If women see STEM positions as inhospitable working environments, online or otherwise, then it is our responsibility to work toward creating inclusive environments conducive to work by all. YouTube is only part of a much larger struggle toward equality in the workplace.

In my experience, I have been asked everything from if I have a stylist, to if I dress “nerdy” to better fit in my “role,” to what my reaction would be if approached to pose for Playboy. Scientists who take pride in their appearance should not also have to worry about their discoveries and accomplishments being undermined by questions about where they get their clothes or if they would consider increasing the popularity of their published works by taking those clothes off.

If we want to see diversity in these fields, there has to be a conscious rejection of and intolerance toward remarks in the media that diminish these achievements.


Emily Graslie of science YouTube channel “The Brain Scoop” who recently fired back at some YouTube trolls for paying more attention to her appearance than the subject matter in this video which went viral late last year.

In the late 20’s Early 30’s there was a class at the Art Institute of Chicago that had its students come to the Field Museum to study and draw inspiration from our collections. This is one of many pieces featured in a book of their drawings. Today we have a similar program with artist in residence Peggy Macnamara who is also a teacher at the Art Institute. You will often see students in chairs sketching away.

© The Field Museum, GN90798d_RDN139.

Black and white drawings of butterflies and beetles with decorative borders. Research Design in Nature plate.

Original Print



For decades, Illinois’ state fossil the Tully monster (Tullimonstrum gregarium) has confused paleontologists and residents alike. Its anatomy is certainly unlike anything living today, and the strange-looking creature evaded classification with other lifeforms from the Carboniferous period (approx. 309-307 mya). If nothing else, it was long believed to be some type of invertebrate, and was lumped in with nemerteas, or ribbon worms.

BUT, the mystery has finally been solved, thanks in part to Field Museum research scientists and collections. In a paper published today in Nature, researchers reveal that the Tully monster is actually a vertebrate: a jawless fish, similar to lampreys. 

I’ve never been more excited to have a 3D printed Tully monster in my office!

Read more: 
Monster Mystery Solved,
The ‘Tully Monster’ is a vertebrate, Nature


New World (right) and Old World Vultures (left)

The New World and Old World vultures are a prime example of convergent evolution - despite being only distantly related, they ended up with many of the same traits, behaviors, and appearances, and occupy largely the same niches in their ecosystems.

These large birds all subsist largely on carrion (dead things) or carrion products (bones), soar long distances to locate food, flock when resting [Egyptian vulture aside], and have unfeathered or sparsely feathered heads and necks.  They all provide critical “cleaning crew” and disease-reducing services in relation to humanity and other animals.

And all vultures, despite their ability to consume rabies and anthrax-ridden corpses without harm, are vulnerable to human destruction - even inadvertently.

With that out of the way, there are some fascinating differences between the two vulture orders!

Old World Vultures:

  • Locate food by sight or hearing other scavengers locate a kill
  • Excellent eyesight
  • Build stick nests for eggs
  • Frequently vocalize (and have a syrinx)
  • Poor sense of smell
  • Located in Europe, Africa, and Asia

New World Vultures

  • Locate food by smell
  • Will soar in circles above fresh kills or near-dead animals (who often give off a distinct scent) until other predators and scavengers leave
  • Lay eggs directly on rocky outcroppings or in crooks of trees - no nests
  • Practice urohidrosis to keep cool - they urinate onto their bare legs for the evaporative cooling it provides - very uncommon in birds
  • No syrinx, only vocalizations are hisses and clicks
  • Located in North and South America

Note that there are no vultures or condors in Australia or Oceania - the scavenger niche in those regions is filled by other birds, reptiles, and mammals.

Louis Agassiz Fuertes’ Album of Abyssinian Birds and Mammals. Field Museum of Chicago, 1930.

The Birds of America. John James Audubon, 1840.
Field Museum resurrects ancient Peruvian beer - Chicago
Peruvian purple corn and pink peppercorn — a berry — were key ingredients.

A couple of Chicago brewers have re-created a beer first produced more than a millennium ago by a group of cloistered women who worked atop a mountain in the Andes range of Peru.

The first step for John Laffler and David Bleitner, the pair behind Off Color Brewing, was to pick the brain of Field Museum archeologist Ryan Williams, who unearthed an ancient high altitude brewery in 2004.

Their collaboration resulted in a beer named Wari, after the people who first made it, that will debut March 3 at the museum’s Field Bistro and hit shelves at Chicago liquor stores days later.

“They wanted to know everything and asked, ‘How would they have done this? And how would they have done this,’” Williams recalled.

The brewers learned that scientists were able to reverse engineer the ancient beer recipe through a molecular analysis of the vessels used in the brewing process. Peruvian purple corn and pink peppercorn — a berry — were key ingredients.

The brewers had imported Peruvian corn ground by North Side bake shop Baker Miller.

But their zeal for historical accuracy stopped short of wearing women’s clothes and locking themselves in their Logan Square brewing facility during the fermentation process.

The beer itself has a purple and reddish hue and contains citrus and black pepper flavors that combine for a “very biting character,” Laffler said.

“It’s one of those things where it looks good on paper and you cross your fingers that it tastes good and fortunately this one turned out pretty well,” he said.

Beer served an important role in the Wari empire, which preceded the Incan, Williams said.

“Beer was one of the great ways they were able to bring the masses together and keep people loyal to the state in some respect,” Williams said. “Because people knew that if they rebelled they would lose the ability to attend these great status-ranking parties. An analogy might be like a White House dinner. You want to be invited back, so you will continue to be faithful to the power structure.”

It’s not Off Color’s first time partnering with the Field Museum. In 2013 they produced “Tooth and Claw,” a pilsner style beer inspired by the T-Rex skeleton lovingly known as Sue.

Vesta was a life size model of a Great Dane used to teach people about the inner workings of their beloved pets. She was equipped with a recorded voice to give lectures about the structure of a dog.

© The Field Museum, GN79097.

Woman and Vesta,World’s first transparent dog.

She was made for the Gaines dog research center of New York and toured America back in the 50’s. She was on display here from July 15th to Sept 15 1955.

8x10 negative



ehmeegee thebrainscoop I opened my college newspaper today and freaked out when I saw that you are in it!! Bill Nye just did a lecture at my small college, Elmhurst College, and the article recommends The Brain Scoop, MinutePhysics, and Veritasium as things to watch if you’re a Bill Nye fan! I’ve never been more proud of my newspaper; they really did their research!

Taxidermy Tuesday. “Rare Antelope Received”

Field Museum News, March 1931

“A specimen of the rare giant sable antelope of Africa … has been received by the Field Museum” …
“The skin, skull and antlers have arrived at the Museum, and work will soon begin to mount the animal for exhibition. “

© The Field Museum, CSZ74143.

Dr. Wilfred Osgood holding the horns on the skull of a Giant Sable antelope Hippotragus niger variani collected by Arthur Vernay.

Album Print