About Vincent

Vincent is the Copywriter at HMNS.

HOW-TO: Make your own super last-minute superhero costume for our Comic-Con Mixers & Elixirs

Need a last-minute costume for our Comic-Con mixer on July 18? No problem! As a connoisseur of procrastination myself, I know that waiting until the last minute to prepare a costume can be as stressful as it is a unique and beautiful catalyst for creating stunning, creative accoutrements.

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Copy Man surveying the landscape, forever on the search for those who need rescuing from copy-related emergencies.

Here’s a simple way to create your own bare bones superhero costume:

SUPPLIES

  1. Regular clothes
  2. Underwear (that can fit over your outerwear)
  3. A large swath of fabric
  4. Paper
  5. String
  6. Markers

PROCESS

Step 1: Pick a super-identity.
I chose “Copy Man” because I’m a copywriter.

Step 2: Pick out clothes that fit your super-identity.
I picked what I wore today to work … because I’m a copy writer.

Step 3: Put on clothes from step two.
Already on!

Step 4: Put underwear over clothes (bonus points if they also fit your super-identity or are really cute).
Sorry, if I had thought about this step before I left the house I would’ve worn cuter underwear.

Step 5: Find large piece of fabric and drape it over your shoulders.
Instant cape! Mine’s made from a curtain, fixed together with earbuds.

Step 6: Make a mask out of the paper and string.
Feel free to color yours in, but I wanted a more monotone palette.

Step 7: Draw a symbol on a piece of paper to represent your super-identity.
CM = Copy Man!

Step 8: Affix symbol to your shirt.
Tape is a beautiful invention.

Bonus step: Create awesome headgear or props with more paper and/or other found objects.

TA-DA! DONE. This took me, like, 15 minutes to put together, so if a friend of yours tries to come up with excuses on how they don’t have time to put a costume together before our Comic-Con Mixer at 7 p.m. on Friday July 18, tell them, “NO EXCUSES!”*

*You don’t have to wear a costume, but they are encouraged! See you Friday!

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Copy Man was just a mild mannered copywriter until one day the Houston Museum of Natural Science decided to throw a Comic-Con party.

 

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He now fights crime and poor writing with his “Cosmic Copy Ray”

Treat yo’ self : Sharpen your shopping chops at the Summer Trunk Shows in our Museum Store

Congratulations! You’re doing a fantastic job getting through the summer: hydration levels are up, tan looks good and you’ve had your suitcase packed for vacation since May.

Museum Store Treat YourselfAll that summer prep is hard work though — time to treat yourself! Starting this Friday and continuing every Friday through August 8, you can treat yourself to 20 percent off select items at our Summer Trunk Shows in the Museum Store

July 18 – BEACH PARTY 
Featuring Krystal Sasso, James Peach, Ax + Apple, Zad and more!

July 25 –  REBECCA LANKFORD

August 1 - THE COLOR OF SUMMER
Featuring Alexis Bittar, Leighelena, Lele Sadoughi and more!

August 8 - MIRTA TUMMINO

Each Trunk Show features different designers and themes, so no matter what you need to treat yourself, we’ve got it.

But you’ve got to start somewhere. Let us help. Do you need:

Tooth jewelry?
Krystal Sasso Beach Bunny Shark Tooth Bracelet 

Treat yourself!

Awesome necklaces?
Made UK Irima Pendant Small Diamond Pendant

TREAT YOURSELF.

Pearls?
James Peach Cluster Pearl Leather Necklace

#TreatYourself

Understated elegance?
Rebecca Lankford Labradorite Diamond Necklace 

Treat-Yo-Self

Antlers?
Rebecca Lankford Antler Sapphire Necklace and Antler Snake Necklace

TREAT. YO. SELF.

Turquoise?
Alexis Bittar ‘Elements’ Turquoise And Labradorite Necklace

Treat YourSELF!

Gems, gems and more gems?
Mirta Tummino Moonstone Labradorite Necklace

TREEEEAT YOURSEEEEEELF!

 

The 10 Kinds of Pandas You Find on the Internet

Everyone knows cute animals basically run the Internet. But what’s the best of the best when it comes to Internet cuteness?

panda bear wallpaper 9

I hereby put forth that pandas are the epitome of Internet animal cuteness, and should reign with their ever-powerful cuteness over the masses from a bamboo throne … which would have to be replaced constantly, because they’d eat it (in an adorable fashion, of course).

Don’t believe me? Check out the 10 kinds of pandas you find on the Internet:

(Or perhaps you’re already panda savvy, in which case you should totally come see Pandas: The Journey Home now playing in the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre.)

10. SAD PANDA

Because nothing’s more adorably sad than a sad panda.

 

9. A-LIST PANDA

When you’re this cute, A-listers can’t get enough photo ops — even though the pandas obviously hog the spotlight.

 

8. PANDA SWAG PANDA

You’d wear a hat of your own face, too, if it were this cute.

 

7. HAPPY PANDA

Nothing is filled with more joy than a happy panda.

 

6. SISYPHUS PANDA

Because when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

 

5. BABY PANDA

Don’t even pretend your baby’s this cute. #SorryNotSorry

 

4. PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE PANDA

Sometimes you just need that extra push and WHO COULD EVER GET MAD AT A PANDA?!

 

3. PANDA POSERS

Everyone’s trying to rip off their adorableness.

 

2. PANDA WITH ALLERGIES

Tell me what’s cuter than a giant panda scared by a surprisingly loud sneeze from an eensie weensie panda. TELL ME.

 

1. ENDANGERED PANDA

Unfortunately, the endangered status of these miraculous creatures makes me a sad panda. However, these crazy-cute guys and gals are starting to make a come back! Learn all about the conservation programs in their native China and see how their population is beginning to rebound in Pandas: The Journey Home, now playing in the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre.

We’d like to introduce you to the four new species of African house bats

Editor’s note: This blog post is a summation of “New Species of Scotophilus (Chiroptera: Vespertiliondae) from Sub-Saharan Africa,” written by HMNS Curator of Vertebrate Zoology Daniel M. Brooks and John W. Bickham, and published as a monograph in the Occasional Papers of the Museum at Texas Tech University.

Sub-Saharan Africa is a hotbed of biological diversity. A seemingly endless stream of new species has been discovered from different locales every year for centuries. The idea of this great biodiversity is widely accepted and, in fact, celebrated. But advances in genomic sequencing and morphology and an increased ability to obtain reliable specimens while recording their location shows that we’ve really just hit the tip of the iceberg. Many individual clades (or groups) of species should actually be distinguished further from each other as unique species themselves.

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Distribution of the four new species in Africa

The conservation question

Hold on a second here. Why is this important? What kind of difference could it make if there are 15 or 19 or 30 species of house bats in the world?

Glad you asked! Having an accurate taxonomy (naming and classification system) guides conservation efforts, while incomplete records impede these same efforts. Look at it this way: if you don’t know that a species exists, how can you protect it? In our modern era, we’re seeing rapid climate change and urbanization, which puts habitats under stresses to which species cannot quickly adapt. Therefore, having complete records allows us to make more meaningful conservation efforts because we have a better picture of what we’re trying to conserve. Having an accurate taxonomy also helps us to learn about biogeography, evolution, biodiversity and biology in general.

Now on to the bats!

As of 2005, there were 15 species of Scotophilus (house bats) documented. These were distributed between Indonesia, mainland Asia, Madagascar, Reunion Island and mainland Africa. However, these 15 species do not accurately reflect our current knowledge of Scotophilus biodiversity.

A 2009 study by Robert G. Trujillo sequenced cytochrome-b (part of an organism’s DNA) in Scotoplilus. Cytochrome-b is found in mitochondrial DNA, which is the genetic material in mitochondria (the “energy factory” of cells, if you will). These sequences are very useful in determining species differentiation.

With this information, Trujillo identified four distinct clades (branches on a species family tree). These include clades 8, 9, 11 and 12. Brooks and Bickham examined specimens from each of these lineages to see if there were enough physical differences between the organisms to further classify them as distinct species.

The clades and species of Scotophilus studied for the mitochondrial cytochrome-b gene by Trujillo et al. (2009). The new species described in this  paper are circled.

The clades and species of Scotophilus studied for the mitochondrial cytochrome-b gene by Trujillo et al. (2009). The new species described in this paper are circled.

Brooks and Bickham used skull and body measurements to compare specimens of each lineage with specimens representing the appropriate nominate — “textbook specimens” — of a given species).

Basically, they got very specific: measuring specimens from one predetermined area, and compared them to the nominate “textbook specimens” to see what physical differences there may or may not be.

When they compared the specimens, we saw that the genetic differences between the clades matched up with physical differences, which is why I’m proud to introduce to you four new species of African house bats (Scotophilus)!

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Study skin of Scotophilus andrewreborii holotype

 

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Study cranium and mandible of Scotophilus andrewreborii holotype

Scotophilus andrewreborii
Andrew Rebori’s House Bat

It is our honor to name this species for Andrew N. Rebori (1948–2011). Rebori unknowingly touched lives and inspired many individuals, including many museum professionals. He always maintained a keen interest in animals, especially bats, which exemplified his spirit and attitude toward life: “Take flight every new day!”

Type locality: Kenya: Rift Valley Province, Nakuru District, 12 km S, 4 km E Nakuru (0º24′S, 36º07′E).

Diagnosis: Scotophilus andrewreborii is distinguished from S. dinganii from Natal by a combination of external and craniodental features. S. andrewreborii averages slightly larger in body size for most characters. Additionally the dorsal pelage in S. andrewreborii is more reddish than the browner dorsal fur of S. dinganii, and the ventral pelage in S. andrewreborii is orange versus a much darker grey in S. dinganii.

Cranial measurements in S. andrewreborii are smaller, with non-overlapping measurements for braincase breadth for males, and shorter mean skull length (18.9 in S. andrewreborii vs. 19.6 mm for S. dinganii), narrower zygomatic, shorter braincase height, narrower interorbital width (4.4 vs. 4.8 mm), decreased breadth across upper molars, and decreased breadth across upper canines for females.

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Study skin of Scotophilus livingstonii holotype

 

Study cranium and mandible of Scotophilus livingstonii holotype.

Study cranium and mandible of Scotophilus livingstonii
holotype

Scotophilus livingstonii
Livingstone’s House Bat

It is our honor to name this species for the late David Livingstone (1813–1873). At a time when most of Africa was barely known compared to today, Livingstone, a young Scot of humble means, explored central Africa. Between 1841 and his death in 1873, Livingstone made several expeditions into the interior of the continent, mapping uncharted lands and searching for navigable waterways.

Type locality: Kenya: Western Province, Kakamega District, Ikuywa River Bridge, 6.5 km S, 19 km E Kakamega (0º13′N, 34º55′E).

Diagnosis: Scotophilus livingstonii is distinguished from S. dinganii from Natal by a combination of external and craniodental features. S. livingstonii averages larger overall in body size. Additionally the dorsal pelage in S. livingstonii is more reddish-mahogany than the browner dorsal fur of S. dinganii, and the ventral abdominal pelage in S. livingstonii is light buff vs. a much darker grey in S. dinganii.

Scotophilus livingstonii is also distinguished from S. dinganii from Natal by cranio-dental measurements. Male S. livingstonii have a shorter mean skull length, and females have a longer mean mandibular length.

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Study skin of Scotophilus ejetai holotype

 

Study cranium and mandible of Scotophilus ejetai holotype.

Study cranium and mandible of Scotophilus ejetai holotype

Scotophilus ejetai
Ejeta’s House Bat

This species is named in honor of Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, Distinguished Professor of Plant Breeding & Genetics and International Agriculture at Purdue University. He was born and raised in the village of Wollonkomi in west-central Ethiopia. Dr. Ejeta is a plant breeder and geneticist who received the 2009 World Food Prize for his research and development of improved sorghum hybrids resistant to drought and Striga weed. The results of his work have dramatically enhanced the food supply of hundreds of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa.

Type locality: Ethiopia: Orimaya Region, Dogy River Bridge (8º21’43″N, 35º53’02″E). Collected at 1390 m above sea level.

Diagnosis: Scotophilus ejetai is distinguished from S. dinganii from Natal by a combination of external and craniodental features. S. ejetai averages smaller overall in body size, with females presenting non-overlapping forearm length.  Additionally the ventral pelage in S. ejetai has an orange hue, whereas the ventral fur is buff with a greyish abdomen in S. dinganii.

Cranial measurements in S. ejetai are smaller, with non-overlapping measurements for skull length, zygomatic breadth and braincase breadth for males, and zygomatic breadth and braincase breadth for females.

Study skin of Scotophilus trujilloi holotype.

Study skin of Scotophilus trujilloi holotype

 

Study cranium and mandible of Scotophilus trujilloi holotype.

Study cranium and mandible of Scotophilus trujilloi holotype

Scotophilus trujilloi
Trujillo’s House Bat

It is our honor to name this species for Dr. Robert Trujillo (b. 1975), whose ground-breaking doctoral dissertation on the molecular systematics of Scotophilus paved the way for the description of the four cryptic species described here. Dr. Trujillo’s dedication to science and environmental stewardship are reflected in his outstanding career in the US Forest Service.

Type locality: Kenya: Coastal Province, Kwale District, Moana Marine Station, 1 km S, 2 km E Ukunda (4º18′S, 39º35′E).

Diagnosis: Scotophilus trujilloi is distinguished from S. viridis from Mozambique Island by a combination of external and craniodental features. S. trujilloi averages larger in body size and shorter in forearm length, with females presenting non-overlapping head-body and forearm lengths. Additionally the dorsal pelage in S. trujilloi is mahogany, whereas the dorsal fur is brown in S. viridis. The ventral pelage in S. trujilloi is orange with a greyish abdomen, whereas the ventral fur is grayish-brown grizzled whitish abdominally in S. viridis.

Cranial measurements in S. trujilloi differ from S. viridis, with shorter mean braincase height in males; and females, as well as non-overlapping mandibular length in females.