UW News

Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture


October 10, 2019

ArtsUW Roundup: Visit the Burke Museum, attend a Sankai Juku performance, and more.

This week in the arts, attend a Washin Kai recital in classical Japanese, listen to the musical musings of Indigo Mist, converse over coffee, and more. Visit the Burke on Indigenous Peoples’ Day October 14, 10 am – 5pm | Burke Museum As part of Opening Weekend, celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the City of…


October 2, 2019

ArtsUW Roundup: New Burke Opening, Marianne Stecher lectures for Scandinavian 30, Composite Gestures closing soon, and more

This week in the arts, attend a Chamber Dance Company concert, view photographs from the Henry’s collections, reflect on the race of contemporary ballet, and more. Katja Petrowskaja: A Family Story Between Memory and Forgetting October 7, 6 – 8 pm | Communications Building In conversation with Assistant Professor Sasha Senderovich (Slavic, Jewish Studies), Katja Petrowskaja will discuss her 2013…


September 27, 2019

ArtsUW Roundup: Lecture with Art History professors, dance performance, South Asian film symposium, and more

Start Fall Quarter artfully by attending a welcome back dance party, purchasing your tickets for Burke Opening Weekend, attending a concert, and more. Concert: Garrick Ohlsson October 1, 7:30 pm | Meany Hall – Katharyn Alvord Gerlich Theater Seattle favorite Garrick Ohlsson returns to Meany Center with a program of Brahms and Chopin.  Regarded as a…


September 20, 2019

ArtsUW Roundup: Visit Arts Buzz at Dawg Daze, buy tickets to the Burke Opening Weekend, and more

In the arts, attend an opening reception at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery, hear from School of Art + Art History + Design faculty, visit the Allen Library for a concert, and more! School of Art + Art History + Design Faculty Lectures Six faculty members will each give presentations during autumn quarter as part of the…


September 12, 2019

ArtsUW Roundup: Hugo House documentary, exhibition opening at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery, concert in the library, and more!

In the arts, attend a film screening about Hugo House produced by Frances McCue and directed by Ryan K. Adams, go to an exhibition opening at Jacob Lawrence Gallery, buy tickets for the New Burke Opening, and more! Hugo House documentary “Where the House Was” September 21, 7:30 pm | Northwest Film Form For almost…


August 27, 2019

ArtsUW Roundup; William Morris and the Kelmscott Press Exhibition, Closing soon – Cecilia Vicuña’s About to Happen, and more

In the arts, purchase tickets for the New Burke Opening Weekend, attend a rare duet setting performance by two School of Music faculty members, view a selection of gowns from the Henry’s collection of clothing and textiles, and more! New Burke Opening October 12th Ticket sales open on September 3rd for the New Burke Museum…


July 17, 2019

Video: ‘Pickled’ sharks from the UW Burke Museum fish collection

Latex gloved hands holding head of preserved baby sixgill shark.

The Burke Museum at the University of Washington has North America’s largest fish collection that includes a number of sharks, including many species that live in Pacific Northwest waters.


July 12, 2019

Video: Friend or foe? Fun facts about sharks

In honor of Shark Awareness Day on July 14, UW News sat down with Katherine Maslenikov, manager of the UW Fish Collection, to learn about sharks in the Pacific Northwest and other fun facts about sharks.


June 20, 2019

Mammals and their relatives thrived, diversified during so-called ‘Age of Dinosaurs,’ researchers show

Illustration of an extinct marsupial.

Old myths state that, during the time of the dinosaurs, mammals and their relatives were small and primitive. But new research shows that, during the time of the dinosaurs, mammals and their relatives actually underwent two large ecological radiations, diversifying into climbing, gliding and burrowing forms with a variety of diets.


June 18, 2019

First book published on fishes of the Salish Sea

rockfish illustration

The first book documenting all of the known species of fishes that live in the Salish Sea is now available.


May 23, 2019

Tiny fishes fuel life on coral reefs

small fish looks out cautiously

In a paper published May 23 in Science, a team of international researchers from Simon Fraser University, University of Washington and other institutions reveals that the iconic abundance of fishes on reefs is fueled by an unlikely source: tiny, bottom-dwelling reef fishes.


May 2, 2019

Bats evolved diverse skull shapes due to echolocation, diet

A close-up image of a California leaf-nosed bat.

In a paper published May 2 in Nature Communications, a University of Washington team reports that two major forces have shaped bat skulls over their evolutionary history — echolocation and diet — generating a huge diversity of skull shapes across 1,300 bat species today.


April 30, 2019

Flowering plants, new teeth and no dinosaurs: New study sheds light on the rise of mammals

Well-preserved fossils ― like this Yanoconodon allini (Specimen No.: NJU P06001; Formation: Yixian; Age: 122.2–124.6 million years ago; Provenance: China) ― enabled the team to infer ecology of these extinct mammal species and look at changes in mammal community structure during the last 165 million years.

A new study published April 30 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences identified three factors critical in the rise of mammal communities since they first emerged during the Age of Dinosaurs: the rise of flowering plants; the evolution of tribosphenic molars in mammals; and the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs, which reduced competition between mammals and other vertebrates in terrestrial ecosystems.


January 31, 2019

Iguana-sized dinosaur cousin discovered in Antarctica, shows how life at the South Pole bounced back after mass extinction

An illustration of a forest in Antarctica 250 million years ago, showing reptiles that lived there.

Scientists have just discovered a dinosaur relative that lived in Antarctica 250 million years ago. The iguana-sized reptile’s genus name, Antarctanax, means “Antarctic king.”


December 12, 2018

Arts Roundup: Visit the Henry Art Gallery, see Clotilde Jiménez’s exhibition, and attend the last event of the year at the Burke

last night at the burke

End 2018 artfully by visiting the Henry Art Gallery, seeing Clotilde Jiménez’s “Apple of My Eye” before it closes, and ringing in the new year and at the same time – saying goodbye – to the old Burke Museum! Visit the Henry Art Gallery The Henry is internationally recognized for bold and challenging exhibitions, for pushing…


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

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

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

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…



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