Discover a New Species

Natural History Collections: The Newest Biological Frontier

Saturday, March 19, 2016 at the Wagner Free Institute of Science, 1700 W. Montgomery Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19121

Cost: Free

Registration encouraged:

What is it like to discover a new species? Most people probably imagine a team of intrepid scientists trekking through a wild landscape to find creatures that have never been seen before by human eyes. While that situation is familiar to Research Zoologist Kristofer Helgen, he also knows that another kind of expedition can be just as valuable: a trip to a natural history museum. By studying the specimens right under our noses in natural history collections, scientists are gaining new insight into biological diversity today and throughout history. At this Westbrook Lecture, one in an annual series of historic talks by world-renowned scientists, Kristofer Helgen will share how some of his most well-known new mammal discoveries were inspired by natural history collections, and how today’s scientists are using collections such as the Wagner’s to paint a fuller picture of the animal kingdom.


About the speaker: Kristofer Helgen has been Curator of the Division of Mammals at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History since 2008. His work on mammals is wide-ranging and encompasses systematics, biogeography, ecomorphology, and conservation. He has conducted research on almost every continent and more than 80 museums and he is known worldwide for documenting approximately 100 species of mammals previously unknown to science. One of his most famous discoveries was the Olinguito in 2013. He has appeared on the Discovery Channel and on television and radio programs around the world.

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