Museum Notes

Popular articles covering museum-related subjects which are useful to those wishing to know more about the natural history of the State of Nebraska. The series was discontinued in spring of 2005.

Note: Some early issues of "Museum Notes" may be scientifically outdated but are still made available because they are of historic interest.

Anthropology | Botany | Entomology | General Museum Topics | Geology | Invertebrate Paleontology | Parasitology | Planetarium | Vertebrate Paleontology | Zoology


  • Number 9, Ancient Mediterranean Cultures: Egypt and Greece

    Story of ancient cultures with photographs of Museum exhibits from Ancient Egypt and Greece. Photo and information on the Museum's Egyptian mummy, a contemporary of the great King Tutankhamen. Also a photo of the Whooping Crane display in the Nebraska Hall of Wildlife. (1959) (4 pages).

  • Summarizes journalist's contributions as an amateur archeologist who made an important contribution to Nebraska's prehistory and whose collections are now in the University of Nebraska State Museum. (1975) (4 pages).

  • Describes and illustrates some of the principal projectile point types important in prehistoric Nebraska. (1977) (6 pages).

  • Number 65, American Indian Art: Tradition and Change

    Identifies esthetic tradition and adaptation to present market. (1979) (4 pages).

  • Number 69, A New Paleoindian Site in Western Nebraska

    The discovery and excavation of a bison butchering site in Garden County, Nebraska. (1981) (4 pages).

  • Information on the manufacture and use of chipped stone tools, including knives, drills, and scrapers, by prehistoric Nebraskans. (1993) (4 pages).

  • Number 90, Evidence of the First Humans in Nebraska

    Looks at the history and information on archaeological sites in Nebraska. Also information on spearpoints found in Nebraska. (1995) (6 pages).

  • Number 94, Ancient Egypt in Nebraska: Timeless Treasures and Forgotten Gods

    Explore the Museum's Egyptian Collection. Our artifacts include amulets, scarabs, figures, vessels, jewelry, mummies, and miscellaneous objects. (1996) (4 pages)

  • Number 99, The Luella Buros Collection

    Looks at the collection of ethnographic material the Museum has received from Luella Buros. There are approximately 1,200 items from several different countries, although the majority is African. Also looks at the lives of Luella and her husband Oscar. (1998) (4 pages)

  • Number 108, Signs of the Times

    Learn about cuneiform tablets and about the ones in our Museum collections. Also info on studying fingerprints found on the tablets. (2001) (4 pages)

  • Information on Luella Buros and her travels in Africa from 1956-1966. Focus is on the significant number and variety of African mammal species that she captured in her photographs, notably giraffe, waterbuck, and impala. (2002) (4 pages)

  • Number 115, Nebraska Tribal Pow Wow Celebrations

    Information on Pow Wow celebrations held by Nebraska tribes. Read about the dancers and their regalia, the drum, men's dance styles (including the Grass Dance), women's dance styles (including the Jingle Dress Dance), and about the tribal pow wows of the four Nebraska tribes. Includes a color fold-out poster. (2003) (4 pages)

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  • Number 6, Botany-Herbarium

    History of the Herbarium and information of the work done by the Herbarium Division of the Museum. (1958) (2 pages).

  • Number 41, Poisonous Plants in Nebraska

    Practically every plant growing within the State is poisonous under appropriate conditions. Descriptions and information about many common plants that are or could be poisonous. (1965) (4 pages).

  • Number 51, A Valuable Library of Plants

    Information, complete with photos, on the Museum's impressive Herbarium and on the vegetation of Nebraska. (1973) (4 pages).

  • Number 68, Ragweed's Revenge

    Structure and function of ragweed, hay fever sufferers' nemesis. (1980) (4 pages).

  • Number 73, Alien Invaders

    Interesting and helpful information on weeds. (1988) (4 pages).

  • Number 76, King Corn: The Nebraska Story

    The origins of corn, the value of corn in America's past and today, and the future of corn are discussed. (1990) (4 pages).

  • Explores the mystery of the origin of flowering plants (angiosperms) and looks at theories proposed to explain the apparent lack of flowering plant ancestors. Important clues come from the Rose Creek Quarry in Nebraska. Also discusses differences between angiosperms and gymnosperms. (1994) (6 pages).

  • Number 92, Aboriginal Botany

    Learn what Aboriginal Botany is. Discusses how plants have been used throughout history. (1995) (4 pages).

  • Number 102, Nebraska's Tertiary Plant Fossils or The Age of Mammals Revisited: The View from the Base of the Food Chain

    Delve into the past and learn about the plants found in Nebraska's Tertiary rocks. (1999) (4 pages)

  • Describes the aquatic plants of the state and where they are located. Includes a color fold-out poster. (2001) (4 pages)

  • Information on pollen, how it is collected and identified, and pollen seasons in Nebraska. (2001) (6 pages)

  • Number 117, Nebraska's Endangered Species, Part 4: Threatened and Endangered Plants

    In this fourth issue in our series on Nebraska's endangered and threatened species, you'll learn about Nebraska plants. Learn about saltwort, American ginseng, Colorado butterfly weed, blowout penstemon, prairie fringed orchid, Ute ladies'-tresses orchid, and small white lady's-slipper orchid. (2004) (6 pages)

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  • Number 13, The Division of Entomology

    The history of the Entomology division of the Museum with photos of the research area and collections. Information and statistics on the insect world and news in entomological research at the University. This issue also tells of the addition of a fossil mastodont to Elephant Hall. (1960) (4 pages).

  • Number 25, The Migratory Monarchs

    Story of the life cycle and migration pattern of the Monarch butterfly. (1964) (2 pages).

  • Number 42, Scarabs, Dung Feeders, Jeweled Pollinators, and Horned Giants

    Life cycles, forms, colors, and feeding habits of scarabs, including such common names as june bugs. Some of the most beautiful and largest insects in the world belong to the family. (1965) (4 pages).

  • Number 66, Take a Beetle to Lunch Today

    The natural history of the dung beetle is explored. (1980) (4 pages).

  • Number 67, A Matter of Taste

    Habits, life cycle, ecological advantages, and history of the carrion beetle. (1980) (4 pages).

  • Number 75, Butterfly Conservation: Dollars and Decisions about Wildlife

    Discusses such topics as genocide for profit, habitat loss and overcollecting, and butterfly farms. (1989) (4 pages).

  • Number 80, Sphinx Moths

    Information on sphinx moths, including how to identify them, their life cycle, their forms of defense, and more. (1991) (4 pages).

  • Number 85, Nebraska Butterflies

    Read about butterflies - their life history and classification - and their diversity in Nebraska. Details and color plates are shown for some specific Nebraska butterflies. (1993) (6 pages).

  • Number 91, Insect Musicians

    Find out about summer's insect symphony. Discusses insect "instruments." The "players" presented include Cicadas, Long-Horned Grasshoppers (Katydids, Meadow Grasshoppers), Crickets, Short-horned Grasshoppers, and Mole Crickets. Includes color foldout. (1995) (4 pages)

  • Number 97, Nebraska's Salt Marsh Tigers

    Information on the eastern Nebraska salt marsh and on tiger beetles--biology, life cycle, and behavior--and their species and distribution and on conservation. Includes a color fold-out poster. (1997) (4 pages)

  • Number 98, The Indomitable Honey Bee

    General information on honey bees, including the history of bee keeping, colony life, and how introduced parasites have reduced wild honey bee populations. (1997) (4 pages)

  • Jewel Scarabs are some of the most spectacular insects that you'll ever see. Learn about them - where they occur, their life history, and ecological characteristics. The most striking feature is their coloration! Includes a color fold-out poster. (2002) (4 pages)

  • This is the first in our series on Nebraska's endangered and threatened species. In this issue, you'll read about the American Burying Beetle and the Salt Creek Tiger Beetle. (2002) (6 pages)

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General Museum Topics

  • Number 1, Our 83rd Year 1874-1956

    A brief history of the Museum with a list and description of the Museum in 1956. Also two photographs of Nebraska Bison. (1956) (4 pages).

  • Number 2, The Miracle of Growth

    News and description of the addition of two health galleries to the Museum. (1957) (2 pages).

  • Number 3, We are Older than We Thought -- and Proud to Admit It!

    News of the discovery that the Museum was founded in 1871 rather than 1874. (1957) (2 pages).

  • Number 14, New Addition to Health Galleries

    Photograph and information of Ceres, the transparent woman, donated to the Museum by Ralph Mueller. Ceres is a plexiglass model of a woman with organs which light up in their anatomical position as she tells her visitors of the functions of the human body. (1961) (2 pages).

  • Number 16, Ninety Years of Progress

    Expansion of the University of Nebraska State Museum up to 1961. (1961) (2 pages).

  • Number 18, The University of Nebraska Trailside Museum

    Photos, information and history of the University of Nebraska State Museum's branch museum at Fort Robinson, Nebraska. (1962) (4 pages).

  • Number 23, Hentracks from Antiquity

    Description and photographs of clay tablets, and Museum's collection of the ancient written records of the lands of Sumar and Akkad, of Babylonia and Assyria. Tells how the tablets were made and how they are cleaned and translated. (1964) (4 pages).

  • Number 28, Talking Labels, Conferences, INQUA Meetings

    Newsletter about the installation of a sound system to provide information about exhibits on all three floors of the Museum, and the meeting of the VII International Congress of the International Association of Quaternary Research. (1965) (2 pages).

  • Number 45, The Museum's Centennial Year

    A history of the University of Nebraska State Museum. (1971) (4 pages).

  • Number 47, 100 Years of Museum Growth

    Continuation of two previous Museum Notes on the history of the Museum, with credit to our generous contributors during the past century. (1972) (4 pages).

  • The exhibit designer observes some motivating factors which bring visitors to the Museum. Some of the special skills, materials and techniques used in creating the life-like dioramas in the Hall of Nebraska Wildlife are explained, along with thoughts on the characteristics of a successful museum exhibit. (1976) (4 pages).

  • Number 61, Saving for the Future - Preparing Museum Specimens

    The study and work involved in readying a specimen for display in a museum. (1978) (4 pages).

  • Number 64, Testing Aids in Creation of the University of Nebraska Paleobiology Gallery

    Testing of the public to help identify aims for planning and preparation of exhibits in the Paleobiology Gallery. (1979) (4 pages).

  • Number 74, The Encounter Center: Morrill Hall's Connecting Point

    The past, present, and future of the Museum's popular Encounter Center. (1989) (4 pages).

  • Number 78, Morrill Hall ... Looking Back

    Informative and entertaining look at Dr. Erwin Barbour and at Morrill Hall's history. (1991) (4 pages).

  • Number 84, Samuel Aughey, Jr.: The Controversial First Director of the University of Nebraska State Museum

    A colorful and interesting account of Samuel Aughey, Jr.'s life. (1993) (4 pages).

  • Number 107, We Draw Guts and Stuff

    Find out what scientific illustrators do and how they do it. Includes illustrations from our Museum illustrators through the years. (2000) (4 pages)

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  • Number 17, Rocks of Nebraska

    Information about the geologic deposits of Nebraska -- the mantle, the bedrock, the basement. Chart comparing the rocks of these three layers. News of the 1961 field parties. (1962) (4 pages).

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Invertebrate Paleontology

  • Number 40, From Soup to Martians

    Life's beginnings on earth and the possibility of life elsewhere. (1969) (4 pages).

  • Number 44, Limestone, Nature's Valuable Storehouse

    Limestone is a valuable Nebraska resource. Review of the economic importance of limestone in addition to descriptions of its wealth of fossils. (1971) (4 pages).

  • Number 62, Invertebrate Fossils in Nebraska

    An overview of the fossil record of invertebrates in the Great Plains, especially Nebraska. (1978) (4 pages).

  • Number 82, The Marine Invertebrates: Our Tiny Treasures

    Descriptions and histories of the specimens in the Museum's invertebrate collections, such as corals, crinoids, trilobites, and cephalopods. (1992) (4 pages).

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  • Number 46, A New Division of the Museum, Parasitology

    Survey of the science of parasitology and of groups of parasites represented in the Division's collections. Included is a memorium to the late Dr. Harold W. Manter, first Curator of the Division. (1971) (4 pages).

  • Number 63, Animal Parasites Affect People, Too

    Diseases of wild and domestic animals transferable to man. (1979) (4 pages).

  • Number 101, The World of Parasites, A View from the Manter Laboratory of Parasitology

    Learn about parasites and the research being done in the Manter Laboratory here at the Museum. (1998) (4 pages)

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  • Number 4, Ralph Mueller Theatre of the Stars

    Groundbreaking for the new Ralph Mueller Planetarium and information about the Planetarium. Also notes on the Museum's participation in the International Geophysical Year project. (1957) (2 pages).

  • Number 5, Something New has been Added

    Photos of planetarium dome under construction and of the renovation of displays in Elephant Hall with information about both. (1958) (2 pages).

  • Number 7, The Ralph Mueller Planetarium

    News on the progress of the Ralph Mueller Planetarium and information about the Planetarium shows. (1959) (4 pages).

  • Number 34, Century of Stars

    The story of one hundred years of progress in astronomy. (1967) (4 pages).

  • Number 37, The Bear's Tale

    Descriptions of some constellations including Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Draco, Lyra, Cygnus, and a constellation chart. Museum centennial plans. (1968) (4 pages).

  • Number 38, Meteorites

    Discussion of definition, composition, abundance, origin and age of meteorites, and description with chart of Nebraska meteorites. (1969) (4 pages).

  • Number 49, A Night Sky of Nebraska

    A description of how the Planetarium had evolved up to 1971. (1972) (4 pages).

  • In 1974 the Ralph Mueller planetarium presented a program on the subject of UFOs. This program was difficult to produce because of the extremely subjective nature of the topic. (1975) (4 pages).

  • Number 60, Black Holes

    Based on a new planetarium program. Describes these unusual objects with their science-fiction-like properties. (1978) (4 pages).

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Vertebrate Paleontology

  • Number 8, The Camel Story

    Early evidence of camel ancestors in Nebraska and their migration with facts about camels and their relatives. (1959) (4 pages).

  • Number 11, Rhinoceroses of the Past

    History and description (with photos) of the Great Plains area and the world. More information on the Planetarium. (1960) (4 pages).

  • Number 12, Nebraska's Changing Climate

    Story of the climatic changes in Nebraska history with drawings and photographs of some of the animals typical of various climates. Photograph of "Archie" (Archidiskodon imperator maibeni), world's largest elephant, exhibited in the University of Nebraska State Museum. Also an article on color variation in animals. (1960) (4 pages).

  • Number 15, Ice Age Migrants from Asia

    Story of the migration of prehistoric mammals due to climatic changes, with information on specific animals which migrated to and from the Great Plains area. (1961) (4 pages).

  • Number 19, Nebraska's Prehistoric Horses

    Photographs, drawings, and information about the early horses which roamed the plains of Nebraska with a chart on the general phylogeny of the North American horses. (1962) (4 pages).

  • Number 22, Fossil Hunting Yesterday and Today

    Methods and results of fieldwork in the three fossil collecting periods in the United States. Each of the periods was about 65 years long and could be named (1) Exploration Period, (2) Random Collecting Period and (3) Systematic Stratigraphic Collecting Period. (1963) (8 pages).

  • Number 24, Salvaging Fossils in Nebraska

    Salvaging fossils from highway, dam, and other construction excavations in the State. (1964) (6 pages).

  • Number 27, Story of a Nebraska Sea Serpent

    Story of the excavation and exhibition of a Cretaceous marine reptile, a plesiosaur, in Nebraska. Photographs and drawings of the plesiosaur. Photo and news of the addition of a new fossil mastodont in Elephant Hall. (1965) (4 pages).

  • Number 29, A Bird with Teeth

    Drawing and information of Hesperornis regalis, a five-foot-long bird with teeth from 100 million years ago. Photographs of items from the Webb Collection of Chinese and Tibetan objects and the story of the missionary life of Dr. and Mrs. A.H. Webb in western China with description of some of the many items they donated to the Museum. (1966) (4 pages).

  • Number 30, The Agate Springs Fossil Quarries

    Information on the Agate Springs Fossil Quarries of Sioux County, Nebraska, which was the source of the remains of many early animals. Lists and descriptions with photos of the fossil mammals discovered in this area. (1966) (8 pages).

  • Number 33, Big Bone Lick, Kentucky

    A pictorial story of the paleontological excavations at this famous fossil locality from 1962 to 1966. (1967) (12 pages).

  • Number 43, The Longest Neck in the Ocean

    Measurements and study of a Nebraska plesiosaur confirm that it is the longest ever found in the world - 38 feet 3 inches total, with a neck 20 feet long. (1965) (2 pages).

  • Number 52, Nebraska's Fossil Elephants: the Mastodonts and Mammoths

    Illustrated account of the discovery and display of extinct relatives of the elephants in Elephant Hall. Pictures show the difference between mammoth and mastodont teeth and a map of Nebraska shows which counties have produced mammoth and mastodont fossils. (1974) (6 pages).

  • Short history of the discovery and interpretation of dinosaurs. Illustrated with step-by-step photos of the creation of a lifesize reconstruction of the carnivorous dinosaur, Allosaurus. (1976) (8 pages).

  • Fossil snakes from a dig in Webster County show that the hognose snake, with its peculiar "toad puncturing" jaws, goes back to the time of the mastodons. Photo of modern hognose snake, map of distribution in Nebraska, and illustration of how hognose and rattlesnake jaws work. (1977) (4 pages).

  • Number 59, Giant Tortoises

    Past climates on the Great Plains and information on giant tortoises, modern and ancient, and giant tortoises in Nebraska. (1977)(4 pages).

  • Number 70, Ice Age Superpredators

    Fossil remains of giant short-faced bear and the extinct American Lion. Map showing locations of fossil finds throughout Nebraska. (1982) (4 pages).

  • Number 72, Canis dirus: Giant Dogs of the Ice Age

    The story of a fascinating species, the dire wolf. (1988) (4 pages).

  • Number 77, Fossil Elephant Teeth in Nebraska

    OUT OF PRINT. Information on the teeth of elephants and their extinct relatives (mastodons, mammoths, four tuskers [gomphotheres] and Stegomastodons) and what to do if you find one. Includes fold-out poster. (1990) (4 pages).

  • Number 81, Ashfall: Life and Death at a Nebraska Waterhole Ten Million Years Ago

    Description and history of Nebraska's newest state park, Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park. Includes color fold-out poster (of [part of] mural in Ashfall's Visitor Center). (1992) (4 pages).

  • Number 83, Death at a 19 Million Year-old Waterhole: The Bonebed at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, Western Nebraska

    Reports on the discovery and initial excavations of the bonebed, the people involved, and the University excavations from 1981-1990. (1992) (6 pages).

  • Discusses the role of amateurs in fossil and data collection, museums and collections, geology, occurrence of fossils, documentation, and collecting and preparation pointers. (1994) (4 pages).

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  • Number 10, Three New Habitat Groups Completed

    Photographs of three habitat groups -Migratory Waterfowl, Skunk Family, Mule Deer - with information on each. (1959) (4 pages).

  • Number 20, Barnyard Skeletons

    Photos of the farmyard display of the skeletons of 19 different species of animals associated with man. Description, scientific name, and information concerning origin of the species of each animal. This display of familiar present-day animals makes the fossil skeletons more meaningful. (1963) (4 pages).

  • Number 21, Nebraska Wildlife Habitats

    Description and photos of displays in the Nebraska Hall of Wildlife upon the completion of the last of the habitat groups. Displays described in this issue are - Prairie Chicken, Prairie Dog, Coyote and Rabbit, Sandhill Crane, and Passenger Pigeon with Indian Elk-hunting background. (1963) (6 pages)

  • Number 26, Bird Collections and Habitat Groups

    Notes on some of the bird species of Nebraska which are extinct or nearing extinction. Photographs of bird habitat groups in the Museum. (1965) (4 pages).

  • Number 31, The Black-Tailed Prairie Dog

    The natural history of the prairie dog with photographs of the animal. (1966) (4 pages).

  • Number 32, The Trumpeter Swan

    Story and photograph of this rare species of swan. (1967) (2 pages).

  • Number 35, Mammals Living in Nebraska

    Information on Nebraska mammals with photographs of bison, prairie dogs and elk. List of Nebraska mammals. (1968) (8 pages).

  • Number 36, Bird Migration on the Great Plains

    Story of the migration of Great Plains waterfowl with photograph. News of Museum activities. (1968) (4 pages).

  • Number 39, The Bison, a History of Destruction

    Story of bison on the Great Plains including photographs of Bison habitat group and Buffalo Bill Cody's home at North Platte. (1969) (4 pages).

  • Number 50, Waterfowl of Nebraska

    Read about Trumpeter Swans, Whistling Swans, the Canada Goose, Mallards, Teals, Common Mergansers, and Ruddy Ducks. There are others, too, both native breeders and migratory waterfowl, which we see in Nebraska. (1974) (4 pages).

  • Number 71, Bats: Winged Maestros of the Night

    Bats and the different types as well as feeding mechanisms. (1983) (4 pages).

  • Number 79, Nuthatches

    All about nuthatches, including: distribution, systematics, identification, sounds and behaviors, food, and nests, eggs, and nestlings. Includes fold-out poster. (1991) (4 pages).

  • Number 89, Tales that Teeth Tell

    Information on mammal teeth in general and about teeth of insectivores, carnivores, omnivores, and herbivores. Includes a fold-out poster. (1994) (4 pages).

  • Number 93, Cranes of Nebraska

    Popular discussion about the cranes of Nebraska. Includes photographs. (1996) (4 pages).

  • Number 95, Windows of Death: A Look at Bird Strikes

    An overview of why birds slam into the reflective or transparent windows of buildings and what we can do to help alleviate the problem. Figures are given for avian mortality due to "window strikes". (1997) (4 pages)

  • Number 96, Snappers, Soft-shells, and Stinkpots: The Turtles of Nebraska

    Information on turtles in general and on turtles found specifically in Nebraska. Includes a color fold-out poster. (1996) (4 pages)

  • Number 100, The Snakes of Nebraska

    Learn about some of the common snakes of Nebraska, including the prairie rattlesnake, bullsnakes, garter snakes, water snakes, hognose snakes, racers, milksnakes, and red-bellied snakes. Includes a color fold-out poster. (1998) (4 pages)

  • Number 103, Buzz-Wings

    The fascinating story of hummingbirds. Text and illustrations by Paul Johnsgard. Full-color poster by Mark Marcuson.

  • Number 106, The Amphibians of Nebraska

    Information on amphibians in general and on those found in Nebraska. Includes salamanders, spadefoots, true toads, microhylid toads, treefrogs, and true frogs. Includes a color fold-out poster. (2000) (4 pages)

  • Number 114, Nebraska's Endangered Species, Part 2: Threatened and Endangered Fishes

    This second issue in our series on Nebraska's endangered and threatened species is about fishes. There is information on pallid sturgeons, lake sturgeons, sturgeon chubs, Topeka shiners, blacknose shiners, northern redbelly daces, and finescale daces. (2003) (4 pages)

  • Number 116, Nebraska's Endangered Species, Part 3: Threatened and Endangered Birds

    The third issue in our series on Nebraska's endangered and threatened species deals with birds. You'll read about interior least terns, piping plovers, mountain plovers, Eskimo curlews, bald eagles, whooping cranes, and peregrine falcons. (2003) (6 pages)

  • Number 118, Nebraska's Endangered Species, Part 5: Threatened and Endangered Reptiles and Amphibians

    This issue, the fifth in our series on Nebraska's endangered and threatened species, covers reptiles and amphibians. Included are Massasaugas, Timber Rattlesnakes, Slender Glass Lizards, and American Toads. (2004) (4 pages)

  • Number 119, Small Fishes of Nebraska

    Discover the small fishes of Nebraska. Included are the Red Shiner, the Bigmouth Shiner, the Fathead Minnow, the Plains Topminnow, the Plains Killifish, the Orangethroat Darter, and the Creek Chub, among others. Includes a color fold-out poster. (2004) (4 pages)

  • Number 120, Nebraska's Endangered Species, Part 6: Threatened and Endangered Mammals

    This issue, the last in our series on Nebraska's endangered and threatened species, covers mammals. You can read about the Black-footed ferret, the Black-tailed prairie dog, the Southern flying squirrel, the Eastern plains pocket mouse, the Fringe-tailed myotis, and the Swift fox, among others. (2005) (4 pages)

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