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Tropical American Bats

Introduction and History:

I began as an ornithologist and actually was a curator of birds at the Smithsonian before I made it into Mammals. I've been there a long time. A couple of years ago they tried to give me a government 50-year pin. They had a convocation of the whole Natural History Museum for me and the Director had to admit that the government doesn't have 50-year pins. So instead of giving me a pin, he gave me a little speech and then asked me to say a few words. I finished by saying, "Well, get ready for 60!"

My interest in mammals has always been of all mammals, but particularly Western Hemisphere mammals, and my assignment at the Smithsonian has always been Western Hemisphere mammals. So, although I did spend seven very exciting months with anthropologists in the Kalahari Desert studying Stone Age bushmen, and I have worked with whales and porpoises, marsupials, and insectivores, it soon became apparent to me that as little known as most mammals are, the least known, or among the least known mammals are bats.

Early in my career at the Smithsonian, there was only one other person in North America interested in bats, Colin Campbell Sanborn, at the Field Museum


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