The Christian Science Monitor Weekly

April 22 & 29, 2019

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42 THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR WEEKLY | APRIL 22 & 29, 2019 I N PICTURES 1 C arl Mehling has seen a few surprises during his 18 years sifting through fossils and fakes on Identification Day at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Mr. Mehling, a senior museum specialist, smiles warmly at visitors as they hand him one specimen after another at the vertebrate paleontology and paleobotany stand. "You have no idea what you're going to get," he says. Mysterious rocks large and small are passed to him from curious members of the public. On this day, he happily informs a young Samuel Garcés that his rock contains a mosasaur tooth and fish vertebra from Morocco. Not all specimens live up to expectations, and Mr. Mehling lets visitors down gently if they've only imagined the imprint of a fossilized leaf embedded into a rock. Instead he shows them the genuine article. "I like being able to show them the real stuff and allow them to touch it. It's a really good way to teach," he says. r Identifying fossils and fakes STORY AND PHOTOS BY ANN HERMES / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER 1 DISCOVERY: The Garcés family listens as senior museum specialist Carl Mehling iden- tifies their specimen as a mosasaur tooth. 2 HANDS-ON SCIENCE: Aidan Friars exam- ines a hornworm during Identification Day at the American Museum of Natural History. 2

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