¡Cuba! American Museum of Natural History


With the July 9 signing of a formal Memorandum of Understanding in Havana, Cuba’s Museo Nacional de Historia Natural (MNHN) and the AMNH have agreed to collaborate on a series of research projects, education, and exhibitions.

The first of those research expeditions took place last year, with scientists from both museums traveling to Humboldt National Park—one of the most remote areas of the Island, and among the most valued for the richness of its biodiversity.

About half of the plants found in Cuba are not found anywhere else in the world, and the same is true for about one-third of the animal life there.

Curated by Dr. Ana Luz Porzecanski, director of AMNH’s center for biodiversity and conservation, and Dr. Chris Raxworthy, curator-in-charge in the AMNH department of herpetology, the exhibition, which opens on November 21, pairs a detailed look at Cuba’s biodiversity and natural environments with a celebration of Cuban culture.

The show will include re-creations of various environments, including the Zapata wetlands, home to the endangered Cuban crocodile, known for jumping on its prey, as well as a cave showing fossil traces of gigantic sloths and owls, and spectacular marine reefs.

Live animals on view will include the Cuban boa, a toxic tree frog, and several species of tree lizards, ranging from tiny to the size of a small dog.

The exhibition’s central area will resemble a boulevard in Havana, and will include areas focusing on art, music, spiritual traditions, and everyday pleasures like domino-playing and cigars.

On view through August 13.

Museum scientists Ana Porzecanski and Angelo Soto-Centeno  discuss here their expedition to Cuba.

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