Friday, May 23, 2014

Penguin Fossil Expert Joins Greenwich's Bruce Museum As Science Curator

Daniel Ksepka is the Bruce Museum's new Curator of Science. He begins in June.
Daniel Ksepka is the Bruce Museum's new Curator of Science. He begins in June. Photo Credit: Contributed

GREENWICH, Conn., -- Daniel Ksepka, an expert in the fossil records of penguins, will join Greenwich's Bruce Museum as its newest Curator of Science in June. 

“We are delighted that Daniel Ksepka is joining the curatorial staff at the Bruce,” says Peter C. Sutton, executive director of the Bruce Museum.  “Daniel comes to us not only with a vast body of knowledge but also with a great deal of creativity and enthusiasm.  He is already planning some exciting new science exhibitions for the Museum.” 
Ksepka earned his doctorate in earth and environmental sciences from Columbia University in 2007. He spent five years in residence at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where he performed his dissertation research on the fossil record of penguins and gained broad experience in the curation and study of natural history objects, including fossils, skeletal materials, skins and geological specimens. 

"Penguins are 10 times older than humans and have been here for a very, very long time," said Ksepka, who has researched the evolution of penguins and how they came to inhabit the African continent. 
Because penguins have been around for 60 million years, they have an extensive fossil record, he wrote at the American Scientist. (Watch the video above as Ksepka goes into depth about how his research pieces together the evolutionary puzzle of penguins and other related bird species.)

Ksepka recently contributed to several important museum exhibitions, including the traveling Race to the End of the Earth and Mythical Beasts exhibitions at the American Museum of Natural History and the Polar Palooza special exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

His background includes work in science education, an important aspect of the Bruce Museum’s exhibition programs. Ksepka has a long track record of collaborating with K-12 educators, including designing science content, presenting formal professional development talks for science teachers, and designing workshops for teaching special topics in geology, biology and paleontology.

Ksepka has been a featured speaker at the Nature Research Center at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Field Museum. In addition to more than 30 formal peer-reviewed research papers, he has written articles for popular science magazines, including Scientific American, American Scientist, and Dig. Even his personal blog, “March of the Fossil Penguins,” attracts more than 50,000 visitors per year.

Ksepka joins the Bruce Museum from the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in North Carolina, where he served as a postdoctoral researcher, and retains associate positions at the Field Museum, the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.


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