Founded in 1866 with a generous gift from international financier George Peabody, the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University has for 150 years acquired, studied, protected, and displayed its ever-expanding collections. Among the museum's 13,000,000 items are iconic fossils, striking ethnographic pieces, historical flora, and extinct species – a remarkable record of the history of Earth, its life, and its cultures. More than mere curios, these objects represent key cornerstones in our understanding of the natural world. Taken together, the Peabody's rich collections illuminate advancements in knowledge over the past 200 years and reveal important connections between social change and the evolution of science.
This beautifully illustrated book highlights important objects from the museum's ten scientific disciplines: Yale's first microscope, purchased in 1734; the New World's first recorded meteorite from 1807; the dinosaur that changed everything in 1969; and the skull of a new monkey species discovered in 2012. Such treasures represent generations of inspired seekers and thinkers at the Peabody, whose research and discoveries altered our understanding of Earth, its past, and our place in the natural world – a pursuit that continues to this day.
David K. Skelly is director of the Peabody Museum of Natural History and Frank R. Oastler Professor of Ecology, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University. He lives in Madison, CT.
Thomas J. Near is curator of the Bingham Oceanographic Collection of the Peabody Museum of Natural History, associate professor in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, and Master of Saybrook College. He lives in New Haven, CT.
Robert Lorenz is the principal of Lorenz Photography. He lives in Old Saybrook, CT.