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Last year, The Brain Scoop kicked off Project Hyena Diorama, an Indiegogo campaign aimed at raising the funds necessary to build a brand new permanent habitat diorama at The Field Museum that would house a quartet of striped hyenas taxidermied by Carl Akeley in 1896. In six weeks we raised 91% of the funds thanks to Brain Scoop and museum fans from all over the world, and so began the long process of research and construction. The diorama will be officially open to the public on January 27th, 2016!

To check out the campaign:

See more updates on tumblr:

Check out more photos of the diorama on The Field Museum's Facebook:

Come hang out in our Subreddit:
Twitters: @ehmee
Producer, Writer, Creator, Host:
Emily Graslie

Producer, Editor, Camera, Graphics:
Brandon Brungard

Aaron Delehanty

Exhibits team:
Gorge Alejandre, Alvaro Amat, Gretchen Baker, Alex Berez, Daniel Breems, Jean Cattell, George Chavez, Sarah Crawford, Aaron Delehanty, Ben Dimock, Jason Gagovski, Marie Georg, Hector Gonzalez, Jaap Hoogstraten, Danilo Kajevic, Matt Matcuk, Chris McGarrity, Susan Neill, Mike Paha, Shelley Paine, Taylor Peterson, Susan Phillips, William Test, Kate Ulschmid, Emily Ward, Si Watson, Emily Woodworth, and Christina Yang.

This episode is supported by and filmed on location at:
The Field Museum in Chicago, IL
(The Brain Scoop Intro)

Emily Graslie: Hey! We are here in the future home of the striped hyena diorama, which is currently being built thanks to Indiegogo supporters and fans of The Brain Scoop and The Field Museum, and we're here with Aaron Delehanty.

Aaron Delehanty: That's right, yeah, my name is Aaron Delehanty and I'm an artist here on staff at The Field Museum. I work in the replication shop, and we build a lot of components of the exhibitions here and the occasional diorama, which I guess hasn't come up in a lot of, many decades-

EG: Yeah.

AD: -so it's pretty amazing that this is happening, and I'm thrilled and pretty honored to be able to paint the mural for it.

EG: So it's dusk, it's this beautiful area in Somaliland where the hyenas were originally found. In terms of like, time of day, like is this accurate- what direction are we pointing in, and you have some stars and things and... how'd you come up with that configuration?

AD: Yeah, we sure do yeah. We looked very closely at when these hyenas were originally collected back in I think it was 1896, and it was during the dry season, so we based on that information and where they were in Somaliland, we chose August 6th, 1896 and we're doing 5:30 in the morning. It's "civil twilight" they call it.

EG: Wow. So what about with the star pattern. That's not- that wasn't a trivial decision as far as I understand it.

AD: Because it's a night scene, and we know the place, it was pretty easy for us to decide on making sure that the constellations in the sky were totally accurate for this time in Somaliland.

EG: Carl Akeley, if he were here today, what do you think he would think about this?

AD: He'd probably snarl. (laughs)

EG: (laughs) He was kind of a snarly man.

AD: From what I've heard, he was very snarly. But I know he'd be proud because he'd devoted his entire existence to dioramas.

EG: When you're talking about wanting to retain accuracy and all of those things, and we're thinking about Carl Akeley and what would Carl Akeley do. We have this huge landform in here and-

AD: That's right.

EG: -we're, you didn't build this.

AD: No, this was part of the original taxidermy and we're trying to preserve as much of the original Carl Akeley taxidermy as we can, and that includes this landform.

EG: So that's good. I'm glad that you guys are keeping all of this and keeping obviously detailed notes capturing how all of this is happening. I think that's one of the most exciting things about this. The exhibitions department has been detailing literally every step of this process. They got a time-lapse of a GoPro in here to paint the scene. (2:30)