50 & 100 years ago

50 Years Ago

Like many other museums of its type, the Museum of Comparative Zoology has teaching and curatorial responsibilities, expeditions are organized to build up collections, and staff travel to study collections in other museums. Research conducted in the museum covers a wide range of topics — evolution, behaviour, ecology, zoogeography, physiology and biochemistry and taxonomy. Almost all the research produces results of interest to the evolutionist. One interesting find during the year was the discovery of a fossil insect from Cretaceous amber from New Jersey. This is the oldest known ant and is apparently virtually a missing link between ants and wasps. The presence of worker characteristics in these insects is evidence of the existence of social Hymenoptera as far back as about 100 million years.

From Nature 16 March 1968

100 Years Ago

An announcement in the daily Press states that whale-meat furnished the principal article of food at a luncheon given in New York by the American Museum of Natural History to demonstrate the possibilities of whale-meat for home consumption, in order that the beef thus saved might be sent by America to relieve the scarcity prevailing among the Allies in Europe … Unfortunately, we can do little to assist in this saving, for the whales in our home-waters cannot be “fished”, since neither ships nor men are available for the purpose … It is to be hoped, however, that the fullest possible use will be made of the carcasses of the various species of Cetacea stranded around our coasts. Of course, no great quantity of meat would thus be obtained, but locally it should form a very welcome addition to the scanty meat rations now of necessity prevailing.

From Nature 14 March 1918

Nature 555, 319 (2018)

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-02999-8
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