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Brendan M. Lynch
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KU researcher honored as namesake of ancient insect-eating mammal

Mon, 10/28/2013

LAWRENCE — Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Denver Museum of Nature & Science recently have published a description of a fossilized 50-million-year-old insect-eating mammal, about the size of a shrew or small hedgehog, naming it Nyctitherium krishtalkai after Leonard Krishtalka, director of the Biodiversity Institute at the University of Kansas.

“I named it after Krishtalka because of his mentoring in the early stages of my career and for his research on the group of fossil mammals to which it belongs,” said Richard Stucky, curator of Paleoecology and Evolution at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

In addition to his role at the Biodiversity Institute, Krishtalka serves as a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at KU, holding both positions since 1995.

His paleontological research encompassed the evolution of mammals, with field expeditions throughout western Canada and the U.S., Europe, north and east Africa and China.

Krishtalka is the author of about 200 research articles, policy papers and popular pieces in scientific journals, books, newspapers and magazines, as well as one book, “Dinosaur Plots & Other Intrigues in Natural History.” He writes an irregular op-ed column for the Lawrence Journal-World and he is currently completing the third novel in a trilogy of mysteries.

“I’m very honored to have a new species discovered by science named for me,” Krishtalka said. “I spent many years uncovering and studying these and other extinct mammals with Dr. Stucky, and I am humbled by his recognition of our wonderful collegiality and accomplishments in bringing to light the ancient world of mammals in North America.”

Along with Michael Christiansen of MIT, Stucky discovered two new species in the Buck Spring Quarries of Wyoming, naming one after Krishtalka, who worked at and described many species from that site with Stucky for 15 years. Both fossilized mammals lived during the early Eocene epoch, between 57 and 50 million years ago, when Wyoming was a lush, open subtropical forest, not unlike modern-day Borneo.

Their paper describing N. krishtalkai is available for download.



Matt Menzenski, a graduate student in Slavic languages & literatures, took this photo during President Obama’s speech at KU Thursday. Menzenski says he was struck by how relaxed the president was in his delivery. He missed a chance to hear former President Bill Clinton speak in his hometown in 2004, but finally got to see a sitting president this week at KU. “The opportunity to hear the president speak is just one of many great opportunities I've had at KU. So many interesting talks and events happen here all the time. I try to attend at least one a week-- it's never hard to find something interesting to go to.” Tags: University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts and Sciences KU School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures KU Dept of Slavic Languages - Friends & Alumni Barack Obama The White House #exploreKU #POTUSatKU

Get tickets: http://t.co/YTqcNobkFb MT @liedcenterks : Insights on "Kiss the Fish" from Anthea Scouffas: http://t.co/YlictwH8a9
Explore KU: The Bells of Mount Oread KU’s Campanile, a 120-foot-tall timepiece that tolls automatically on the hour and quarter-hour, not only sounded in the 2015 New Year at midnight with 12 mighty gongs, but also regularly rings up memories for many Jayhawks – the 277 faculty and students who gave their lives during World War II, the graduates who walk through its doors at commencement, and aspiring students who have strolled through the Lawrence campus. (See http://bit.ly/1xjjwJj). For nearly 60 years, KU’s 53-bell carillon has been tolling the sounds of peace and serenity across Mount Oread since it was installed in June 1955 inside the landmark World War II Memorial Campanile, which was dedicated in 1951. (See http://bit.ly/1BoL9jv) The carillon is also a four-octave musical instrument, which is played with a giant keyboard and foot pedals. University Carillonneur Elizabeth Egber-Berghout (http://bit.ly/14fiBPl), associate professor of carillon and organ, climbs 77 steps up a spiral staircase in the bell tower to perform recitals several times a month.


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