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Blaire Van Valkenburgh appointed Inaugural Donald R. Dickey Chair in Vertebrate Biology

Professor Blaire Van Valkenburgh

Professor Blaire Van Valkenburgh, an internationally renown vertebrate biologist and paleontologist, has been appointed the inaugural Donald R. Dickey chair in Vertebrate Biology within the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. This endowed chair was created through a generous endowment from Donald R. Dickey, Jr. and Hisae Dickey. The endowment supports the professor who stewards the Donald R. Dickey Bird and Mammal Collection; it also supports the curation and maintenance of the collection.

The Dickey Bird and Mammal Collection is one of the world’s best collections of bird and mammal specimens from the American southwest and Central America. It houses nearly 64,000 specimens from North and Central America, and from islands in the Pacific. Also included in the collection are Donald R. Dickey’s rare photographs, books, and field notes. The invaluable collection of specimens are actively used, both for research and for undergraduate teaching. Professor Van Valkenburgh has curated the collection since 1986, and led the effort to bring the collection to its current optimal conditions in UCLA’s Hershey Hall.

Archaeologists and geographers team to predict locations of ancient Buddhist sites

In a study published this week in Current Science, archaeologist Monica Smith and geographer Thomas Gillespie identified 121 possible locations of what are known as Ashoka’s “edicts.”

Astronomers confirm faintest early-universe galaxy ever seen

An international team of scientists, including two professors and three graduate students from UCLA, has detected and confirmed the faintest early-universe galaxy ever.

A media-savvy celeb, Trump knows how to get coverage, journalists say

Donald Trump is a political phenomenon, a man extremely adept at maximizing his celebrity, which has kept him in the media spotlight throughout the presidential primary season and left his opponents fumbling in the wake of his wildly non-traditional, off-the-cuff publicity tactics, said political journalists Dylan Byers and Sasha Issenberg at a public discussion Tuesday night at UCLA.

Jared Diamond: A dispassionate look at religion over the course of history

Jared Diamond, UCLA’s Pulitzer Prize-winning professor of geography and an astute intellectual observer of human life in multiple practices, faced a standing-room-only audience who came to hear his compelling lecture titled “The Evolution and Function of Human Religion” at a celebration of the 20th anniversary of UCLA’s Center for the Study of Religion.

Presidential ads put to the test: SpotCheck evaluates 2016 campaign commercials

Politics and media experts from UCLA and Vanderbilt University will provide a data-backed understanding of commercials’ persuasiveness and effectiveness with SpotCheck, a new approach to rating political ads.

UCLA faculty voice: Are we leaving nature behind?

Extinction is happening all around the world, but it’s happening in a way that barely touches the lives of the world’s children — most of whom live in cities.

Foxes on one of California’s Channel Islands have least genetic variation of all wild animals

UCLA biologists report in a new study that a species of foxes living on six of California’s Channel Islands have a surprising absence of genetic variation.

Seven UCLA faculty elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced the election of 213 new members who include some of the world’s most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers and artists.

Major advance in ‘synthetic biochemistry’ holds promise for industrial products and biofuels

UCLA biochemists have devised a clever way to make a variety of useful chemical compounds, which could lead to the production of biofuels and new pharmaceuticals.