Slightly over a month ago, the Ohio State community was shocked to learn that Afroduck, the most beloved waterfowl in Buckeye history, had died suddenly. Now, the public is being given a chance to see this iconic figure one last time.
Memorials sprung up after his death, both on YouTube and Twitter, as students mourned the loss of Afroduck. Luckily, enterprising student Chelsea Hothem came up with the idea of preserving Afroduck for generations to come, via help from the Museum of Biological Diversity at Ohio State (where Hothem also volunteers).
Currently, Afroduck is in the final stages of his preservation, and 11W talked to Stephanie Malinich, Tetrapod Collection Manager at the Museum of Biological Diversity, about its progress, its significance to Ohio State and science as a whole.
Afroduck is really just a common domesticated duck, "but he's not really replaceable," Malinich said. The duck's popularity clearly meant a lot to the Ohio State community; even prospective Ohio State students "were told that they had to go see Afroduck" when they made their college visits.
In February, the official blog for the Museum of Biological Diversity wrote about the significance of Afroduck.
...[W]e possess many domestic breeds to represent the evolutionary relationships of their ancestral species. We use these specimens to educate people about Darwin’s research and evolution in general. When you look at a domestic species next to their ancestor you can see the subtle similarities of how they feed, move, and more.
Now Afroduck will be on display for all to enjoy and to learn from on April 23, during the Museum of Biological Diversity's Open House, which is the one day a year that the museum is open to the general public.
As Malinich puts it, "It's our job to teach... [and] he's a teaching moment."