Talk on amazing life of dead animals

DR Peter Wimberger

KUCHING: If dead men tell no tales, dead animals do. This will be the subject of a talk by evolutionary and conservation biologist Dr Peter Wimberger of the United States.

The talk hosted by Friends of Sarawak Museum (FoSM) is another in the series “Afternoon @ Museum” to be held on Saturday, May 17 at the Niah Room of the Sarawak Museum from 2pm till 3pm. It is open to the public.

Titled “The Secret and Amazing Life of Dead Animals” the talk will highlight the importance of natural history and the significance of collecting and preserving such “archival specimens” for future study and research. According to FoSM, natural history collections are a treasure trove of scientific information.

“They are libraries of invaluable records of life, but most of us have little idea of the vast amount of information that is contained in every specimen.

“Most of us view natural history museums as places where we can look at dead animals and, maybe, even learn something about them. Originally, natural history collections were just that – collections that were placed on display in ‘cabinets of curiosities,’ says FoSM.

As humans explored the world and brought back strange animals and plants from exotic locales, these cabinets grew into rooms and buildings. Early biological studies were done in natural history museums, says FoSM, emphasising the importance of such repositories.

In his talk, Wimberger will describe the new uses to which museum specimens are being put and the discoveries that are being made.  He will also present that every specimen is a library of “invisible information” that can tell us about diet and migration, pollutants, and pathogens, disease outbreaks, climate change and the course of evolution.

Wimberger is the director of the Slater Museum of Natural History and a professor at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.

FoSM was registered in September 2012 with a mission to promote the appreciation of Sarawak’s heritage through its museums.

FoSM’s activities are divided into three main areas: promoting the role of museums in Sarawak, providing a way for interested people to get involved in museums, and providing quality interpretation of museums.

For further details on the talk please contact Louise Macul at 012-8550588 or email: [email protected]

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