Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Planaria to the Nautilus: Brightening the LSP with the Diversity of Life

Ever wonder just how diverse animal life it?  Well that’s just the theme of the new exhibit on the second floor of the Life Sciences and Philosophy building. The exhibit was created by Franklin and Marshall Biology student Dylan Adler '14 and commissioned by Associate Professor of Biology Dan Ardia.  Titled The Amazing Diversity of Animal Life, it features representative species of several animal phyla, a subdivision of animal life that biologists use to classify species.  The exhibit will educate students and visitors to the diversity of animal life in hopes of increasing natural history appreciation and evidence for evolution.  In addition, the exhibit is intended to expose students enrolled in Bio 110 Principles of Evolution, Ecology, and Heredity to the key phyla of animals, an important topic covered in the course.

The exhibit contains mostly specimens from the collections of the North Museum of Natural History and Science.  Adler has worked for four years with Andy Redline, a vertebrate paleontologist and Curator of Collections, at the North Museum.

"We were hoping to achieve many goals with his exnibition" notes Ardia.  "Dylan has made a beautiful and engaging set of displays that will educate our students and inspire a love of natural history."  Students are reminded that their F&M ID allows for free admission to the North Museum, located on the corner of College Ave and Buchanan Ave.  "The best outcome would be that more of our students visit the North Museum to learn more natural history and science."

For what reason does the North Museum maintain scientific collections?  The North Museum is home to a number of animal specimens, ranging from taxidermy mounts (the irreplaceable bird colleciton on the lower floor) to fossils.  Most of the collections were donated to the Museum by various collectors active during a time of great community interest in natural history. Even now the collections inspire youth and adult visitors and provide an important research collection for material of local and regional interest.  "When choosing what animals to use," Adler explains "I wanted specimens that not only looked interesting, but also highlighted how diverse animals in the same phyla can look."

"I really enjoyed working on this project because it allowed me to combine my knowledge as a Biology major with my passion for museum education", Adler proudly notes.

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