Our tallest subject yet!

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Monday, April 1, 2013

So what do you do here?

I have the best job on campus! I get to warmly greet visitors to Iowa Hall and the Museum of Natural History.

What do you enjoy most about working in a higher education setting?

I get to work with a variety of UI students. The student staff who work at the Museum of Natural History come from so many backgrounds. It is great to work with aspiring artists, scientists, and authors and watch them grow over the years. It is also fun seeing all the university classes that visit—from biology labs to Elements of Art classes, I am always happy to see UI students in action.

Take us through one of your most memorable days at the university.

My most memorable day would be my first day on campus. On May 11, 1985, Iowa Hall opened to the public and I officially became part of the Museum of Natural History and the University of Iowa. I love being such an icon for the museum and the university. Did you know that I am one of the 47 things to do on campus before you graduate?

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken—and did it pay off?

One evening after the staff and custodians had left the museum, I decided to visit my distant cousins—the two- and three-toed sloths up in Mammal Hall—to chat about some fascinating family history I had come across while doing research on Ancestry.com. I thought the nearby elevator would be much faster than two flights of stairs. I realized too late that was a bad idea—I barely got out of that tiny elevator with all of my fur intact.

If you could spend a day with anyone, from any era, who would it be and why?

Thomas Jefferson. He was the first to identify my bones in the late 1700s. After looking at my claws he originally deemed them from a giant lion. I would love to sit down with him to show him my claws in person. After all, he is who I am named after! My scientific name is Megalonyx jeffersonii.

If you could have a song written about you, who would perform it, and what would it be called?

Definitely They Might Be Giants! They sing my favorite song “I am a Paleontologist” and they have Giant in their name, like me! Since I am so grounded I would want the song to be called “A Tree Big Enough for Me.”

If you could get rid of one invention in the world, what would you choose? Why?

It’s not an invention but I would get rid of predators. I might still be alive today, roaming around Iowa, if all my Ice Age buddies got along and were vegetarians like me!

Name five of your favorite things.

  • The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History (Obviously, without them I wouldn’t have a home)
  • Leaves! How else do you think I maintain my cuddly figure?
  • School tours and visitors. It is the best to see all the smiling faces that come visit me.
  • Twitter. I love to tweet with all my friends. Follow me @RustyGiantSloth.
  • The vast array of exhibits hosted by the Pentacrest Museums. Some of my bones will be featured in an upcoming Ice Age exhibit opening April 18!