I remember being really excited to be almost home, but simultaneously wishing I had spent months in Madagascar instead of weeks. I hope that you’ll get where I’m coming from after reading the next few posts, but the long and short of it is that Madagascar is so incredibly different from anything I’ve ever experienced before, that by the time I was truly understanding what was happening around me, we were flying away...
My friends and colleagues were kind enough to share their packing lists with me, and what I gathered from each of these were a few common trends: 1) bring a mini pharmacy with you, because you never know what you’ll need in the field; 2) limit clothing, and wash along the way to save valuable space; 3) solar panels are your best friend for fieldwork in the southwestern Malagasy winter months. I’ve attached my packing list here so you can see what I brought along, but have learned a thing or two during my travels so check out the Things To Bring Next Time list at the end of the post as well.
As you can probably tell from the schedule, my main task in Madagascar was to scan as much as I could with our Spider. At the University in Antananarivo, a Perry lab undergraduate researcher and I worked together to gather 3D scan data from a bunch of subfossil and modern elements, mainly skulls from as many different species and sites as we had time for. For Heritiana Randrianatoandro (a Malagasy graduate student affiliated with our lab), we concentrated a lot of our efforts on Archaeolemur skulls (see image on left for one of our first scanning subjects). For PJ, a bunch of giant aye-aye (Daubentonia robusta) finger bones and the like. And for me, sifakas, both at Antananarivo [Tana] and at Beza Mahafaly (see my Beza post later).
Hmm, I just realized how long this post is getting and all I’ve done is rant about packing and the overall schedule. I have so many Madagascar things to talk about! How about I cut myself off with my list of Things To Bring Next Time and a neat little teaser gallery of pictures from the drives? Yeah, I’d say that’s a good compromise. Next post I’ll go into more detail about my week in Tana, with a bunch of pretty pictures of bones and things. Until next Wednesday, my friends!
things to bring next time: