- Jan 30 Opening conversation for "The Soul Selects her own Society: Women Artists from the Miller Meigs Collection"
- Feb 3 Taste of Service
- Feb 3 Macalester New Music Series presents INTERSECTION: Jazz Meets Classical Song
- Feb 4 'Moving Beyond Minnesota Nice:' Engaging Diversity in the Classroom
- Feb 12 Mitau Lecture
- Feb 17 Black History Month Keynote: Dr. Joy DeGruy - "Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome"
- Feb 18 Mental Health Awareness Film & Speaker
- Feb 19 The Inaugural Lecture of James Dawes as DeWitt Wallace Professor of English
- Feb 19 Robert Blanchette on "Tombs, sunken ships and historic huts: studying ancient wood reveals secrets from the past"
- Feb 19 Chamber Music at Macalester: Brahms Clarinet Quintet with Osmo Vanska
Published in Macalester Today
IN AN UNEXPECTED PART of their summer research, a couple of biology students found themselves driving two coolers of frozen gazelles from Wichita, Kan., to Macalester’s histology lab.
McKenna Bernard ’14 (Mt. Vernon, Iowa) and Samantha “Sam” Zimmerman ’14 (Northampton, Mass.) had spent the summer working with biology and geology professor Kristi Curry Rogers, a vertebrate paleontologist best known for her study of dinosaur bones.
But this particular summer Curry Rogers and her student researchers were instead studying the bones of modern animals, from a gazelle to a skink. “We’re working on modern animals for their insights into dinosaurs,” says Bernard. “By studying the bones of modern animals, we get a better idea of how accurate our theories of dinosaur growth may be.” The modern animals they studied came from a zoo, where they have good records of each animal’s age. When an animal dies at a zoo—in this case, the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita—the carcass is frozen and may be released for research to qualified laboratories.
Histology is the study of bones at the microscopic level. To be prepared for histological study, the animal carcasses were first taken to the Science Museum of Minnesota, where the flesh was removed by flesh-eating beetles. That took several weeks, depending on the animal’s size.
Back in the lab, Zimmerman and Bernard took thin slices of various bones to study, noting growth rates, periodic cessations of growth (marked by lines in the bones similar to tree rings), and the relative abundance of blood vessels, as recorded by holes in the bone.
When the zoo called to offer the gazelle, Zimmerman and Bernard volunteered for a quick road trip to Wichita to pick up the animal— and a few surprises. As they were packing up, the zoo veterinarian looked up from the deep freeze to ask, “Would you like a flamingo?”