What is a Skull?
Black Rhinoceros Cassowary Owl Monkey Giraffe Slow Loris
Green Sea Turtle Human Malayan Tapir Malayan Tapir Elephant
Polar Bear Polar Bear Piranha Piranha Ganges River Dolphin
All skulls portraits © 2002 David Liittschwager
RB: An object of sculptural beauty. Raymond Bandar, Field Associate, Department of Ornithology and Mammalogy
Raymond Bandar  

Ray "Bones" Bandar collected and prepared his first skull over 50 years ago. Today, he has amassed over 1,500 California sea lion skulls alone, making his collection of Zalophus californianus skulls the largest in the world.

Bandar, a San Francisco native, is trained in both biology and art. When he looks at skulls, he sees not only reservoirs of scientific knowledge, but also sculptural beauty. Formerly an anatomy teacher, he is now a field associate in the Academy’s Department of Ornithology and Mammalogy – he has single-handedly brought in over a sixth of the museum’s vertebrate skull collection.

DL: A machine designed by evolution. Dr. Douglas J. Long, Collections Manager and Acting Department Chair, Department of Ornithology and Mammalogy
Dr. Douglas J. Long  

In grade school, Douglas J. Long’s collection of carefully catalogued skulls, fossils and feathers foretold a future of collecting on a far greater scale. Today, Long serves as the Acting Chairman and Collections Manager of the Academy’s Ornithology and Mammalogy department – he has traveled through nearly 40 countries to collect new specimens for the department’s scientific collection of birds and mammals.

With degrees in Anthropology, Paleontology, and Biology, Long’s primary research interests are concentrated in the ecology, conservation and biogeography of birds and mammals, but he still saves time for work with the Academy’s Ichthyology and Herpetology departments.

CT: A blueprint of an animal's lifestyle. Dr. carol M. Tang, Senior Science Educator and Research Associate, Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Geology
Dr. Carol M. Tang  

Carol M. Tang embodies both the research and education arms of the Academy, serving the institution as a Senior Science Educator as well as a Research Associate in the Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Geology.

A Paleontologist by training, Tang received her Ph.D. in Geological Sciences in 1996. She now conducts research on fossils from the Neogene period in the Dominican Republic and works with Roopnarine in the exciting new field of Astrobiology. Tang also oversees the Academy’s education outreach, intern, teacher services and field studies programs and trains the museum’s many docents and volunteers.

PR: A protective enclosure for the brain and sensory organs. Dr. Peter D. Roopnarine, Assistant Curator and Department Chair, Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Geology
Dr. Peter D. Roopnarine  

As the Assistant Curator and Chair of the Academy’s Invertebrate Zoology and Geology department, Peter D. Roopnarine frequently finds himself surrounded by fossils.

Pursuing his passion for Paleontology, he earned a Ph.D. in Geology in 1993, focusing his studies on the evolution and extinction of ancient mollusks. Today, besides investigating invertebrates in the fossil record, he also works with NASA’s Astrobiology Institute to study living organisms – invertebrates that survive in the types of harsh environments that may exist on other planets. His work has been published in a number of journals, including Paleobiology and Journal of Paleontology.

NJ: A communications portal, loading dock, bank vault, and air intake. Dr. Nina Jablonski, Curator and Department Chair, Department of Anthropology
Dr. Nina Jablonski  

Nina Jablonski, Curator and Irvine Chair of Anthropology at the Academy, focuses the majority of her research on the evolution and systematics of Old World monkeys. However, her research interests are broad. Since receiving her Ph.D. in Physical Anthropology in 1981, she has conducted research on the effects of environmental change on primate evolution, the origin of human bipedalism and the evolution of human skin color.

Jablonski is an advocate of interdisciplinary research and international scientific exchange, and is currently engaged in collaborative research with scientists from a wide variety of fields in China, Nepal, India, and Kenya.

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© 2002 California Academy of Sciences

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