EXHIBIT: Call of the Congo

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Science  29 Mar 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5564, pp. 2331
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5564.2331b

They came, they saw, they pickled. Between 1909 and 1915, naturalists James Chapin and Herbert Lang ventured deep into the forests and savannas of the Congo, then a little- explored Belgian colony. This new online exhibition from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City—which underwrote Chapin and Lang's travels—recounts the expedition, the first to systematically survey the creatures of the northeastern Congo.

Chapin was a 19-year-old undergraduate, and Lang was a German mammalogist working for the museum. Scheduled to last 2 years, their trip stretched to nearly six, and you can retrace the naturalists' steps down rivers and through jungles with interactive maps and a narrated slide show. Although they failed to bring back a live okapi, a reclusive cousin of the giraffe that was one of their objectives, their haul still amounted to more than 100,000 specimens. Visit the site's digital collection to sift through 2000 of Lang's pictures, read the pair's field notes, or browse a photo archive of axes, ornate knives, clothing, and other artifacts from the region's inhabitants. Another gallery showcases examples of Chapin's 300 sketches and watercolors.


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