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Free Community Science Events Scheduled At MJC

Modesto Area Partners in Science, MAPS, is putting on its next presentation on Friday, March 24. Featuring guest speaker Dr. Jeanette Pirlo, the ‘Stompin’ Through the Marshes: A Look at Gomphotheres from North-Central Florida’ program will be hosted on the Modesto Junior College West Campus in Sierra Hall 132 starting at 7:30 p.m.

Most people know about mammoths, but have you heard about the four-tusked elephant-relative, the Gomphothere? During Dr. Pirlo’s talk, we’ll examine a new 5.6-million-year-old site in Florida with over 40 individual gomphotheres ranging from newborns, all the way to very old individuals. We’ll discuss their diet, compared to the diet of the other herbivores that shared the gomphothere’s habitat, and the structure of the population as well as potential competitive interactions with the rhinoceros, Teleoceras. Come and imagine what it was like stompin’ through the marshes with the Gomphotheres.

Dr. Pirlo is a new Assistant Professor of Evolutionary Biology at CSU Stanislaus. Her research focuses on extinct megaherbivore ecology of the American continents and the reconstruction of paleoecosystems.

Coming up next month, set for Friday, April 14, Joe Medeiros will be the guest speaker for the MAPS program. Medeiros taught college botany and ecology at MJC and Sierra College and was the first Great Valley Museum Director.

His program is titled: ‘Blow Your Mind Botany: or Phytophilia.’ He will review how humans are 100 percent dependent upon plants. He will compare our five senses to the 20 of plants and share recent research demonstrating sophisticated plant communications (within their own and between other species) and how they mutualistically partner with all other living groups to literally direct ecological stability within all sunlight-driven ecosystems.

MAPS is grateful to MJC, the MJC Foundation, Stanislaus County Office of Education, the MTA Modesto Teachers Association, the Great Valley Museum, and the Stanislaus County Library for support.