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Rye Neck Graduate Returns Giant Rodent Fossils

Ana Balcarcel collecting mammal fossils from Peruvian Amazon.
Ana Balcarcel collecting mammal fossils from Peruvian Amazon. Photo Credit: Contributed

MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Since graduating from Rye Neck High School in 1994, Ana Balcarcel received her bachelor’s from Harvard, performed anthropological field work in Central America, and has become an accomplished member of the Division of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Balcarcel, a Senior Principal Preparator at the Museum has dug up fossils in the Wyoming badlands, the Mongolian Gobi Desert, and the Peruvian Amazon.

Balcarcel’s latest professional trip took her to the Caribbean island of Anguilla where she delivered fossils and copies of fossils of the giant rodent Amblyrhiza.

The giant rodent, a close relative of guinea pigs, grew to more than 300 pounds (the size of a Black Bear) and lived in Anguilla during the Ice Age. Balcarcel also participated in the dedication of the first paleontological exhibition in Anguilla and assisted with training in specimen curation in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism in Anguilla.

With luck, this will be the beginning of a new period of paleontological study in Anguilla.

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