A Gathering of Wonders: Behind the Scenes at the American Museum of *Natural* History

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9780312280390: A Gathering of Wonders: Behind the Scenes at the American Museum of *Natural* History

Since it was founded in 1869, the American Museum of Natural History has stood as one of the world's greatest repositories of scientific information and investigation. This delightful book takes us behind the exhibits and shows us some of the great researchers and fabulous objects from the Museum's past and present, including:

* the famous Oviraptor eggs unearthed in the Gobi desert.
* the stunning new Hall of Biodiversity, whose trees hold 411,000 model leaves
* the 563-carat Star of India sapphire and the 632-carat Patricia emerald
* Katharine Burden's hunt for the Komodo dragon : "Woman Huntress Revolts Against Playing Safe---Kills Huge 'Malay Dragon' "
* the epic saga of the huge blue whale model

This book offers a backstage tour through the halls and history of the Museum, venturing into ornithology, invertebrates, zoology, entomology, herpetology, and other disciplines. Museum-goers will find their enjoyment enhanced by the wonderful anecdotes and insights, and armchair travelers will find the back-scenes tour enriching and enlightening.

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Review:

Founded in 1869 and opened to the public in 1877, the American Museum of Natural History has been both a much-beloved New York institution and an important center of international scientific research in many fields--notably, paleontology, herpetology, ornithology, entomology, botany, and anthropology. The museum's eminence in these and other areas has come from many sources, from generous patrons to death-defying field researchers and patient laboratory workers. It continues to grow, writes Joseph Wallace in this close-up view of the work of the museum and its staff, as the AMNH involves itself in such matters as the conservation of Komodo dragons, the genetic study of unisex lizards, the surprisingly controversial classification (or, better, reclassification) of the world's birds, and the cataloguing of artifacts of lost species and cultures.

As visitors tour the halls of the museum, taking in images of Siberian shamans and Texas dinosaurs and countless other wonders, they will find many of these points mentioned in the placards that accompany each exhibit. Joseph Wallace's book can be thought of as a set of learned, highly readable footnotes to these placards--a fine companion for a tour, to be sure, but also a lively survey of the many sciences that enter into that great institution's work. --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

Joseph Wallace has written numerous books on science and natural history. An adventurer at heart, he has been menaced by leopards in the midst of African game parks, canoed through rainforests, and even stumbled upon the wreck of a World War II fighter jet in Papua, New Guinea during the course of his career as a writer. He lives with his family in New York state.

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Joseph Wallace
Published by St. Martin's Griffin (2001)
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Wallace, Joseph
Published by St. Martin's Griffin (2001)
ISBN 10: 0312280394 ISBN 13: 9780312280390
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