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Assessment of luteinizing hormone and prolactin immunoactivity in Asian and African elephant urine using assays validated for serum

Smithsonian Libraries
Analysis of serum hormones is useful for timing artificial insemination (LH) and diagnosing pregnancy (prolactin) in elephants. However, these tests require blood collection, which is not tolerated by all animals, and is impractical for field studies. Thus, developing a means to obtain these measures noninvasively could improve species management. Matched urine and serum was collected from Asian and African elephants daily throughout the follicular phase and after administration of a GnRH analogue for LH determination, and in pregnant and nonpregnant females for prolactin analyses using immunoassays validated for elephant serum. Despite identifying robust increases in circulating hormone concentrations, no concomitant changes in urinary LH or prolactin immunoactivity was detected. Concentration of samples by centrifugal filtration or ethanol precipitation did not increase the ability to measure biologically relevant changes in endogenous urinary LH or prolactin immunoactivity. Sample matrix interference was ruled out following sufficient recovery of exogenous LH or prolactin added to samples, except for samples concentrated >35-fold where some interference was suspected. These results suggest that elephants either do not excrete native LH or prolactin in urine, or concentrations are too low to be measured accurately by standard immunoassay techniques that are valid for serum analyses. Thus, it does not appear feasible or economically viable to use these non-invasive tests for ovulation detection or for pregnancy diagnosis in elephants.

Pattern of maternal circulating CRH in laboratory-housed squirrel and owl monkeys

Smithsonian Libraries
The anthropoid primate placenta appears to be unique in producing corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). Placental CRH is involved in an endocrine circuit key to the production of estrogens during pregnancy. CRH induces cortisol production by the maternal and fetal adrenal glands, leading to further placental CRH production. CRH also stimulates the fetal adrenal glands to produce dehydroepiandrostendione sulfate (DHEAS), which the placenta converts into estrogens. There are at least two patterns of maternal circulating CRH across gestation among anthropoids. Monkeys examined to date (Papio and Callithrix) have an early-to-mid gestational peak of circulating CRH, followed by a steady decline to a plateau level, with a possible rise near parturition. In contrast, humans and great apes have an exponential rise in circulating CRH peaking at parturition. To further document and compare patterns of maternal circulating CRH in anthropoid primates, we collected monthly blood samples from 14 squirrel monkeys (Saimiri boliviensis) and ten owl monkeys (Aotus nancymaae) during pregnancy. CRH immunoreactivity was measured from extracted plasma by using solid-phase radioimmunoassay. Both squirrel and owl monkeys displayed a mid-gestational peak in circulating CRH: days 45-65 of the 152-day gestation for squirrel monkeys (mean±SEM CRH=2,694±276 pg/ml) and days 60-80 of the 133-day gestation for owl monkeys (9,871±974 pg/ml). In squirrel monkeys, circulating CRH declined to 36% of mean peak value by 2 weeks before parturition and then appeared to increase; the best model for circulating CRH over gestation in squirrel monkeys was a cubic function, similar to previous results for baboons and marmosets. In owl monkeys, circulating CRH appeared to reach plateau with no subsequent significant decline approaching parturition, although a cubic function was the best fit. This study provides additional evidence for a mid-gestational peak of maternal circulating CRH in ancestral anthropoids that has been lost in the hominoid lineage. Am. J. Primatol. 71:1-9, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

A standard for species

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A survey on the light-fastness properties of organic-based Alaska Native artifacts

Smithsonian Libraries
A series of light-fastness tests were conducted on a group of ethnographic objects that will be on exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution Arctic Studies Center, a recent addition to the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center in Alaska. The objects surveyed belong to the collections of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. This work was designed as a feasibility study on the use of a micro-fading tester as a non-contact and non-destructive technique to evaluate the light-stability of materials present in ethnographic collections. A broad range of objects containing a wide variety of materials were selected for the study. The materials investigated included a variety of dyes applied on silk, cotton, and wool substrates along with some unusual materials such as tanned skin and seal gut skin. The results from this investigation have allowed establishing exhibition recommendations taking into consideration the sensitivity of each object, light levels in the museum building, and estimated light exposures based on the duration of the exhibit. The micro-fading tester has proven to be a very useful tool for determining the light-stability of ethnographic materials without causing any harm to the objects. Objects containing equivalent materials are usually classified under a general category based on their probable sensitivity to light. However, micro-fading test results have permitted the detection of dissimilarities among some of these objects, which could be associated to variations in prior fading histories, the quality of raw materials, and different preparation methods.

The history of dinosaur collecting in central India, 1828-1947

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The history of dinosaur collecting in central India (former Central Provinces and Central India Agency) began in 1828 when W. H. Sleeman discovered isolated sauropod caudal vertebrae in the Lameta Formation near Jabalpur. Subsequently, the area became a focal point for fossil collection, leading to a series of further discoveries that continues today. The earliest discoveries were made by numerous collectors for whom palaeontology was a secondary pursuit, and who were employed in the armed forces (W. H. Sleeman and W. T. Nicolls), medicine (G. G. Spilsbury) or as geologists (T. Oldham, H. B. Medlicott, T. W. H. Hughes and C. A. Matley). Most of their finds were concentrated around Jabalpur or farther south near Pisdura and often consisted of isolated, surface-collected bones. Charles Matley undertook the two most extensive collecting efforts, in 1917-1919 and 1932-1933 (Percy Sladen Trust Expedition). As a result he discovered significant deposits of dinosaurs on Bara Simla and Chhota Simla, revisited Pisdura, and mapped the Lameta Formation. Many new dinosaur taxa resulted from Matley's studies, which still represent most of the known Lameta Formation dinosaur fauna. Current scientific understanding places these fossils among the Sauropoda (as titanosaurians) and Theropoda (as abelisaurids and noasaurids). Early reports of armoured ornithischians were erroneous; these materials also pertain to sauropods and theropods. Supplementary materialA list of the archival documents in the Natural History Museum, London that were used for this study is available at http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/SUP18418.
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