8) 

The Hall of the Peoples of the Pacific shows the remarkable diversity of cultures 
found in the South Seas. The people of these areas may once have been related, 
but their geographical distance from one another led to great variations. The 
main cultural areas represented in the hall are Polynesia, Micronesia, Melanesia, 
Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. 

Polynesians, "people of the many islands," was the name given by European 
navigators to the tall, golden-skinned people found on every habitable island 
from Hawaii in the north to New Zealand in the south and Easter Island in 
the east. Polynesian origins have long been a subject of controversy. Earlier 
theories of their voyages from the Asian mainland or from the Americas have 
been replaced by the current feeling that they developed some 2000 years ago 
in eastern Melanesia and were subsequently dispersed. 

Polynesian groups were remarkably similar both racially and culturally. 
Many had been separated for so long that they did not know of each other's 
existence, yet many spoke mutually intelligible languages and shared the same 
myths. Such myths attributed their origins to an emergence through a long 
series of births from paired personifications of natural forces or to long evolution- 
ary sequences. 

Masks made of local materials from New Ireland, an island of the Bismarck archi- 
pelago east of New Guinea (Peoples of the Pacific, Fourth Floor, Section 8). 

The basis o( social organization was descent groups, and chieftainships 
were based on genealogical descent and relationships to sacred places of the 
ancestral gods. Political organization responded flexibly to differences in land 
and population sizes. Gods and men, objects, and descent groups were ranked 
and had mana, supernatural efficacy, in different degrees. A system of tapu — 
from which the English word taboo derives — governed the respect demanded 
for them. Polynesian religion was based upon a belief in an ordered universe; 
if the order were violated, disaster would result, if it were observed, prosperity 
would reign. 

Technology was primarily based on wood, with a great dependence on 
the coconut palm. Material for clothing was made of the beaten bark of the 
paper mulberry. Yams, taro, and sweet potatoes were grown with only a digging 
stick for a tool. Clubs, spears, and axes were used in warfare. 

There was some variation of the homogenous culture patterns of the people. 
Each island culture had its special extravagances: the enormous stone statues 
of the Easter Islands (a cast of one is at the back of the hall); the clubs and 
paddles of the Cooks and Australs that were carved beyond the possibility of 
use; the feather capes of the Hawaiians, woven of pairs of wing feathers plucked 

Black snake totem burial ceremony of the Warramunga tribe in Australia 
(Peoples of the Pacific, Fourth Floor, Section 8). 

%. ,.^| 



from individual birds that were then released; the elaborate Samoan kava cere- 
monial; the dried tattooed human heads from New Zealand. All of these are 
shown in the hall. 

Micronesians, "people of the small islands" (about 2500 islands west of 
Polynesia and north of Melanesia), are a brown-skinned people much more 
diversified than the Polynesians. Status defined by well-established lineage was 
the political base, with descent rigidly fixed through the female line. Leadership 
was vested in membership in high-ranking lineages. Land was owned collectively 
by descent groups or, In cases of unused land or unlimited reefs or lagoons, 
bv districts. Scattered homesteads or small hamlets were the rule. 

The inhabitants of the high islands — Saipan, Truk, Ponape, Guam, and 
some large islands like Yap — had fertile land and ample resources for farming 
and fishing. Those who lived on the low islands — the tiny windswept atolls 
— depended more on fishing and coconuts. 

The coconut had many uses. Dried coconut meat was drained of oil, making 
copra, which was used for cooking. Copra-making is now a substantial industry 
in the Pacific — the oil is also used as a cosmetic base. The fibers of the coconut 
were braided into rope called sennit. 

Melanesians, "black islanders," was the name given to the dark-skinned 
peoples of New Guinea and surrounding islands, east as far as Fiji and north 
to the Bismarck Archipelago. Nowhere else is there such diversity of culture, 
language, religion, and physical type. New Guinea itself has a population of 
about two million people speaking more than 500 different languages, and the 
rest of the area numbers only another two million. 

Political authority rarely extended beyond very small units of clan, ward, 
or village. "Big Men" achieved status through mobilization of food for extensive 
feasts. Magic and sorcery were highly developed, and the division between 
men and women was particularly strong. Pigs formed the basis of feasting 
and wealth, except where turtles and large sea mammals were sometimes avail- 
able. Beyond such similarities, the differences in the cultures were staggering. 
Some aspects of many of them are shown in the hall. 

A scale model of Pere, a village in Manus, is a microcosm of one of 
these culture patterns. It shows the fishing village exactly as it appeared in 
the 1920s. The people have since moved from living in stilt houses in the 
lagoon to houses on the land. 

The first aborigines settled in Australia at least 26,000 years ago, having 
traveled over water from Southeast Asia. They have always hunted, especially 
with the boomerang and spear-thrower, and collected wild foods rather than 
farmed. Group decisions, particularly when involving conflicts and marriage 
arrangements, are made largely on the basis of known kin relationships, which 
also guide daily decisions about sharing food and locating camps. 

All Australian aborigines share a belief in sorcery, and most groups have 


Hawaiian feather cape. 

The crescents represent 
the rainbow, symbol of the 

aristocrats who wore these 
capes (Peoples of the 
Pacific, Fourth Floor, 
Section 8). 

Wooden feast bowl carved 
by Maoris in New Zealand 
(Peoples of the Pacific, 
Fourth Floor, Section 8). 

individuals who practice white or black magic or both. The people have a 
variety of rituals, myths, music, and visual arts. Myth is fused with religious 
life, so that many rituals are reenactments, set to song and dance, of mythical 

The two great archipelagic regions of Indonesia and the Philippines have 
contributed significantly to the long, complex history of Asia. Today, almost 
all the area of the two archipelagos makes up the modern republics of the 
same name. In the past, the peoples shared the same traditions, which have 
now evolved into ones specific to the various regions. 

Many aspects of their life style are similar. Agriculture has long been 
practiced, especially cereals and root crops. Rice, grown both in dry fields 
and on irrigated terraces, is the staple food. Rice cultivation provided a base 
for specialization of work, stratification of society, and elaboration of architecture 
and ceremonies. Religion was characterized by a close communication between 
the spirits of the living and the dead. Social differentiation was determined 
by wealth and family rank. 

Such implements as the kris and bolo were common throughout, with both 
Indie and Islamic styles of manufacture and design. Textiles, especially the 
batik process, were important both economically and culturally. Examples of 
these arts are on display. 

The peoples of the Pacific are still sharing many cultural and economic 
similarities. They are all facing the impact of Western civilization and its 
encroachment on traditional values. 

Other Exhibits 

Landscapes of many of the Pacific Islands are shown in the habitat groups 
of the Hall of Oceanic Birds (Second Floor, Section 19). 

Shadow puppet from Bali. Made 
of leather, such puppets cast 
their shadows on a screen during 
dramatic presentations (Peoples 
of the Pacific, Fourth Floor, 
Section 8). 

Eskimo (First Floor, Section 7) 

The Eskimo live in small groups scattered over the arctic and subarctic coasts 
and islands of Greenland, Canada, Alaska, and the eastern tip of Siberia. They 
now number less than 40,000. The earliest known Eskimo ancestors lived on 
the shores of the Bering Sea at least 5000 years ago. Their cultural remains, 
consisting of hundreds of small flint tools discovered at Cape Denbigh, Alaska, 
are known as the Denbigh Flint Complex. The principal roots of modern Eskimo 
culture rose in the Bering Strait region of Alaska about 2000 years ago. The 
Thule phase of Eskimo culture developed about 1000 years ago on the arctic 
coast of Alaska. It spread rapidly across arctic Canada to Greenland, resulting 
in considerable similarity of Eskimo customs and language. 

The traditional culture portrayed in this hall is a way of life that existed 
until the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It has since changed in many 
ways due to contact with the dominant cultures of Denmark, Canada, the United 
States, and Russia. Characteristic traits of that culture are a response to the 
challenge of the harsh arctic environment — dependence on sea mammals, use 
of dogsleds and skin-covered boats, a religion centering on the powers and 
rites of shamans, and other traits depicted in the hall. 

Interior of a Copper Eskimo snowhouse. Air is heated as it rises to the platform 
where the occupants live (Eskimo, First Floor, Section 7). 

The Eskimo tribes of Canada, with the exeeption of the Mackenzie, are 
collectively called the Central Eskimo. The Yuit, Alaskan, and Mackenzie are 
the Western Eskimo, and the Greenland Eskimo are lumped together. There 
are some cultural differences among the groups, but the similarities are more 

The Eskimo lead migratory lives because of the effect of seasonal variations 
on game, on which they rely for almost all aspects of life. Sea mammals and 
caribou are used for food and clothing. Seals are harpooned from kayaks or 
through their breathing holes in the ice; walrus are lured to the edge of the 
ice; caribou are driven toward concealed hunters or into a lake or river where 
they are killed with lances. Kayaks, an excellent example of which is shown 
in the hall, are made from pieces of driftwood and walrus hide. The Greenland 
and Western Eskimo made special waterproof clothing and fitted the jacket 
over the rim of the manhole of the kayak; the boat could be overturned and 
righted again without shipping water. 

Dogsleds are used for traveling overland in winter. The runners of the 
sled are glazed with ice to reduce friction. The Central Eskimo live in snowhouses 
in winter; the Western and Greenland Eskimo use them as temporary shelters 
erected when traveling. A Copper Eskimo snowhouse model is in the hall. 
Fresh air enters the house through an entrance tunnel and rises to the level 
of the lamp where it is warmed. Stale air is released through a small hole 
in the roof. Thus, while the air at floor level is well below freezing, it is 

Eskimo art made of soapstone and 
ivory from a walrus tusk (Eskimo, 
First Floor, Section 7). 


reasonably comfortable on the platform where people sit, work, and sleep 
A block of freshwater ice is used for a window. Polar Eskimo houses of northern 
Greenland are made of stones covered by sod and another layer of stones 
They are heated in the same way as the snow houses. 

Traditional household utensils are made of various parts of sea mammals. 
Perhaps the most ingenious is the blubber lamp, an adaptation to an environment 
where wood is scarce. The lamp itself is made of soapstone. The heat from 
a lighted moss wick on the front edge of the lamp melts blubber placed to 
the rear, and oil flows forward to the wick. 

Most Eskimo clothing is made of caribou and seal skins. Caribou skins 
are preferred because they are strong, light, and have excellent insulating qualities. 
In winter the Eskimo wear an inner and outer set of clothes, generally similar 
in construction except that the inner set has hair facing inward to maintain 
a layer of warm air between the wearer and the outer wall of the garment. 
In summer the outer set is taken off. 

The distinctive skill of the Eskimo craftsman lies in his ability to produce 
weapons, clothing, boats, and other articles to cope with an extremely difficult 
environment using sparse raw materials and a few simple tools. Raw materials 
consist chiefly of pieces of driftwood and animal products such as bone, ivory, 
sinew, and hides. The joining together of small pieces of wood and bone by 
skillful pegging and lashing is characteristic of Eskimo craftsmanship. Carvings 
in stone, bone, ivory, and wood are known from prehistoric periods, but the 
production of sculpture increased on contact with Europeans who, appreciating 
their artistic and exotic nature, purchased them. Modern Eskimo produce sculpture 
and other works of art of noteworthy quality. 

Eskimo religion reflects the uncertainty of the food supply. Important deities, 
as well as the souls of animals, are believed to control the supply of game, 
and must be placated to assure success in hunting. Masks and drums are used 
in religious rites, and several are shown in the hall. 

Eskimo adaptation to a harsh environment involves a knowledge of nature 
and a set of techniques that have been developing for millenia. This traditional 
way of life is rapidly changing and nothing can save it. The Eskimo may survive 
and grow as a people, but the archetype of the self-reliant hunter living solely 
on the meager resources of the Arctic is from another era; it has disappeared 
in this one. 

Other Exhibits 

The marine mammals on which the Eskimo depended are shown in their icy 
habitats on the lower level of the Hall of Ocean Life (First Floor, Section 
10). Some of the land mammals are shown in the Hall of North American 
Mammals (First Floor, Section 13). 





Haida canoe hollowed from the trunk of a cedar tree (First Floor, Section 2). 

Northwest Coast Indians (First Floor, Section 1) 

The major part of the Northwest Coast geographic and cultural area lies along 
the coast of Canada and Alaska. The climate is mild, though, because the 
entire area is warmed by the southward-flowing offshore Japan Current. The 
seasonal rainfall is heavy, forests are dense, and there are many streams. The 
Indians who lived in the area shared many of the same cultural traits, and 
the hall points out these similarities, as well as the differences. The tribes 
of the area depended greatly on the wood and bark of the cedar tree for many 
uses, especially houses and canoes. The great 64 Vi foot Haida war canoe in 
the Seventy-Seventh Street Lobby was hollowed from the trunk of a single 
cedar tree. Canoes of this size were used for war parties or for making ceremonial 
visits. The figures represent a chief of a neighboring tribe, the Chilkat, with 
his followers coming to share a feast. The paddlers are slaves from other tribes 
of the region. 

With their extraordinary skill in woodworking, Indians of the Northwest 
Coast made towering wood totem, grave, and house poles that are unique in 
aboriginal North America. The same skill, which produced original artistic styliza- 
tions, is found in the weaving, basketry, and carving of stone and ivory. Their 
clothes were woven of cedar bark, and the wood from these trees was used 
for many everyday objects. 

The Indians had an abundance of food in the ocean and streams and growing 
wild, and thus did not practice agriculture; dogs were the only domesticated 


animals. The Indians were very dependent upon fishes and sea mammals fof 
food. They had many religitOUS rites direeted toward spirits of the sea, and 
they held a series of elaborate religious dramas during the winer. 

The Haida inhabited the Queen Charlotte Islands and the southern part 
of Prince of Wales Island, Alaska. The Haida were almost totally dependent 
upon the sea, whieh was reflected in their religion. Most of their prayers and 
offerings were directed toward the "Ocean Beings,' ' who were believed to 
embody themselves in fishes and sea mammals and thus affect the food supply. 

The Haida traveled by sea from one end of the Northwest Coast to the 
other, adopting customs of other tribes. They had a unique skill in their carving 
of slate, however, into beautiful boxes, pipes, and miniature totems. 

The Tsimshian lived on the mainland of British Columbia, mainly on the 
Nass and Skeena Rivers. They became noted traders because they lived in 
a strategic location. The Tlingit to the north were the source of copper for 
the Northwest Coast; the Kwakiutl to the south traded slaves and the coveted 
dentalium shells; the Haida had sea otter furs. 

The Bella Coola lived on the upper reaches of Dean and Burke channels 
and the lower parts of the Bella Coola River in British Columbia. Their principal 
food was salmon, but berries, abundant in the summer, were pounded into 
a pulpy mass, dried in the sun, and eaten in the winter. 

Totem, grave, and house poles along the hall show grotesque human and animal 
forms (Northwest Coast Indians, First Floor, Section 1). 


4 u 




• ♦♦.♦»♦.. , 

♦♦♦♦♦.♦,» -««< 

■ ♦♦' 

Thompson women weaving a basket (left) and preparing the hide of an elk 
(right) (Northwest Coast Indians, First Floor, Section 1). 

The Thompson and Lillooet belonged to the plateau culture area to the 
east of the Northwest Coast. Culturally, these tribes were very different from 
those of the Northwest Coast. They ate land mammals, used less wood, and 
wore clothes of animal skins. Social and religious organization was much less 
elaborate than that of Northwest Coast tribes. The Lillooet were the intermediaries 
in the trade between the Northwest Coast and the interior, and thus were exposed 
to Northwest Coast culture patterns, some of which they adopted. 

A number of Salishan-speaking tribes inhabited the Northwest Coast from 
the Gulf of Georgia south to Oregon. All the tribes (the Comox. the Cowichan. 
the Klallam, the Quinault, the Snuqualmi, and the Twana) had cultural traits 
characteristic of the Northwest Coast to varying degrees. 

The Tlingit occupied the southeastern coast of Alaska from Yakutat Bay 
to British Columbia, except for the southern part of Prince of Wales Island, 
which was inhabited by the Haida. Slavery was prominent among the Tlingit; 
about one-third of the population was Coast Salish slaves. Tlingit ceremonies 
centered around the stages in the life of noble people, such as receiving names, 
coming of age, etc. Elaborate potlatches (a general term for a variety of cere- 
monies) were held, where a huge amount of valuable property would be destroyed 
or given away. In this way an individual would acquire social status for himself 
and his family. Although temporarily pauperized, he would soon become richer 
because rifts had to be returned with interest. 


The Kwakiutl lived on the northern pail of Vancouver Island and in adjacent 
areas. An outstanding feature of their culture was the Winter Ritual, an elaborate 
four-month ceremony that gained for uninitiated youths the protection of a super- 
natural being. Upon initiation the youths became members of the secret society, 
which was probably started b\ the Kwakiutl and spread throughout the Northwest 

The Nootka lived in independent villages on the west coast of Vancouver 
Island. No single leader or tribal council ruled them, but villages often united 
into confederacies for war or defense. Fishes and sea mammals were the basic 
food, but the Nootka were one of the few tribes that hunted for whales. Paintings 
of family gods and ancestors were executed on house fronts and board screens 
inside the houses of chiefs and heads of families; they were displayed only 
at ceremonies. 

Today the culture of the Northwest Coast Indians has largely disappeared. 
The Indians still live in their original villages, but in modern houses. They 
work in the local industries — fishing, lumbering, and canning. Many of their 
wooden artworks, especially the totem poles, have simply rotted in the wet 

Indians of the Plains (Third Floor, Section 4) 

The Plains encompassed the territory from Canada to Texas between the Rocky 
Mountains and the Mississippi River. It was the home of such tribes as the 
Sioux, Apache, Blackfoot, Mandan, and Arapaho. The ancestors of the Plains 
Indians had inhabited the region for 10,000 years before the coming of the 
Europeans. The historical tribes were primarily hunters of the large herds of 
buffalo that were then plentiful. In the Eastern part of the area they also practiced 

The Spaniards brought the horse to the New World and by the seventeenth 
century had established stock-raising settlements. The Indian tribes living nearby 
learned about horses, their equipment, and the techniques necessary for their 
use. The horse revolutionized buffalo hunting for the Indians. Instead of chasing 
the animals on foot, they were now able to pursue the herd on horseback. 
They also had greater mobility, as the horse could transport household equipment 
over long distances. Thus a new way of life was established, based on the 
horse and the hunting of big game, that reached its peak early in the nineteenth 
century. Then, as the European settlement extended westward, the efficient 
buffalo rifles of the newcomers drastically reduced the herds upon which the 
Indians depended. The tribes were economically decimated by the near extermina- 
tion of the buffalo. 

Nomadic tribes lived in tipis the year round. Farming-hunting tribes lived 
in tipis when following buffalo in the summer; the rest of the year most of 


Crow Indian costume made of skins and 
decorated with porcupine quills (Plains 
Indians, Third Floor, Section 4). 

them lived in earthlodges in permanent villages. A tipi housed a man, his wife 
(or wives), and children. It consisted of a semicircular cover of about fourteen 
buffalo hides placed over a framework of about nineteen poles arranged to 
form a cone. The earthlodge was a dome-shaped structure forty to fifty feet 
in diameter. More permanent than the tipi, it lasted from seven to ten years 
and housed several related families. 

The nomadic tribes of the Plains lived almost entirely on buffalo meat, 
which was often made into pemmican, a preparation of meat, fat, and chokecher- 
ries. The skins of buffalo and other animals provided clothing until the late 
nineteenth century, when commercial cloth was used. 

The art of the Plains Indians is represented by the quill and beadwork 
with which they decorated the objects used in daily life. The women were 
skilled in creating geometric designs of porcupine quills and glass beads (obtained 
from Europeans), while the men painted realistic scenes of warfare on skins. 

Ritual ceremonies were an important part of Plains Indian culture. Aspects 
of many of them are shown in the hall, such as in the diorama of the ceremonial 
Blackfoot tipi, where the Indians are participating in the Thunder Pipe Ceremony. 
The Sun Dance was celebrated annually by most tribes, usually during the 
tribal gathering for the summer communal buffalo hunt. The calumet, a wide- 
spread institution in the Plains, was a reed decorated with feathers. When given 
by one person to another the calumet symbolized adoption. The term came 
to be applied to the pipe that was smoked at the conclusion of a peace treaty, 
the peace pipe. The Wawan, the calumet ceremony of the Omaha, is shown 
in the hall. 


The shaman, or medicine man, played an important role among the Plains 
Indians, who believed that success could he gained with the help of supernatural 
power obtained in a vision or dream. To receive such a vision, people went 
to isolated places where they fasted, prayed, and sometimes cut o\'\' part of 
a finger to gain the sympathy of a supernatural being, who would bestow powers, 
such as the ability to manipulate the weather, to predict the outcome of battle, 
or to cure disease. Most shamans used their powers to benefit others, but some 
engaged in sorcery. 

Music was a part of most Plains Indian activities. Singing, accompanied 
by drums and rattles, was essential to the exercise of supernatural powers. 
Indians sang at religious ceremonies, at social dances and games, and to prepare 
for war, hunting, and the planting of crops. 

Most Plains Indian tribes had several men's organizations. The function 
of these societies was to foster a spirit of daring and courage in warfare. The 
ceremonies of some societies were primarily religious and were believed to 
contribute to the tribal welfare. In a few tribes the women had similar societies. 

Ceremony to the god Thunder at an alter in front of the fire in a Blackfoot tipi 
(Plains Indians, Third Floor, Section 4). 

Before the introduction of the horse, Plains Indians hunted buffalo on foot, often 
by driving a herd over a cliff (Plains Indians, Third Floor, Section 4). 

Games played by the Indians included foot and horse racing, archery con- 
tests, and gambling on all contests, where the stakes were frequently high. 

The nomadic hunting life of the Plains Indians led to frequent intertribal 
contacts. Because they spoke different languages, they developed an efficient 
system of sign language. Warfare among the tribes was common, however, 
and winning war honors was as important as the practical concerns of defense 
or the capture of booty. Each tribe recognized a graded series of courageous 
deeds, known as coups, such as taking a life or scalp or stealing a bow or 
horse. The greater the number of coups to his credit, the greater a man's prestige. 

The present life of the Plains Indians, whose numbers are now increasing 
after a period of population decline, differs radically from that of buffalo days. 
Many Indians now participate successfully in every aspect of American life, 
but some, handicapped by poverty and inadequate education, have not. The 
transition from a nomadic hunting culture to full participation in a modern 
industrial society has been difficult. 

Other Exhibits 

The landscapes and animals among which the Plains Indians lived are shown 
in the Hall of North American Mammals (First Floor, Section 13). 


Eastern Woodlands Indians (Third Floor, Section 4) 
The Hall of the Indians of the Eastern Woodlands portrays the life of the American 
Indians who lived in the wooded eastern parts of what is now the United States 
and Canada. The first settlers, known as paleoindians, lived about 12,000 years 
ago. They hunted big game and probably lived in small nomadic bands. The 
paleoindian period was succeeded by the archaic period, when Indians still 
depended upon hunting and gathering, but with improved hunting implements 
such as the atlatl, or spear-thrower, and the bola. 

During the burial mound period (1000 BC to 800 AD), the Indians became 
farmers as well as hunters, cultivating the principal New World crops — maize, 
beans, and squash. There was considerable artistic development, as shown in 
pottery and carved stone pipe, especially during the Hopewell culture (500 
BC to 500 AD) of the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. 

The period of the temple mound builders (900 to 1500 AD) was characterized 
by ceremonial centers featuring a high mound surmounted by a temple. In 
the final phases of this period, which ended with the beginning of European 
settlement, the Indians began to live in compact walled towns, indicating a 
time of hostility between tribes. 

When the first European explorers arrived on the eastern seaboard at the 
end of the fifteenth century, Indian culture was flourishing over all the Eastern 
Woodlands. In the succeeding 350 years many of the tribes were annihilated 
by disease and warfare; others were driven west of the Mississippi River. A 
few tribes were later assigned to reservations in their aboriginal territories. 

Many aspects of the daily life of the Eastern Woodlands Indians are illustrated 
in the hall. One of the best-known artifacts was the birchbark canoe. It was 
ideal for traveling in the heavily wooded and well-watered northern parts of 
the Eastern Woodlands. Light enough to be carried easily on men's shoulders 
and drawing only a few inches of water, the birchbark canoe could carry two 
or three tons of crew and freight. Both men and women participated in making 
the canoes. 

Most aboriginal clothing was made of animal skins, but after contact with 
Europeans cloth was often substituted. Women made textiles and produced 
designs with the spaced-weft, warp pattern method. The women also made 
pottery, but after the introduction of European utensils, the art of pottery-making 
all but disappeared. 

Beads of seashells, known as wampum, were originally used in ceremonies 
and were woven into belts to record important events. The European settlers 
found that Indians would exchange furs for wampum, and it began to function 
as a medium of exchange. For a time wampum was legal currency in the colonies. 

In the Eastern Woodlands war consisted of brief raids made by small groups 
of men who sought personal glory or vengeance. The bow and arrow, the 


club, and the knife were the principal weapons. Equally important to the Eastern 
Woodlands warrior was war medicine — various small objects believed to be 
endowed with supernatural powers. 

Throughout the Eastern Woodlands, the Indians believed that shamans had 
the ability to control disease by the use of supernatural powers. Ceremonies, 
such as those given by the Iroquois False Face Society, involved curing and 
spiritual purification. Tobacco was sometimes smoked for pleasure, but it was 
considered sacred and was used mostly in religious ceremonies. Dreams played 
an important role in Indian life. Through dreams came hunting rituals, war 
chants, and other sacred messages. 

The Eastern Woodlands Indians lived principally by hunting, fishing, gather- 
ing wild plants, and cultivating small farms. Although their implements were 
simple, hunters and fishermen had an intimate knowledge of forest animals 
and fish, which helped their efforts. Most tribes cultivated maize, beans, pump- 
kins, squash, gourds, sunflowers, and tobacco. Women did almost all the farm 
work except for clearing the land. When the first corn ripened in the summer, 

Cherokee women harvesting and husking corn. Men are responsible for clearing 
the land, women for planting and harvesting (Eastern Woodlands Indians, 
Third Floor, Section 4). 


Birchbark canoe, the most important means of travel along the waterways of the 
Eastern Woodlands (Third Floor, Section 4). 

a ceremony of thanksgiving was held — the Green Corn Dance. This annual 
ritual, which marked the beginning of the new year, was a time of amnesty 
and forgiveness. 

Although there were basic cultural similarities among the tribes of the 
Eastern Woodlands, the variety of their activities, depicted throughout the hall, 
illustrates the diversity of the many tribes. This cultural individuality was a 
source of tribal identity and pride for the early Indians and it underlies the 
same sentiments of their modern descendents. 

The Eastern Woodlands Indians are now increasing in population after 
a period of decline and are participating fully in American and Canadian life. 
Although the bulk of Eastern Woodlands culture has vanished, the modern 
Indians still maintain some of their old customs, which serve as a source of 
identity and satisfaction and which are reminders of a proud and ancient heritage. 

Other Exhibits 

The Warburg Memorial Hall (First Floor, Section 3) shows the area where 
some Eastern Woodlands Indians lived, and the Hall of North American Forests 
(First Floor, Section 5) shows different kinds of woodlands in the east. 


Mexico and Central America (Second Floor, Section 4) 

The Hall of Mexico and Central America attempts to give the visitor an impression 
of the ancient civilizations that existed in these regions before their discovery 
by Europeans in the sixteenth century. Composed of various peoples such as 
the Olmec, the Maya, the Aztec, and others less well known, the civilizations 
endured for about 3000 years — from 1500 BC to 1520 AD. Legendary history, 
written down at the time of the conquest, reaches back to only about 1000 
AD in central Mexico, so our knowledge of most of the history is based on 
archeology — the finding and excavation of ancient sites and the study of the 
objects that have been preserved. 

The archeological history of Middle America, or Mesoamerica, as it is 
often called, is divided into three major periods: the Preclassic (1500 BC to 
1 AD), the Classic (1 to 900 AD), and the Postclassic (900 to 1520 AD). 
The hall shows objects of all the cultures of these periods. 

The Olmec of the Preclassic period, the beginning of civilization in Middle 
America, were noted for their very large sculptures and for their extraordinary 
jade carvings, such as a colossal stone head and a notable jade axe. 

The Maya culture of the Classic period was one of the largest and most 
spectacular of the regional developments. In the hall are casts of large stone 
sculptures with elaborate carving and hieroglyphic inscriptions, objects from 
the great "city" of Teotihuacan located north of modern Mexico City, and 
stone sculpture, ceramic figurines, and vessels from central Vera Cruz. 

The Toltec culture was in the early Postclassic period, followed by the 
Aztec, the dominant people until the capture by Cortes in 1520. The outstanding 
object in the hall, because of its size, is the copy of the so-called Aztec Calendar 
Stone, the best known of all Aztec objects. 

Aztec stone of the sun. 
often called a calendar 
stone. The symbols re- 
late to the sun, to which 
human sacrifices were 
offered (Mexico and 
Central America, Second 
Floor, Section 4). 

Gold objects found in 
Peruvian tombs were 
once used as body de- 
corations by rulers of 
the area (Mexico and 
Central America, Sec- 
ond Floor, Section 4). 

Cultures of other regions of Mexico and Central America are represented 
in the hall. There are numerous fine examples of the ceramic sculpture of western 
Mexico and the stone carvings of the state of Guerrero. From Oaxaca, a distinctive 
cultural center that played an important role in the history of Middle America, 
are elaborate Zapotec funerary urns and a full-size facsimile of one of the painted 
tombs of Monte Alban. From the Huasteca, a region of northeastern Middle 
America, are delicate pottery figurines and a distinctive style in stone sculpture. 

In an alcove just outside the entrance to the Hall of Mexico and Central 
America is a special exhibit of gold objects and jewelry made by the pre- 
Columbian peoples of the New World. This was the gold that so excited the 
European explorers and conquistadores of the sixteenth century. The objects 
here — from Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, and Mexico — were 
all found in graves; almost no gold remains of the treasures carried back to 
Europe by the conquistadores. 

Jade necklace from the 
Olmec culture. The 
longer pendants are in 
the form of jaguar claws 
(Mexico and Central 
America, Second 
Floor, Section 4). 


Men of the Montana (Second Floor, Section 3) 

The area of tropica] rain forest stretching from the foothills of the Andes eastward 
to the border of Brazil is known as the Montana. This area of Peru and Ecuador 
is the home o\' a number of Indian tribes. Despite the fact that these tribes 
live very near the Andes, they are much more closely related to other Amazonian 
tribes than they are to the ancient [ncas. 

Within the Montana there is an important environmental contrast between 
.ucas of rugged hilly terrain cut by narrow streams and low, Hat areas lying 
along the larger rivers. Riverine tribes rely more heavily on fishing than on 
hunting, and are serious cultivators. They also have larger and more nearly 
permanent villages. On the other hand, tribes living in higher terrain away 
from the rivers do more hunting than fishing and are less careful cultivators. 
Moreover, their settlements are smaller and are moved more frequently. 

The slash-and-burn method of cultivation, which is practiced throughout 
the Montana, is depicted in the hall, along with the various crops grown by 
this means. Bows and arrows, blowguns, traps, harpoons, and other implements 
used to subsist are also shown. 

Ceremonies, which are common among Montana tribes, are generally 
accompanied by the consumption of large amounts of manioc or maize beer. 
Important stages of the life cycle are marked by ritual observances, and one 
exhibit case shows a young Conibo girl undergoing puberty initiation. 

Warfare, once widespread in the Montana, still occurs among remote tribes. 
In some raids, heads are taken, the best-known headhunters being the Jivaro 
of Ecuador. Not only do they cut off their enemies' heads, they also shrink 
them to about the size of a fist. Two shrunken heads are shown in the exhibit. 

Decorative art in the Montana is quite well developed among such tribes 
as the Shipibo, Conibo, and Piro of the Ucayali River. These tribes apply 
a series of complex geometric motifs to pottery and textiles, engrave them 
on artifacts of wood and bone, weave them into beadwork, and paint them 
on their faces and bodies. 

Most tribes of the Montana perforate their lips, noses, or ears for the 
insertion of a variety of ornaments. The Shipibo and Conibo seek to enhance 
their appearance further by artificially flattening their heads. 


General Ecology 


Ecology is the stud) ot the relationships of living things with one another and 
with their nonliving physical environment. Plants and animals of various kinds 
live almost everywhere, both In the water and on land. Their distribution, how- 
ever, is neither uniform nor random. The ranges of green plants are controlled 
largelv hv climate and the chemical constitution of the soil, both of which 
are modified by the configuration of the landscape. The ranges ot animal species 
depend directlv or indirectly on the distribution of particular plants. Parasitic 
and saprophytic (scavenger) plants resemble animals in this respect. 

The face of the earth is a vast patchwork of irregular and ill-defined areas, 
great and small, within which the physical environment is roughly uniform. 
Each area has developed its own characteristic assortment of green plants, w hich, 
in turn, support a characteristic variety of animals and dependent plants. Such 
a dynamic association of organisms constitutes a "biotic community." So 
strongly does the environment affect its inhabitants that communities half a 
world apart, though composed of different species, look very much alike, provided 
the climate, soil, and topography are similar. 

The number of species in a biotic community reflects the climate and 
the variety of available "niches" — places to live and resources upon which 
to draw . The gentler the climate and the richer the assortment of niches offered, 
the more species of organisms that can simultaneously inhabit a region. No 
two species can fill exactly the same niche; sooner or later one will eliminate 
the other. 

Polar bears are now threatened w ith extinction because they have been hunted from 
airplanes (Hall of Ocean Life, First Floor, Section 10). 

Wolves have been killed off in many places by man because they are predators, re- 
sulting in an ecological imbalance among their former prey species (North Ameri- 
can Mammals, First Floor, Section 13). 

Coral reefs and tropical forests are the world's most complex biotic com- 
munities. Salt lakes and arctic tundras are among the simplest; resources are 
few, and physical conditions are so harsh that not many organisms can tolerate 
them. Individuals of adapted species, however, are often exceedingly numerous. 
Whether of few species or many, the "biomass, ,, or total quantity of living 
substance in the community, is as great as the physical environment allows, 
and fluctuates with the seasons. 

The interdependence of species within a community is nowhere better illus- 
trated than by the "food web." Green plants are the primary source of food. 
In the presence of light they can build their own tissues out of nonliving materi- 
als — air, water, and minerals from the soil. Herbivorous animals feed on the 
plants. Inhabitants of dark environments such as caves and deep water are depen- 
dent on organic materials that reach them from lighted places. Carnivorous 
animals, both predators and parasites, eat the herbivores and one another. Scaven- 
gers and nongreen plants subsist on the wastes and dead bodies of other organisms. 
Ultimately, microbes in the soil complete the reduction of complex organic 
substances to simple compounds that green plants can use. Nothing is ever 
wasted. Recycling is not a human invention — it is the order of nature. 

The number of individuals of any one species that a community can support 
is inversely proportional to their size. The territory of a fox is home to hundreds 
of mice and millions of insects. For every sulfur-bottom whale there are countless 
billions of krill; one whale daily harvests tens of thousands of them without 
appreciably affecting the total krill population. 

The importance of organisms to one another is obvious; their importance 


in taping the physical environment is easily overlooked. Oxygen, vital to ani- 
mals, is the gift of green plants — a by-product of photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide, 
a by-product of respiration in both animals and plants, is suffocating to animals. 
During daylight green plants remove it from air and water and use it in the 
manufacture of sugar. A ground cover of vegetation protects soil from erosion 
and ensures the absorption of rainwater. Plants draw water out of the soil and 
transpire (exhale) it into the air, where it is eventually precipitated as rain 
or snow. The coral reefs and atolls of warm seas are built by generations of 
small polyps that extract their building materials from seawater. The limy shells 
of other marine creatures, accumulated on the ocean bed for eons, are incorporated 
into sedimentary rocks. Uplifted to the surface and weathered for millenia, 
they become constitutents of alkaline soils. A beaver dam creates a pond. 
Earthworms, ants, and other burrowing animals open the soil to air and water. 
Trails worn by the feet of animals become runoff channels, then gullies. Tree 
roots growing in crevices can split the rock and help to level mountains. The 
physical world would evolve slowly, even without living inhabitants, but plants 
and animals hasten the changes and influence their direction. 

Of all animals, man has most greatly affected his environment. He is naturally 
adapted to a wide variety of biotic communities and is able to alter others 
to meet his requirements. When man was rare and modest in his demands the 
community functioned smoothly, supplying his needs and disposing of his rubbish 
without endangering other species. This no longer happens. Man is now so 
overwhelmingly abundant, so insatiably demanding, and so ingenious in exploit- 
ing the environment that most other organisms are incapable of surviving in 
his company. Man-made environmental changes are so great, so sudden, and 
so extensive that evolution cannot keep pace with them. Organisms whose accus- 
tomed environment has been disrupted must find other homes or die, and the 
number of possible places of retreat grows smaller each year. By the natural 
laws of community dynamics, if the human population continues to grow, the 
whole world must ultimately become a single ecological community inhabited 
almost solely by man and the few plants and animals best suited to supply 
human food. In the end, if man does not voluntarily curb his rate of reproduction, 
famine will control the population. 

Our best hope of avoiding this bleak future lies in learning to accept ourselves 
as members of an ecological community in which each participating species 
and every aspect of the physical environment plays a necessary role. We must 
take no more out of the environment than the community can replace and put 
no more in than the community can absorb. Unfortunately, we do not yet have 
sufficient knowledge of any of the communities in which we live to use them 
optimally, with maximum benefit to ourselves and minimum disadvantage to 
our fellow organisms. The work of ecologists in gaining that knowledge is 


Walrus on an ice floe in the Arctic. The large tusks are used to plow up the ocean 
floor in search of mollusks and other invertebrates (Hall of Ocean Life, First 
Floor, Section 10). 



- > 


of the most immediate and practical importance, not only for saving all the 

species that still share the planet with US, but also for preserving our own 
species from catastrophe. 

There is no Department of Ecology at the Museum, but members of many 
of the departments are involved with research in varied ecological fields. 

Felix M. Warburg Memorial Hall (First Floor, Section 3) 

The Warburg Hall shows a multitude of biotic communities in one area — Pine 
Plains, a typical rural area in Dutchess County, ninety miles north of New 
York City. Here is shown something of the geological history of the region 
and of its natural biotic communities, as well as the story of man's impact 
on the land — his establishment of artificial communities, their eventual abandon- 
ment, the development of new natural communities on the exhausted soil, and 
their gradual reversion to the original forest. Examining this one small area 
in detail reveals natural laws that govern all the biotic communities of the 

Hall of North American Forests (First Floor, Section 5) 

In the Hall of North American Forests one type of biotic community — the 
forest — is analyzed and dissected. The variety of this type of community, from 
northern Mexico to central Canada, is seen in eleven habitat groups. Many 
aspects of the internal workings of the community and of external influences 
upon it, including man's use of the forest, are shown in a number of smaller 

Hall of Ocean Life (First Floor, Section 10) 

In the Hall of Ocean Life are several habitat groups of all sorts of animals 
living in marine environments. These include invertebrates, fishes, birds, reptiles, 
and mammals, all of which depend on each other. 

Various kinds of mammals have adapted to life in the seas in different 
ways. Some, such as the whales, dolphins, and manatees, are so highly specialized 
that they cannot exist on land at all, while others spend most of their time 
in water but, like seals and sea lions, return to the shores to give birth. Still 
others, like the polar bear, are equally at home on land or sea. 

The ninety-four-foot replica of a blue whale that dominates the center of 
the hall represents not only the largest animal that has ever lived on earth, 
but also the plight of many marine mammals. Excessively killed for oil and 
other products, blue whales are now gravely endangered and threatened with 
extinction. Some of the other mammals shown on the lower floor are also 
considered endangered. 

Polar bears are hunted for trophies and are much diminished in numbers, 


Mole burrows beneath tulips during the spring. All of the 
slants and animals shown are necessary to the eco- 
system of the region (Warburg Memorial, First Floor, 
Section 3). 

while sea otters and elephant seals are now recovering from near extinction 
in the recent past. Some kinds of dolphins are being killed in huge numbers 
as an accident of commercial tuna fishing, while new threats loom as seals, 
sea (ions, sea otters, and polar bears are found to accumulate the toxic chemicals 
man has dumped into the seas. 


One hears all sorts of talk these days about endangered species, and the definition 
of endangerment has become critical to the laws that are being passed and 
even to individuals in determining what products they might buy. Industries 
involved in utilizing wild animals often claim that the species they use are 
not endangered. Biologists claim otherwise. Who is right? What do they mean 
by endangered? 

To the biologist an endangered species is one that will become extinct 
if the trend of utilization is continued. All too often, endangered to an industrialist 
is only when an animal is in such short supply that he cannot get sufficient 
quantities of it to maintain production. Neither the biologist nor the manufacturer 
may know the actual numbers of the animals remaining. Counting the animals 
in the wild is a difficult problem, to say the least. Who is right? When is 
a species endangered? 

A species is endangered when, as in the case of the cheetah, it has disappeared 
from areas it once formerly occurred. In India, where cheetahs once lived, 
they are no longer to be found. A species is endangered when, as in the case 
of the Antarctic blue whales, the number of animals required to maintain the 
industry is greater than the existing stocks. The recent whaling quotas are more 
than five times the 2000 or less Antarctic blue whales remaining. A species 
is endangered when, as in the case of the vicuna of the Andes, its numbers 
diminish markedly in a short time. If the United States imports the same amount 
of vicuna wool this year as it did in 1965, the species will be extinct. There 
are fewer than 5000 of these animals remaining; twenty years ago there were 
almost half a million. A species is endangered when, as in the case of the 
red wolf of the United States, it is persistently and relentlessly persecuted because 
it sometimes attacks man's livestock. Or when, as with the polar bear, its 
hunting for trophies is conducted in such a manner as to permit no individual 
to escape. 

All species are endangered when their environment is destroyed, their sources 
of food eliminated, their sites of shelter destroyed, their drinking water polluted, 
their air, food, and water poisoned in subtle ways that affect their ability to 
reproduce themselves. 


On the Cover 

Detail from a shaman's mask in 
the Hall of Northwest Coast 
Indians. The mask is made of 
wood, plaits of human hair, eagle 
feathers, swansdown, bluejay 
wings, and the fur of the brown 
bear. The mask was use$J by a 
Tlingit shaman in religious and 
curing ceremonies in the nine- 
teenth century.