Written by Hank Woolley.
Staring up the snout of a skull of one of Madagascar’s modern crocodiles in the new DPAB collections facility.
Saláma from Tana! Yesterday marked a truly special day both for the Madagascar Paleontology Project team and for the Université d’Antananarivo. Not only was the Département de Paleontologie et d’Anthopologie Biologique (the DPAB or Department of Paleontology and Biological Anthropology) celebrating its 40th anniversary, but it also marked the opening of the brand new paleontology collections facility at the university.
The anthropology section of the new collections facility.
The day started with a brief tour of the new collections facility, which consisted of a brand new classroom, an expanded collections room with cabinets and display cases, and offices/work tables for collections staff, students, and volunteers. This new facility gives the University the capacity to store and expand its fossil collections such that the paleontology department can continue to support a rapidly increasing number of students interested in paleontology.
We then moved to one of the university’s large lecture halls for the main ceremony, consisting of speeches by the head of the DPAB, the head of the Faculty of Sciences at the university, the president of the university, Madagascar’s minister of higher education, and Dr. David Krause, representing the Madgascar Paleontology Project and the Madagascar Ankeezy Fund. While all speeches (except for Dr. Krause’s) were given in Malagasy and I couldn’t understand any of the words, I could still comprehend the great amount of pride that the university has in the DPAB. It was also amazing to see how grateful the department is for all the work that Dr. Krause has done to help advance paleontology in Madagascar over the past 22 years. In all, the 4-hour ceremony demonstrated the excitement incredible amount of potential for scientific advancement in Madagascar, and it was an honor to be part of the whole thing.
The president of the Université d’Antananarivo.
Dr. David Krause.
View from just outside the new DPAB collections facility.
Part of the Mahajanga Basin team at the reception afterward.
Stay tuned for more updates from Tana as we prepare to head southwest to the Morondava Basin for the second leg of our field season!