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Joe the Dinosaur

Posted on January 10, 2014 by in The OFI Blog

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2000 Smithsonian Intern Alum Andy Farke with Joe the Dinosaur

Dr. Andy Farke served as an intern at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History back in 2000. He writes about his experience then, and where his path has led since here….

I was an SI Intern, in Jonathan Coddington’s lab way back in 2000, as part of the Research Training Program at the National Museum of Natural History. While there, I helped with a study estimating clade richness in neotropical spiders; lots of time was spent entering data from museum specimens. I have very fond memories of the people, places, and events from that summer, and the experience was a major part of my trajectory into a career as a working scientist.

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NMNH Associate Director for Research and Collections Jonathan Coddington (left) with Andy Farke (right) in 2000

I am now curator at the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology, located in Claremont, California. We are the only nationally accredited paleontology museum located on a high school campus (The Webb Schools), and it is a thrill to involve high school students in all aspects of the fieldwork, curation, and research processes. I have enjoyed an active field program, with work in places ranging from Madagascar to southern Utah.

Last April we named a new dinosaur–Dahalkely tokana–that pushed back the Cretaceous fossil record of dinosaur in Madagascar, and in October we published on the nearly complete skeleton from a “baby” of the tube-crested dinosaur Parasaurolophus. The latter specimen was a particularly fun project, because it was found by a high school student and high school students were involved in the excavation and publication. You can read all about Joe the Dinosaur here.

Are you a Smithsonian Intern or Fellow alum with an interesting story? If so, let us know here