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March 13, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

The Virginia Museum of Natural History's 2nd Thursday Science Talks bring real-world field experience led by renowned scientists and researchers to the audience through engaging presentations.  Each month's presentation is free to the public and covers a different topic that is relevant to present day life.  All presentations are held from 6 to 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

2013-2014 Schedule


September 12, 2013
“Insect evidence from serial killings: The use of museum collections to assist investigators”
Dr. Joe Keiper, Executive Director, VMNH

Serial killings have been documented in world society since ancient times, but the application of entomological evidence found on victims has been used only recently to help reconstruct the timelines of these heinous crimes. Keiper will review his experience and discuss methods used during investigations. Although all are welcome, some of the content of this talk may not be appropriate for children.

October 10, 2013
“Adventures into the (Virtual) Unknown: 3D Laser Scanning and America's Past”
Dr. Bernard Means, Instructor of Anthropology, Virginia Commonwealth University
VMNH Research Associate

November 14, 2013
"Nuts about Squirrels: Insights from North America’s Most Familiar Rodents”
Dr. Nancy Moncrief, VMNH curator of mammals.
Dr. Moncrief will describe her past research on eastern gray squirrels and eastern fox squirrels and discuss her plans for future investigations.

December 12, 2013
Dr. Judith Winston, Curator of Marine Biology, VMNH

January 9, 2014
Dr. Paul Marek, Virginia Tech
VMNH Research Associate

February 13, 2014
"Reconstructing Butetercup: From scraps of bone to fossil whale"
Dr. Alton Dooley, Curator of Paleontology, VMNH

March 13, 2014
“Hunting Dragons: Using fossils to explore lore”
Dr. DorothyBelle Poli, Associate Professor of Biology, Roanoke College
VMNH Research Associate

No one has ever been able to completely explain dragons around the world. The middle section of dragons (the body) are consistent around the world and the lore of dragons have existed before people could easily travel to spread such tails. Hypotheses around snakes, dinosaurs, and mammal bones have been proposed over the years, but all explanations have problems. The fossil Lepidodendron may be the answer. Along with Dr. Stoneman, a scholar of folk tales and lore, Dr. Poli will propose the evidence that appears to give birth to true dragon lore around the world.

April 10, 2014
Dr. Donna Boyd, Eminent Professor of Anthropological Sciences, Radford University
VMNH Research Associate

May 8, 2014 (*special members only benefit)
Dr. James Beard, Director of Research and Collections/Curator of Earth Sciences, VMNH

VMNH Members are invited to attend a reception following the final presentation on May 8 from 7 to 8 p.m.  The reception will be held inside the museum’s Harvest Foundation Hall of Ancient Life, and will provide an opportunity for museum members to meet and interact with this season's presenters.


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