Even though it has been a while between posts, I've been thinking a lot lately about my visit to the Duke Lemur Center (DLC) and I feel as if it is high time I start wrapping up this chapter of the blog. I owe it to the lemurs, including this lovely crowned lemur, and her adorable baby, and the energetic blue-eyed black lemurs (left).
My DLC visit was such a great way to thoroughly immerse myself in the world of everything lemur. I had been an official member of PJ's lab for one semester, and at that point in time I was still roughing out ideas about what I would like to study during my grad school years (and possibly beyond). I was only completely sure of two research goals: 1. I would study lemurs, obviously; and 2. I wanted my dissertation to integrate many different techniques and methodologies. I've always had the "problem" of wanting to learn a little bit of everything (see Research), but an integrative process would fulfill my intellectual needs AND allow me to amass a swath of useful skills and knowledge.
Before this experience, I never truly appreciated just how much we could learn from the bones left behind. There is the potential to discover not only what species the creature was, but also its sex, how the individual died, how old it was at time of death, how large it was when it was alive, diseases it might have had, and the list goes on and on. The collection at the DFP included some other mammals and vertebrates as well, and combing through the collections I felt as if I was exploring a whole new world without ever leaving the room. Even if you do not get the chance to travel to Durham to experience this sensation, Gregg and the rest of the DFP team are making 3D scans of the specimens accessible online through MorphoSource, so one day soon you can study the samples from the comfort of your own home.
I've posted here some of my favorite pictures from the DFP. Please click through and see some of my fascinating finds :) Enjoy!