“Jingmai O’Connor Joins Field Museum’s Curatorium”

The Field Museum of Natural History announced on Wednesday, October 7, A.D. 2020 that Dr. Jingmai O’Connor has joined the staff as the new Associate Curator of Fossil Reptiles.  The Field Museum described her as “a world expert on flying dinosaurs and the transition of dinosaurs into birds.”  Her area of expertise is birds from the Mesozoic.  The Field Museum stated, “She’s eager to bring that expertise to our collection, particularly the 50-million-year-old bird fossils from Wyoming’s Green River Formation… We’re lucky to have the world’s largest collection of these perfectly preserved fossils—picture bones and feathers!—that can help piece together the bird family tree.” 

Her mother was a geologist.  She grew up in Pasadena, California and moved to Beijing after she earned her Ph.D.  In 2015, she became the youngest full professor at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (I.V.P.P.).  In April of that same year, Dr. O’Connor and several colleagues at the I.V.P.P. represented the Chinese Academy of Sciences at an event held at The Field Museum: the 2015 Workshop Of Sino-US Collaborative Research in Paleontology (“Rise of Modern Biological Diversity in the Phanerozoic”).  Click here to listen to Kara Snyder interview her last year for the Le vital corps Salon podcast.

The Field Museum stated, “She discovered a Microraptor with a new species of lizard in its stomach and helped show that a group of dinosaurs, the scansoriopterygids, had bat-like wings and could fly.”  She was one of five paleontologists whom Nat Geo had speak in “Imagining Dinosaurs” via National Geographic Facebook (www.facebook.com/natgeo) on Thursday, October 8, A.D. 2020.

You can meet her at a virtual event and hear about her time studying dinosaur fossils in China.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic (I assume), this year the Field Associatesannual fundraiser gala is a virtual event.  Dr. Ryan Williams, Associate Curator and Chair of the Anthropology Department, will also be on hand to talk about the global history of beer.  Second City, Chicago’s famed improv comedy group, will host the second hour, along with brewmaster Dan Whitley.  The event, EVOLVE 2020: Monster Masquerade, will be held on Saturday, October 17, A.D. 2020 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  Tickets are $50 per login (with one login per household).  If you would like to host a watch party, there is a suggested donation of $25 for additional guests.  Click here to purchase tickets.

Earlier on the same night, Dr. O’Connor will be participating in the 2020 Virtual Gala (“Night at the Museum”).  This event will be taking place from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 17, A.D. 2020.  Held by the Women’s Board and the Board of Trustees, the speakers will include Dr. O’Connor; Julian Siggers, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of The Field Museum; James Holstein, Collections Manager and Geologist; William Parkinson, Ph.D., Curator of Anthropology; Lesley de Souza, Ph.D., Conservation Scientist and Ichthyologist; and Janet Voight, Ph.D., Women’s Board Associate Curator of Invertebrate Zoology.  The guest speaker will be Dame Jane Goodall, Ph.D., D.B.E.  Connie and Dennis Keller will be receiving the Marshall Field V Award for Distinguished Leadership in recognition of their philanthropy.  Click here to register for the 2020 Virtual Gala with PJH & Associates, Inc. Sponsorship levels range from $1,000 contributions to $100,000 to be on the Premier Host Committee.  Click here to watch the 2020 Virtual Gala via YouTube.

Figure 1 Credit: Jochen Stierberger Caption: This is Jingmai O’Connor (dubbed the “Punk Rock Paleontologist”).

The Field Museum declared September 30, A.D. 2020 was “Field Giving Day” and had a fundraising goal of $100,000.  On October 1, A.D. 2020, The Field Museum announced it had reached an “extended #FieldGivingDay goal” by raising $150,000.

The Field Museum re-opened in July after being closed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Click here to learn about visiting The Field Museum in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Credit: The Field Museum Caption: This is a video about procedures to follow at The Field Museum since it re-opened in July after being closed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

The Field Museum is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with the last admission at 4:00 p.m.  Currently, it is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays to undergo cleaning.

As I explained in April, The Field Museum announced after an eight-month-long search that Dr. Siggers would become the next President and Chief Executive Officer in September. Two years ago, The Field Museum celebrated the 125th anniversary of its foundation in the wake of Chicago’s first World’s Fair, the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893). 

The Field Museum is located on the Museum Campus at the northern end of the Chicago Park District’s Burnham Park, across from Grant Park. The address is 1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60605.  The phone number is (312) 922-9410.  The Website is https://www.fieldmuseum.org/.


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