Idea Café - Shifting Viewpoints: Is Western Science an Indigenous Knowledge?

Jorge Soberon, Senior Research Scientist, Biodiversity Institute & Biodiversity Modeling and Policy Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Professor
Event Type: 
Fri, 12/06/2013 - 10:00am - 11:00am
Spooner Hall/The Commons

Questions? Call 785.864.6293 or contact us at


So called Indigenous, or Traditional Knowledge (ITK) is viewed by many western scientists with a combination of amusement and doubt, and almost always, implicit judgement. But what if we apply the methods of analysing ITK to western science? After all, western science began its long walk to hegemony as the folk knowledge of the peoples of the Mediterranean region. This exercise will likely prove both illuminating and humbling.

Invertebrate Paleontology Fossils to be Focus of New Digitization Grant

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Museum collections hold millions of fossils representing information on the distribution of species over space and immense spans of time. They provide large amounts of data useful for studying what causes species to migrate, go extinct, or evolve.

These collections are of great relevance, scientists say, for considering how global change has and will continue to affect life on this planet. However, to reach their scientific potential, the data need to be available online and in a format that facilitates quantitative biogeographic analyses.

New Trilobite Exhibit Opens

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This summer, a new exhibit about the trilobites opened on the third floor of the KU Natural History Museum. The exhibit includes trilobite evolution, morphology (characteristics) and extinction. KU Invertebrate Paleontology staff and faculty, including curator Bruce Lieberman, helped develop the exhibit.  Specimens from the invertebrate paleontology collection are on display.

The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m., and is located at 1345 Jayhawk Blvd.


A Symposium and an Ancient Seaway

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Lab Notes

This past month I co-chaired a technical session at the national Geological Society of America conference in Denver. The session was entitled "Paleontology, Paleobiogeography, and Stratigraphy of the Late Cretaceous North America Seas: A Tribute to Bill Cobban." Dr. Cobban is a scientist at the US Geological Survey who has over 60 years of experience working on the statigraphy and paleontology of the Late Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway. The Western Interior Seaway (WIS) ran through the middle of the U.S.

New Websites Highlight Biodiversity Research


The Biodiversity Institute has a new home on the web and a new site for the institute's Natural History Museum.

Prominent on the institute's new web site,, are the research, collections and discoveries of its scientists and graduate students who explore and document the life of the planet.

New Biodiversity Institute Web Sites

Invertebrate Paleontology Details

The invertebrate paleontology collection is ranked among the top 20 largest fossil invertebrate collections in the country and has over 850,000 fossil invertebrate and microfossil specimens from all over the world, including more than 8,200 type or figured specimens.

Number of Specimens: 
900,000 specimens
Research Strengths: 
Phylogenetic patterns in arthropods; paleobiogeography; and the study of the Cambrian radiation
Collection Manager: 

Invertebrate Paleontology

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