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4/1/2014 - The Barnum Museum Acquires Inexplicable Specimen

Retired University of Wisconsin Professor sends a strange

“anthropomorphic figure” to Bridgeport

(Bridgeport, CT – April 1, 2014)The Barnum Museum has planned the official unveiling of its newest addition to the collection for Tuesday, April 1 at 3 p.m. at 820 Main Street, Bridgeport. The public is welcome to attend at no charge but donations would be greatly appreciated.

The Barnum Museum has agreed to accept and obtain help in identifying what museum’s Executive Director, Kathleen Maher, has described an “inexplicable specimen.” “I don’t really know how to classify it,” she said recently. “I will admit that it would have fit perfectly in Barnum’s original Museum of Curiosities in New York City back in the 1840s.”

The “specimen” was most recently at the University of Wisconsin, who acquired it in 1984. Professor William Willars, a zoologist who had connections to the university archaeological society,  took responsibility for researching both its origins and what exactly it was. Thirty years later, Willars, now retired, admits that he wasn’t successful in either endeavor and felt that The Barnum Museum, with its close relationship to both Nick Bellantoni, a Professor at the University of Connecticut and the State Archeologist, and Professor Jerry Conlogue of the Bio-Anthropology Research Institute at Quinnipiac University, might be better suited to continue the investigation.

“When it arrived here in an enormous wooden box and we opened, well, it frankly astounded me,” Maher said. “This peculiar skeletal assemblage of bones looks nothing like any living being that is known to modern man. Until we have a clear understanding of what we are dealing with, it remains in curatorial storage," she continued.

Gerald Conlogue co-director of the Bioanthropology Research Institute and Professor at Quinnipiac University agreed to examine the specimen to see if he and his team of graduate students could determine just what it is. “We are studying it under laboratory conditions,” commented Jerry Conlogue. “There’s no telling right now how old it is or whether it was actually a living thing. In nearly 45 years of imaging research, this has been not only one of the most unique 'objects' I have encountered, but also provided one of the most technically challenging experiences. To my knowledge, the resulting single image of the entire 'object' will be the largest ever acquired by the method developed by myself and the faculty and students of the Diagnostic Imaging Program at Quinnipiac University," Conlogue concluded.

Conlogue will have a report in time for the press conference.