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News and Events

EFJ/ICWI Discovery Zone

UWI Geological Society - Back in Business

Interactive Learning Centre

Sea Cow with legs

 

   
 

 

EFJ/ICWI Discovery Zone

The Environmental Foundation of Jamaica through its Discretionary Grant Programme provided support for the installation of a Discovery Zone in the UWIGM. This programme is also being supported by a grant received from the ICWI Group Foundation. The discovery Zone will cater to Early childhood education level visitors. This will enable this age group to learn about science through various activities designed and executed within the zone and throught the museum. This finacial support is greatly appreciated from our sponsors.

The Museum has been very lucky to receive assistance from Mr. Lemoy Titus, Mr. Cecil Hedge and Mr. Hank Hedge for their invaluable help in construction and partition design works.

 

The UWI Geological Society - Back in Business

The UWI Geological Society after a long hiatus is now up and running. The new executive was elected on Wednesday May 4, 2011 at a meeting held in the UWIGM Learning Centre at the Department of Geography and Geology.

The New Exective Members are:

Kimoya Rennie - President

Anne-Teresa Birthright - Vice President

Giselle Kowlesser - Secretary

Jodi-Ann Roye - Assistant Secretary

Venissa Russel - Treasurer

Oshane Bryant - Public Relations Officer

Verlando Small - Fundraising/Events Coordinator

 

CIDA Funded Interactive Learning Centre Opened

The Museum has received approximately $12,000 Canadian Dollars to enhance the Museum. The project is Phase 1 of Component one of the UWIGM Rejuvenation and Modernization Project. The project involves the converting of a small backroom in the museum into an interactive learning/discovery centre.

The project began in September 2009 and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2009.The UWIGM, the Department of Geography and Geology and by extension the University of the West Indies is most grateful to the Canadian High Commission through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives for this grant.

DOCUMENTS

PRESS RELEASE FOR UWIGM INTERACTIVE LEARNING CENTRE OPENING

MESSAGE FROM CANADA'S HIGH COMMISSIONER TO JAMAICA, HIS EXCELLENCY STEPHEN HALLIHAN

BEFORE AND AFTER PICTURES OF MUSEUM AND LEARNING CENTRE

GLEANER PHOTO

OBSERVER ARTICLE (PDF)

 

PHOTO GALLERY

CUTTING OF THE RIBBON TO THE INTERACTIVE LEARNING CENTRE (H.E. Mr. Stephen Hallihan, Canada's High Commisioner to jamaica and Dr. Sherene James-Williamson, Lecturer and Museum Curator Department of Geography and Geology)

 

H.E. MR STEPHEN HALLIHAN (CANADA'S HIGH COMMISSIONER TO JAMAICA) AND PROFESSOR GORDON SHIRLEY (PRO VICE CHANCELLOR AND PRINCIPAL, UWI MONA CAMPUS) IN THE LEARNING CENTRE INTERACTING WITH CHILDREN

Left to right - Dr. rebecca Tortello, Special Advisor to the Minister, Ministry of Education and Youth, Dr. Sherene James-Williamson, Lecturer and Museum Curator, Department of Geography and Geology, professor Gordon Shirley, Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal, UWI, Mona Campus

Foreground: Two children from the Angels Primary School who participated in the Interactive Whiteboard demonstration.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Pezosiren portelli Domning
"The Sea Cow with legs"

Over the last ten years a joint research group from Howard University, Florida Museum of Natural History and the University of the West Indies has been investigating a fossiliferous site in St. James. The site is located in the Yellow Limestone Chapelton Formation of Early Middle Eocene age and consists of alternating fossiliferous mud rocks and thin impure limestones.

The site is particularly noteworthy for the mammal fossils that it yields, which include the rhinoceros, Hyrachyrus, and a new genus and species of fossil sea cow Pezosiren portelli Domning, the latter named in the 11th October edition of Nature by Daryl Domning. This is the most complete, primitive sea cow yet discovered, and is unique to Jamaica. Pezosiren is a distant relation of the endangered Manatee that has flippers, and lives in the shallow seas around Jamaica.

 

 
   

 
 

The primitive sea cow Pezosiren portelli with a very happy Daryl Domning

Pezosiren has legs unlike the modern Manatee which has flippers.


 
Pezosiren was a pig-sized animal with a length of 2.1 m. It had a short neck, a barrel-shaped trunk, a moderate-lengthed tail and four short legs. The skeleton will eventually be displayed in the Geology Museum at the University of the West Indies*.

The only other closely related fossil sea cow is Prorastomus sirenoides Owen, which is known from a skull and atlas vertebra found loose in Quashies River, Trelawny, and attributed to the Stettin Formation of Early Eocene age. The details of the legs in this form are, however, unknown.
The morphology of the skeleton of Pezosiren is comparable to that of similar-sized land mammals and indicates that Pezosiren was capable of supporting its body weight out of water. Other characteristics (such as, details of the nasal opening and the thick ribs), however, suggest that it spent much of its time in the water. This new species of sea cow represents a unique glimpse of a stage in their evolution when they made the transition from the land to the sea.

*Donations to the sea cow fund can be sent to Dr. Sherene James-Williamson Curator, Department of Geography and Geology, University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica.

         
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