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Mar 20 2013

NYIT to Host Symposium on Vertebrate Evolution

Old Westbury, N.Y.  (March 20, 2013) – Evolutionary scientists from the northeast will gather Friday at New York Institute of Technology for a symposium to discuss their latest studies on fossils, evolutionary development, and physical characteristics of vertebrate animals, both living and extinct.

Conference organizers from NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine hope the symposium, which they initiated and held for the first time last year, will become an annual event showcasing research that helps understand vertebrate evolution and development.  The medical school’s anatomy department includes seven paleontologists. 
“That particular scientific community continues to grow in size and importance, and NYIT, particularly its anatomy department, has become a major part of that community,” says Associate Professor Matthew Mihlbachler, Ph.D., who is organizing the conference with Assistant Professor Brian Beatty, Ph.D.  “Our goal with the symposium is to attempt to enhance communication and collaboration among local evolutionary and anatomical scientists and to make NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine an important local center for those areas of scientific research.”
Among the presenters are scholars from Yale, the American Museum of Natural History, the University of Massachusetts, Hofstra University, Stockton College, New Jersey State Museum and New York University.
“Everyone seems to be concerned with how we’ll deal with climate change in the future,” says Beatty, whose studies focus largely on dental wear in extinct animals in relation to their diets.  “The best way to do that is to study how animals did that in the past. You can identify patterns of ecological interactions.”
Several NYIT medical students working on research with the anatomy department also are scheduled to present findings related to their studies of fossils and living animals. 
The [presentations] are all ultimately aimed at understanding some fundamentally important generality of life relates to humans in one way or another,” says Mihlbachler.  “Many of the presentations address the general theme of understanding why and how animals have developed particular types of adaptations.  If we can understand adaptation as a general principle we will only understand ourselves better.”
The symposium will be held from 8 am to 5 pm in the Rockefeller Building Auditorium. Click here for a schedule of presenters.  
About NYIT
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers 90 degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, in more than 50 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has 14,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. NYIT sponsors 11 NCAA Division II programs and one Division I team.
Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, more than 92,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit
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