UW News

Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture


December 10, 2018

Ancient whale named for UW paleontologist Elizabeth Nesbitt

person with bones

A new species of whale discovered in 33-million-year-old Oregon rock has been named for Elizabeth Nesbitt, a curator at the Burke Museum and faculty member in the UW’s Department of Earth and Space Sciences.


November 6, 2018

Updated book compiles 45 years of changes in Pacific Northwest flora

Flora_Book_Cover

Botanists at the University of Washington’s Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture have created a much-needed second edition of the “Flora of the Pacific Northwest.”


October 31, 2018

ArtsUW Roundup: 20 Years of Pacific Voices, closing weekend of Incident at Vichy, and more

Pacific Voices

This week in the arts, celebrate the vibrancy, resiliency, and legacies of community members from across the Pacific, see Incident at Vichy before it closes, attend a performance by the Taiwan Philharmonic, and more! 20 Years of Pacific Voices: A Community Celebration November 1, 4–7:30 PM | Pacific Voices Exhibit Gallery at the Burke Museum…


October 3, 2018

3,500-year-old pumpkin spice? Archaeologists find earliest use of nutmeg as a food

A potsherd artifact found at the Pulau Ay archaeological site. It was one of several pottery pieces containing traces of foods, including the earliest-known use of nutmeg. Photo of small piece of pottery.

On a small island in Indonesia, University of Washington researchers found evidence of nutmeg as residue on ceramic potsherds and is estimated to be 3,500 years old — about 2,000 years older than the previously known use of the spice.


May 23, 2018

Arts Roundup: An Evening of Shakespeare, Design Show, and more

Design Show

This week in the arts, attend a hilarious and surprising play, celebrate the start of summer with an evening of Shakespeare, visit the Burke for free at First Thursday, and go to a graduation design show. Goldie, Max and Milk May 22 – June 3 | Glen Hughes Penthouse Theater Max, a single lesbian, just…


May 1, 2018

Arts Roundup: Artist Talk with Sharon Lockhart, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, MFA Dance Concert, and more

Complexions Contemporary Ballet

This week in the arts, experience a rock-opera-style ballet that pays homage to David Bowie’s iconic and chameleonic spirit, attend a lecture with American artist Sharon Lockhart, see the premiere of six conceptually diverse dance pieces, and more. Harry Partch Festival 7:30 p.m., May 11 – 13 | Meany Theater Twentieth century American composer Harry…


April 18, 2018

Arts Roundup: Barry Liberman and Friends Master Class, Scholarship Chamber Group: Discovery Trio, Ethnomusicology Visiting Artist: Spanish Flamenco Artist Ricardo Garcia, and more

Barry Liberman and Friends Master Class: Jordan Anderson

This week in the arts, attend a master class taught by Seattle Symphony artist, see Tony Kushner’s epic tale of AIDS in the 1980s, explore music throughout the past four centuries, hear 13-year-old violinist perform in UW Keyboard Program’s quarterly series, and listen to a special blend of Flamenco music with a guest artist.


March 28, 2018

Decade of fossil collecting in Africa gives new perspective on Triassic period, emergence of dinosaurs

an artist rendering of teleocrater, an early dinosaur relative

A University of Washington-led project spanning countries, years and institutions has attempted to reconstruct what the southern end of the world looked like during the Triassic period, 252 to 199 million years ago.


March 22, 2018

A blind date in the deep sea: First-ever observations of a living anglerfish, a female with her tiny mate, coupled for life

fish swimming

A pair of anglerfish, a species never before seen alive by humans, was recorded recently on camera by researchers aboard the LULA1000, a submersible operated by the marine science-focused Rebikoff-Niggeler Foundation.


January 18, 2018

Q&A: Forgotten fish illustrator remembered through first publication

Large Scaled Gurnard

More than three centuries ago, a French monk made thousands of drawings of plants and animals, traveling under the authority of King Louis XIV to the French Antilles to collect and document the natural history of the islands. These drawings were often the first ever recorded for each species and were completed in remarkable detail….


August 24, 2017

Scientists to create digital encyclopedia of 3-D vertebrate specimens

snake scan

A $2.5 million National Science Foundation grant will daylight thousands of specimens from their museum shelves by CT scanning 20,000 vertebrates and making these data-rich, 3-D images available online to researchers, educators, students and the public. The University of Washington is a partner institution contributing most of the fish and bat scans.


August 10, 2017

Public has rare opportunity to view work on T. rex skull

A dinosaur fossil

Starting Aug. 12, the public can watch fossil preparation of the University of Washington Burke Museum’s Tyrannosaurus rex skull “live.”


June 6, 2017

Hiding in plain sight: new species of flying squirrel discovered

The newly-described Humboldt’s flying squirrel is the third-known species of flying squirrel in North America.

A new study published May 30 in the Journal of Mammalogy describes a newly discovered third species of flying squirrel in North America — now known as Humboldt’s flying squirrel, or Glaucomys oregonensis. It inhabits the Pacific Coast region of North America, from southern British Columbia to the mountains of southern California.


June 1, 2017

Video shows invasive lionfish feasting on new Caribbean fish species

the ember goby

Researchers from the University of Washington and Smithsonian Institution have reported the first observed case of lionfish preying upon a fish species that had not yet been named. Their results, published May 25 in PLOS ONE, may indicate an uncertain future for other fish found in the largely unexplored deep-ocean coral reefs.


January 24, 2017

Prized fossil find — the oldest, most complete iguanian in the Americas — illuminates the lives of lizards in the Age of Dinosaurs

A drawing of lizards eating wasps.

Paleontologists picking through a bounty of fossils from Montana have discovered something unexpected — a new species of lizard from the late dinosaur era, whose closest relatives roamed in faraway Asia.


December 8, 2016

New study traces the marsupial origins in N. America, finds mammals during Age of Dinosaurs packed a powerful bite

an extinct mammal

A new study by paleontologists at the Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture and the University of Washington describes an early marsupial relative called Didelphodon vorax that lived alongside dinosaurs and had, pound-for-pound, the strongest bite force of any mammal ever recorded.


Frequently asked questions: odontoma in a gorgonopsian

Sketch of an extinct animal.

Answers to frequently asked questions about a 255-year-old tumor in a ‘pre-mammal.’


Fossilized evidence of a tumor in a 255-million-year-old mammal forerunner

A tumor next to a tooth.

University of Washington paleontologists have discovered a benign tumor made up of miniature, tooth-like structures embedded in the jaw of an extinct ‘mammal-like’ gorgonopsian. Known as a compound odontoma, this type of tumor is common to mammals today. But this animal lived 255 million years ago, before mammals even existed.


November 2, 2016

Arts Roundup: Pianist Joyce Yang, UW Symphony – and Meet the Mammals

Sæunn+Thorsteinsdottir,+cello

This week in the arts: the Henry Art Gallery opens an exhibition of works by Chuck Close and Meany Center for the Performing Arts presents programs by a classical pianist and a contemporary dance ensemble. Catch the UW Symphony’s first concert of the year or stop by the Burke Museum for its annual Meet the…


October 26, 2016

Arts Roundup: Calidore String Quartet, I Dig Dinos – and a Halloween Organ Concert

Halloween Organ Concert

Celebrate Halloween with a concert of spooky organ classics in Kane Hall or a dinosaur dress-up party at the Burke Museum. Catch performances from jazz pianist Marc Seales, the Calidore String Quartet, or fado singer Mariza. The Jacob Lawrence Gallery celebrates the centennial anniversary of its namesake’s birth with a new exhibition. Calidore String Quartet…


October 12, 2016

Arts Roundup: Chamber Dance Company, Mindfulness Meditation – and Stylus Fantasticus

Chamber Dance Company

The Chamber Dance Company celebrates the birth of post-modern dance in Meany Hall, the School of Drama opens its season with a modern retelling of a Greek classic, and School of Music faculty members Stephen Stubbs and Tekla Cunningham give a performance of 17th century works. The Henry Art Gallery invites the public to practice…


October 5, 2016

Arts Roundup: The Silk Road Ensemble, Birds at the Burke – and Double Rainbow All the Way

Lalya & Majnun

It’s a busy week for the arts: The Silk Road Ensemble and Mark Morris Dance Group collaborate on a new work at Meany Center; School of Music artist-in-residence Greg Sinibaldi gives the first faculty recital of the school year, and the Burke Museum hosts its annual “Birds at the Burke” day. The Henry Art Gallery…


August 18, 2016

Paleontologists with the UW’s Burke Museum discover major T. rex fossil

Paleontologists prepare to remove a Tyrannosaurus rex skull from a fossil dig site in northern Montana and transport it to the Burke Museum at the University of Washington.

Paleontologists with the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture and the UW have discovered a Tyrannosaurus rex, including a very complete skull. The find, which paleontologists estimate to be about 20 percent of the animal, includes vertebrae, ribs, hips and lower jaw bones.


June 8, 2016

Arts Roundup: ArtVenture, Wild Nearby – and Design Graduation Exhibition

Burke Museum: Wild Nearby

Spring quarter is drawing to a close, but there are still plenty of arts events on campus. Swing by the Henry Art Gallery to see giant wood sculptures by Paul McCarthy and artwork by the 2016 graduating class of MFA and MDes students — or bring the whole family for an ArtVenture. Explore the beauty…


May 19, 2016

Burke Museum breaks ground on new building for Washington state museum

The New Burke

More than 500 people gathered May 18 on the University of Washington campus to celebrate the start of construction on the New Burke Museum. The Burke is Washington’s oldest museum and since 1899 has been the State Museum of Natural History and Culture; soon it will be Washington’s newest museum. Opening in 2019, the New…


May 11, 2016

Arts Roundup: MFA Dance Concert, Photomedia Graduation Exhibition – and ‘Short Takes’ on Orpheus

Orpheus Featured Image

This week, visit the School of Art + Art History + Design for a visiting scholar lecture or graduation exhibition, and engage directly with the artists at the Burke Museum’s Native Art Market. Catch the annual MFA Dance Concert or a performance by the School of Music’s Daana Quartet. Explore the enduring legacy of the…


May 4, 2016

Arts Roundup: School of Music Scholarship Recital, ArtVentures – and Native Art Market

Caption Here.

This week in the arts, see the world-renowned Martha Graham Dance Company perform at Meany Hall and witness the talent of the next generation at the 2016 School of Music Scholarship Recital. Explore production design at a UW Drama exhibition, take an ArtVenture at the Henry Art Gallery and shop for Native American art at…


April 6, 2016

Arts Roundup: Anoushka Shankar, Creole Carnival – and the New Burke Community Open House

Caption here

UW World Series takes center stage this week with three events: dance-theater ensemble Jane Comfort & Company, world-renowned sitar player Anoushka Shankar, and GlobalFEST: Creole Carnival. Learn about the Burke Museum’s renovation plans at a community open house, see an exhibition by School of Art + Art History + Design graduating honors students, or take…


December 9, 2015

Arts Roundup: UW Symphony, Maker:Market – and Handel’s ‘Messiah’

Arts Dawgs Reception before Handel's Messiah on December 12.

The School of Music wraps up the quarter with four back-to-back days of events, including the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic and Campus Bands, UW Symphony, and two performances of Handel’s “Messiah.” There are still a few days left to catch the School of Drama’s production of “Loot” or visit the Jacob Lawrence Gallery for “Toward a…


November 16, 2015

Microbes that are key indicators of Puget Sound’s health in decline

A variety of foraminifera (or forams) — single-celled, marine organisms that live on the sea floor. UW Burke Museum researchers have found forams in Washington’s Bremerton and Bellingham Bay waters have declined in health and numbers, even when chemical testing of the waters fall within healthy limits.

Paleontologists with the University of Washington’s Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture find that tiny organisms called foraminifera have a big story to tell about the health of Puget Sound. Two recent studies about the health of Bellingham Bay and inlets in the Bremerton area found the diversity and number of foraminifera — single-celled marine organisms that live on the sea floor — deteriorated significantly. The decline of these microscopic organisms is consistent with the deterioration of snails and other larger marine animals, even though analysis showed a reduction of chemical pollutants in Bellingham Bay and Bremerton over the same period of time.


November 10, 2015

Arts Roundup: Akram Khan Dance Company, meet the mammals – and Beethoven back-to-back

Sæunn Thorsteinsdottir gives a cello recital, November 16.

Get your fill of Beethoven in three back-to-back days of concerts at the School of Music – and in a recital by cellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, newly appointed artist-in-residence. DXARTS presents its fall concert of electroacoustic music, and the Henry hosts two public lectures. Plus, don’t miss three nights of Indian classical dance with the Akram…


October 14, 2015

Arts Roundup: Pianist Jonathan Biss, Internet Meditation – and Chamber Dance Company

Chamber Dance Company

This week is packed with events and exhibits across campus. Get your modern dance fix with Chamber Dance Company in Meany Hall. Face your fear of snakes at the Burke and take an art break with internet meditation at the Henry Art Gallery. For classical music lovers, there’s a World Series performance by pianist Jonathan…


October 7, 2015

Arts Roundup: Jazz, modern dance – and birds at the Burke

Image of Ted Poor playing a drumset

There’s something for everyone this week: catch a world premiere at the UW World Series, explore the Burke’s world-renowned collection of birds, or enjoy the sounds of 1962 jazz with the School of Music. The Chamber Dance Company celebrates 25 years with four performances at Meany Hall and the Jacob Lawrence Gallery hosts an exhibition…


September 30, 2015

Arts Roundup: Photography, a world premiere – and the acoustics of books

Robert Mirabal out on the Taos Pueblo river

This week, UW World Series begins its 2015-2016 season at Meany Hall with Japanese butoh ensemble Sankai Juku, and continues with a collaboration between string quartet ETHEL and Native American flutist Robert Mirabal. Just across Red Square, acoustical engineer Zackery Belanger explores the acoustics of books in a Henry Art Gallery talk, where visitors will…


Known fish species living in the Salish Sea increases in new report

An illustration of the longfin sculpin (Jordania zonope).

A new report published Tuesday documents all of the fishes that live in the Salish Sea. In total, 253 fish species have been recorded, and that’s about 14 percent more than in the last count.


September 23, 2015

Arts Roundup: birthdays, butoh – and 37,000 balloons

Martin Creed's "Work No. 360: Half the air in a given space," on display in the Henry Art Gallery through September 27.

Arts Roundup is back! The leaves are turning yellow, the days are getting shorter and students are arriving on campus – it’s time to kick off a new season of arts events at the UW. This weekend marks the end of the popular Martin Creed exhibit at the Henry Art Gallery and with it, your…


August 13, 2015

‘Scarface,’ an ancient cousin to mammals, unearthed in Africa

Photograph of the skull of Ichibengops munyamadziensis.

A team of scientists has identified a new species of “pre-mammal” based on fossils unearthed in Zambia’s Luangwa Basin in 2009. The ancient, Dachshund-sized creature lived some 255 million years ago, in a time just before the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history. Its discoverers include Christian Sidor, professor of biology at the University of…


August 4, 2015

New fish genus and species named for its red, fingerlike fins

Red, orange and pink color variation.

University of Washington scientists recently announced the name of a new genus and species of frogfish, which are small, stocky creatures found in most tropical and subtropical oceans around the world.


June 10, 2015

Arts Roundup: Art breaks, ArtVentures – and 80 days of summer

80 Days of Summer

School may be out for summer, but the arts on campus are heating up. Art Breaks and ArtVentures abound at the Henry Art Gallery, and the Jacob Lawrence Gallery is buzzing with the work of recent grads. Kids and kids at heart will want to check out the daily activities offered at the Burke Museum…


May 20, 2015

Burke Museum paleontologists discover the first dinosaur fossil in Washington state

The first dinosaur fossil from Washington state (left) is a portion of a femur leg bone (full illustration right) from a theropod dinosaur.

Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture paleontologists have documented the first dinosaur fossil from Washington state. The fossil was collected by a Burke Museum research team along the shores of Sucia Island State Park in the San Juan Islands.



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