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Good news and scanning

On the good news front, the numbers came out yesterday and
visitorship here at the NMNH has been at a rate exceeding 10
million visitors a year so far this year, which makes the
NMNH the most visited museum in the world, about 10-15% more
even than our Air and Space museum (one of my favorite
museums in the world as well). Dinosaurs are an important
part of what brings people here. Actually, the numbers are
so high there have been some problems with the crowds being
too large at times, but will not go into that for now.

The new horned dinosaur section of our hall is moving along
and we hope to open by late Fall. We'll actually have cast
heads on display of Pachycephalosaurus, Stegoceras,
 and Homalocephale  as part of the Marginocephalia section
of it, part of my evil plan to finally get pachys
represented in our hall by more than just a small model in
the extreme corner of the Cretaceous diorama. I don't know
if I ever saw these four heads together in place before.
They are pure coolness. Next step in my satanic plan is to
sneak ankylosaurs in when we redo the stegosaur section. We
will have some relationship discussions as well and all the
plans are beautiful, so come see it when it opens.

By the way, if you're ever in the area the Calvert Marine
Museum in Calvert Co., MD is a wonderful place to visit,
especially after renovations of recent years. Not a surprise
is that the Museum does concentrate on the Miocene and
Pliocene of the region (great collecting there, for the
overburden) but is a very nice local museum, and there are
few things neater than a good local museum. They also have
Stephen Godfrey as a paleontologist there these days, who is
a friend of dinosaurs as well as cetaceans, and it's been
great making connections happen there and getting to know
him, he's a great hire.

Our laser scanner just got delivered, so I get to learn how
to use this system, the same one we used for the back of the
frill of Triceratops  and a great one it is, a later version
of the one Celeste Horner has been using so nicely and with
which she has been so generous with many other
paleontologists. So I hope to start running more and more
dinosaur material through, as well as lots of other neat
stuffola. I suspect paleohominids, primates in general, and
cetaceans will be big movers as well as all the paleo stuff
I plan to squeek through. I have to start assembling
procedures and protocols for it's use, and  the use of the
data from it, with Sally Shelton.

I'm also getting ready to visit the Bay Area for a vacation
soon with my lovely bride, Linda Deck, as well as Bob
Walters and Tess Kissinger, two of my favorite people in the
world.  We'll be visiting Lisa Federici, the wonderful lady
who took care of the Triceratops  scanning planning and
arranging with Art Andersen and myself, and the other types
here at NMNH. Will stop in on my buddy Mark Goodwin for lots
of reasons, including working on some pachy scanning I plan
to do, and have done. I think we'll be able to visit ILM (I
hope) and I, the non-drinker of the crew (I think it's Bob
Bakker, Ray Wilhite and I amongst dinosaur types who
abstain), will be the designated driver as our crew drinks
their way around Napa and Sonoma. If anyone has any
suggestions - other than the obvious Berkeley and CalAcad -
for visiting, please let me know off list. this is intended
to be a real vacation, so my overly-strained grey matter can
rest, but am always up for some neat paleo places. Anyway,
will be away from the 7th to 17th of June in case anyone
looks for me.


Ralph Chapman

Ralph E. Chapman
Applied Morphometrics Laboratory
National Museum of Natural history
ADP, EG-15  NHB, 10th & Constitution, NW
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, DC 20560-0136
(202) 786-2293, Fax: (202) 357-4122