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The Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (MVZ), located on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, is a leading center of herpetological research in the United States. This monograph offers a brief account of the principal figures associated with the collection and of the most important events in the history of herpetology in the MVZ during its first 93 years, and lists all type specimens of recent amphibians and nonavian reptiles in the collection.
Although the MVZ has existed since 1908, until 1945 there was no formal curator for the collection of amphibians and nonavian reptiles. Since that time Robert C. Stebbins, David B. Wake, Harry W. Greene, Javier A. Rodríguez-Robles (in an interim capacity), and Craig Moritz have served in that position.
The herpetological collection of the MVZ was begun on March 13, 1909, with a collection of approximately 430 specimens from southern California and as of December 31, 2001, contained 232,254 specimens. Taxonomically, the collection is strongest in salamanders, accounting for 99,176 specimens, followed by "lizards" (squamate reptiles other than snakes and amphisbaenians, 63,439), frogs (40,563), snakes (24,937), turtles (2,643), caecilians (979), amphisbaenians (451), crocodilians (63), and tuataras (3). Whereas the collection's emphasis historically has been on the western United States and on California in particular, representatives of taxa from many other parts of the world are present.
The 1,765 type specimens in the MVZ comprise 120 holotypes, three neotypes, three syntypes, and 1,639 paratopotypes and paratypes; 83 of the holotypes were originally described as full species. Of the 196 amphibian and nonavian reptilian taxa represented by type material, most were collected in México (63) and California (USA, 54).
The Appendix of the monograph presents a list of curators, graduate and undergraduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates, research assistants, curatorial associates, curatorial assistants, and visiting faculty who have conducted research on the biology of amphibians and reptiles while in residence in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology as of December 31, 2001.
Human Possibility in the Age of Biotechnology
Lost Legacy and Biological Invasions
Early Spanish explorers in the late eighteenth century found springtime California covered with spectacular carpets of wildflowers from San Francisco to San Diego. Yet today, invading plant species have devastated this nearly forgotten botanical heritage. In this lively, vividly detailed work, Richard A. Minnich synthesizes a unique and wide-ranging array of sources—from the historic accounts of those early explorers to the writings of early American botanists in the nineteenth century, newspaper accounts in the twentieth century, and modern ecological theory—to give the most comprehensive historical analysis available of the dramatic transformation of California's wildflower prairies. At the same time, his groundbreaking book challenges much current thinking on the subject, critically evaluating the hypothesis that perennial bunchgrasses were once a dominant feature of California's landscape and instead arguing that wildflowers filled this role. As he examines the changes in the state's landscape over the past three centuries, Minnich brings new perspectives to topics including restoration ecology, conservation, and fire management in a book that will change our of view of native California.
This is a comprehensive catalogue of the living marine Bivalvia of China. Over 1,140 species are arranged in systematic order reflecting the phylogenetic relationships of the supraspecific taxa, together with almost 3,500 binomina which fall into synonymy.
Fifteen Thousand Years on One Square Mile
"Ceremonial time" occurs when past, present, and future can be perceived simultaneously. Experienced only rarely, usually during ritual dance, this escape from linear time is the vehicle for John Mitchell's extraordinary writing. In this, his most magical book, he traces the life of a single square mile in New England, from the last ice age through years of human history, including bear shamans, colonists, witches, local farmers, and encroaching industrial "parks."
Archaeozoology at Pantanello and Five Other Sites
From 1974 to the present, the Institute of Classical Archaeology at the University of Texas at Austin has carried out archaeological excavations in the ancient territory (chora) of Metaponto, now located in the modern province of Basilicata on the southern coast of Italy. This wide-ranging investigation, which covers a number of sites and a time period ranging from prehistory to the Roman Empire, has unearthed a wealth of new information about the ancient rural economy in southern Italy. These discoveries will be published in a multi-volume series titled The Chora of Metaponto. This volume on archaeozoology—the study of animal remains from archaeological sites—is the second in the series, following The Chora of Metaponto: The Necropoleis (1998). Archaeozoology at Pantanello and Five Other Sites describes the animal remains found throughout Metaponto and discusses what they reveal about ancient practices of hunting and herding, domestication and importation of new breeds, people’s attitudes toward animals, and what animal remains indicate about past environments. A chapter devoted to bird bones, which are a relatively rare find because of their fragility, provides high quality information on the environment and methods of fowling, as well as on the beliefs and symbolism associated with birds. The final chapter covers tools—some simple, others sophisticated and richly decorated—made from animal bones.
Alfred Kinsey and the Organization of Knowledge
Alfred C. Kinsey’s revolutionary studies of human sexual behavior are world-renowned. His meticulous methods of data collection, from comprehensive entomological assemblies to personal sex history interviews, raised the bar for empirical evidence to an entirely new level. In The Classification of Sex, Donna J. Drucker presents an original analysis of Kinsey’s scientific career in order to uncover the roots of his research methods. She describes how his enduring interest as an entomologist and biologist in the compilation and organization of mass data sets structured each of his classification projects. As Drucker shows, Kinsey’s lifelong mission was to find scientific truth in numbers and through observation—and to record without prejudice in the spirit of a true taxonomist. Kinsey’s doctoral work included extensive research of the gall wasp, where he gathered and recorded variations in over six million specimens. His classification and reclassification of Cynips led to the speciation of the genus that remains today. During his graduate training, Kinsey developed a strong interest in evolution and the links between entomological and human behavior studies. In 1920, he joined Indiana University as a professor in zoology, and soon published an introductory text on biology, followed by a coauthored field guide to edible wild plants. In 1938, Kinsey began teaching a noncredit course on marriage, where he openly discussed sexual behavior and espoused equal opportunity for orgasmic satisfaction in marital relationships. Soon after, he began gathering case histories of sexual behavior. As a pioneer in the nascent field of sexology, Kinsey saw that the key to its cogency was grounded in observation combined with the collection and classification of mass data. To support the institutionalization of his work, he cofounded the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University in 1947. He and his staff eventually conducted over eighteen thousand personal interviews about sexual behavior, and in 1948 he published Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, to be followed in 1953 by Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. As Drucker’s study shows, Kinsey’s scientific rigor and his early use of data recording methods and observational studies were unparalleled in his field. Those practices shaped his entire career and produced a wellspring of new information, whether he was studying gall wasp wings, writing biology textbooks, tracing patterns of evolution, or developing a universal theory of human sexuality.