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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.
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For more than 140 years, KU scientists and students have collected and studied Earth's animals and plants. Only a few of these specimens are on display for the public in the exhibits of the KU Natural History Museum; milions more are in jars or on shelves throughout the Biodiversity Institute's research areas.
The KU Natural History Museum will present a film that explores the role of science, emotion and the media in the reported sighting of an extinct bird.
“Ghost Bird,” a 2010 documentary, will be shown at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 9, in the Panorama Gallery at the museum. Following the film, ornithologist Mark Robbins will lead a talk-back session titled “Conservation and the Ivory Bill Fantasy.”
Prominent on the institute's new web site, biodiversity.ku.edu, are the research, collections and discoveries of its scientists and graduate students who explore and document the life of the planet.
The Biodiversity Institute has a new home on the web and a new site for the institute's Natural History Museum. Revamped websites for the Biodiversity Institute's research divisions, such as mammalogy, herpetology and botany, are also in development.
The collections in Ornithology total more than 100,000 catalogued specimens representing about 4,000 species (44 % of world total) and 161 families (89 % of world total). The collections consist of skeletal, prepared skins, fluid preserved and frozen tissue specimens. The collections are especially strong for the United States and Mexico, with additional holdings from Central and South America, Southeast Asia, Australia, and Africa. Recently, the collections have entered a phase of rapid growth, both in terms of numbers and of geographic and taxonomic coverage.