Reception celebrates new whale exhibit at Museum of Natural and Cultural History

EUGENE, Ore. -- (Jan. 19, 2010) - The new UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History exhibit, "PaleoLab - Oregon's Past Revealed: Whales of Deep Time," will open with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 29. The free community event will take place at the museum, 1680 E. 15th Ave.

After the extinction of the dinosaurs, the earliest known relatives of whales lived on land approximately 54 million years ago. These four-legged ancestors were far different from the hairless, streamlined swimmers we call whales today. Over millions of years, the bodies of these early ancestors adapted to life in the water.

Visitors are invited to learn about the evolution of the world's largest animal at "PaleoLab - Oregon's Past Revealed: Whales of Deep Time." At the opening reception, curators William Orr, professor emeritus and co-director, Condon Collection, Greg Retallack, professor of geological sciences and co-director, Condon Collection, and Edward Davis, manager, Condon Collection, will discuss the evolution of whales, offer insights and answer questions.

The exhibit features a working paleontology lab where visitors can observe and visit with specialists as they prepare and conserve fossil specimens for the museum's Condon Collection. Visitors of all ages will have the opportunity to "find" a specimen and take it through the steps a paleontologist uses to bring fossils from the field to the museum.

"PaleoLab - Oregon's Past Revealed: Whales of Deep Time" is the first of a three-part series of exhibits. The exhibit will run until June 13. "PaleoLab - Oregon's Past Revealed: Horses and Grasslands," the second part of the series, will open in late June.

Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Admission is $3 for adults; $2 for seniors and youths ages 17 and under; and $8 for families (two adults and up to four youths). Museum members, university faculty, staff and students are admitted free. Admission is free for the public on Wednesdays.

About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon's flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of the 62 leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.

Contact: Judi Pruitt, assistant director of visitor services, 541-346-1671, judip@uoregon.edu

Link: Museum of Natural and Cultural History, http://www.uoregon.edu/~mnh/

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