Monday, May 18, 2015

EL Mono De Cuba (Paralouatta varonai) por Osvaldo Jiménez Vázquez



EL Mono De Cuba: Paralouatta varonai Rivero y Arredondo, 1991



Escrito por Osvaldo Jiménez Vázquez con fotografías cortesía de Julio Larramendi



El 23 de enero de 1986, en una recóndita caverna de la serranía de Galeras, en Viñales, provincia de Pinar del Río, se encontró la prueba definitiva de la existencia de monos endémicos de Cuba. Este hallazgo fue logrado por un grupo de jóvenes espeleólogos de los colectivos “Pedro A. Borrás”, gestor de la expedición, y Aguas Claras, invitado, ambos de la Sociedad Espeleológica de Cuba. Fueron ellos, Jesús Álvarez, quien dirigía la expedición, Rolando Crespo, Madelaine Aguiar, Alexander Brosal (grupo P. Borrás), Oscar Sánchez, Oscar Borell (†), Antonio Abad y Antonio González (†) (grupo Aguas Claras).

El día 23 llegan al arroyo Constantino, donde se abre la boca de la caverna homónima, y realizan exploraciones; solo Madelaine y Oscar quedan en el campamento. En algún momento, observan los alrededores y ven una pequeña boca a una altura de unos 3 m, a corta distancia del sumidero del arroyo Constantino. Más tarde, todos visitan la cueva, un pozo de 24 m de profundidad con paredes empapadas en agua, agarres difíciles y fondo de arcilla inundada de agua. Rolando mete las manos en el fondo, y el cráneo del mono es el primer hallazgo, luego huesos de perezosos fósiles (Megalocnus, Parocnus y Neocnus), un húmero de mono, una mandíbula de almiquí (Solenodon) y algún resto de jutía conga (Capromys pilorides). A partir de este descubrimiento, esta cavidad se nombra Cueva del Mono Fósil.


Figura 1: Craneo de Paralouatta varonai Rivero y Arredondo, 1991


Ya en la capital, llevan el cráneo al paleontólogo Oscar Arredondo, quien no podía  dar crédito a lo que veía, ante sus ojos estaba la ansiada prueba de monos endémicos en Cuba. Tal privilegio era importante, pues durante casi un siglo se había puesto en entredicho la existencia de primates en la isla, aunque restos de estos habían sido encontrados en Jamaica y La Española en 1952 y 1975.

En julio de 1990 se organiza una nueva expedición a la Sierra de Galeras, participando especialistas del Museo Americano de Historia Natural de New York, Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, Universidad de La Habana y miembros del grupo Pedro Borrás.

En los primeros días se reexplora infructuosamente la Cueva del Mono Fósil. El día 28 se dirigen las esperanzas a Cueva Alta, una pequeña cavidad situada dentro de la boca del sumidero del arroyo Constantino, a 14 m de la Cueva del Mono Fósil. Esta había aportado en abril del propio año 1990 un par de fragmentos de tibia y fémur y una falange de mono. Efrén Jaiméz, Divaldo Gutiérrez, Ross MacPhee y quien redacta estas líneas, escalamos hacia la alta cueva, dedicándonos a buscar en los mismos lugares explorados meses atrás, pero sin éxito. Insistí personalmente en la pesquisa, esta vez hacia el final de la única galería de la cueva, en la cual detecté una estrecha grieta ascendente, rellenada por sedimentos oscuros. Entre la tierra colecté un diente de perezoso y decidimos extraer en cubos la matriz sedimentaria y cernirla en el lugar. Pocos minutos después apareció el primer diente de mono, un premolar y Efrén exclamó entonces, dirigiéndose al Dr. Manuel Rivero de la Calle y a los que habían quedado abajo:

                  -¡Rivero, se encontró un diente de mono!
 
 


Figura 2: Cráneo incompleto de P. varonai



Se envía el diente abajo dentro de un cubo. Rivero devuelve el cubo conteniendo una botella de vino de arroz, para celebrar el feliz acontecimiento. Pasadas las primeras emociones, continuamos la excavación en la grieta, tocando a mi persona, por ser el más delgado del grupo, hacer el trabajo dentro de esta. Mientras iba extrayendo los sedimentos y avanzaba al interior de la grieta, el esfuerzo se hacía más agotador, pues estaba obligado a permanecer en posición horizontal entre paredes cada vez más estrechas, soportando, adicionalmente, el intenso calor típico de esa época del año. De cuando en cuando, me sacaban a tomar un respiro tirando de mis pies, pues los movimientos eran muy limitados. Sin embargo, gracias a Dios, aparecen más evidencias, hasta alcanzar el centenar. Al final de la jornada, están representados muchos de los huesos del esqueleto con cinco húmeros, un fémur, una tibia, 18 huesos de manos y pies, un fragmento frontal, dos maxilares sin dientes y 60 dientes sueltos, entre incisivos, premolares y molares. De otros animales se extrajeron unos 560 huesos, entre ellos restos de un búho extinguido, cocodrilos y perezosos, entre otros.

En la capital, Arredondo y Rivero estudian el cráneo del mono, arribando a la conclusión en 1991, que correspondía a una especie extinguida endémica de Cuba, a la cual denominan Paralouatta varonai. El nombre genérico, derivado de la semejanza con el cráneo de los Alouattas o monos aulladores que habitan las selvas de Sudamérica y América Central y son los primates vivientes más grandes y corpulentos del Nuevo Mundo. El nombre específico, en homenaje a Luis S. Varona, especialista Cubano en mamíferos.
 

Figura 3: Cráneo de P. varonai



Un año más tarde, en agosto de 1992, se produjo el hallazgo de una mandíbula incompleta y un hueso de la cintura del mono cubano, en otra galería de la Cueva del Mono Fósil. Esto permitió completar el esqueleto de Paralouatta. A partir de este momento, estudiosos cubanos y extranjeros sometieron el cráneo y los restantes huesos a rigurosos análisis, arrojando  luz sobre aspectos muy interesantes de la vida de Paralouatta varonai.

Por ejemplo, algunos caracteres anatómicos encontrados en el cráneo, entre ellos la inclinación del área facial hacia la caja craneana, la cual está relacionada con la posición de la cabeza y el agrandamiento del hueso hioides y la laringe, e indican que esta especie podía vocalizar de manera similar a los monos aulladores vivientes (Alouatta).
 
 
Figure 4: Mandíbula de P. varonai
 

El estudio de incisivos, premolares y molares superiores, reveló que Paralouatta se alimentaba básicamente de frutos, y en menor medida consumía hojas u otros recursos.

Se pudo conocer también que esta especie de Paralouatta tuvo en vida un peso de 9–10 kg, aunque no se pudo establecer la diferencia sexual. El peso lo define como un mono de tamaño mediano, aunque mucho mayor que sus parientes suramericanos vivientes, los monos tities (Callicebus), cuyo peso oscila entre 0.9 y 1.3 kg. 

Por esta razón, se puede considerar a Paralouatta varonai un gigante dentro del grupo de monos emparentados con él, los Callicebinos. El gigantismo es una de las tendencias evolucionarias extremas que se produce comúnmente en las islas ante la ausencia de depredadores (animales que comen otros animales) y competidores (animales que comen lo mismo).

El húmero de Paralouatta presenta características que sugieren que el mono cubano pudo tener hábitos semiterrestres, distinguiéndose de los demás monos americanos. Esto no significa que no subiera a los árboles, sino que pasaba mucho tiempo en el suelo, por ejemplo, los dedos de manos y pies eran cortos y robustos a diferencia de los monos antropoides arbóreos del Viejo y Nuevo Mundo, los cuales poseen dedos largos. También quedó claro que Paralouatta varonai jamás pudo desplazarse de rama en rama, suspendido de sus brazos, como hacen comúnmente los monos grandes del Nuevo Mundo, particularmente los monos arañas (Ateles).

Según los especialistas Ross MacPhee, I. Horovitz y colaboradores, el Mono de Varona no era pariente cercano de los monos aulladores (Alouatta), como habían pensado los autores de la especie, sino que estaba muy vinculado al mono de Cueva Berna (Antillothrix bernensis), una de las especies fósiles de La Española y estos dos, a su vez, al mono de Jamaica (Xenothrix macgregori).

En consecuencia, el grupo formado por estas tres especies antillanas desaparecidas, posee parientes que viven hoy en los bosques tropicales de Centro y Sudamérica. Son los pequeños y peludos monos tities (Callicebus), los cuales carecen de cola prensil, pulgar oponible en la mano y tienen garras en los dedos de los pies excepto los pulgares.
 

Figura 5: Mandíbula incompleta de Paralouatta varonai con que estos monos posiblemente se alimentaban de frutas y hojas.



Osvaldo Jiménez Vázquez es especialista en zooarqueología y paleontología de vertebrados, especialmente Cubanos y del Caribe. Ejerce su especialidad en el Gabinete de Arqueología de la Oficina del Historiador de la Habana, donde desempeña una tarea esencial en la restauración y las investigaciones arqueológicas del casco histórico de la Habana, tanto como en el resto de Cuba.

En Cuba ha participado con especialistas de otras naciones, especialmente resultado en significantes descubrimientos como el de los monos descritos aquí, mas con otros fósiles ún más antiguos del Mioceno. El es el descubridor del holotipo, el espécimen original, de Paralouatta marianae descrito por MacPhee et Iturralde-Vinent 1995 de esa localidad Miocénica.

Sus publicaciones son bien citadas y conocidas en el ámbito de la arqueología y paleontología cubana donde se destacan los siguientes artículos:

Brochu, A. and Osvaldo Jiménez Vázquez. 2014. Enigmatic crocodyliforms from the Early Miocene of Cuba. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 34 (5): 1094-1101.

MacPhee, R. D. E., M. Iturralde-Vinent, and Osvaldo Jiménez Vázquez. 2007. Prehistoric sloth extinctions in Cuba: implications of a new “last” occurrence date. Caribbean Journal of Science, 43 (1): 94-98.

MacPhee, R. D. E., I. Horovitz, O. Arredondo, and Osvaldo Jimenez Vazquez. 1995. A new genus for the extinct Hispaniolan monkey Saimiri bernensis (Rimoli, 1977), with notes on its systematic position. American Museum Novitates, 3134: 21 pp.

Jiménez Vázquez, Osvaldo, M. M. Condis Fernández, y E. García Cancio. 2005. Vertebrados post-glaciales en un residuario fósil de Tyto alba scopoli (Aves: Tytonidae) en el occidente de Cuba. Revista Mexicana de Mastozoología, 9: 85-112.

Jiménez Vázquez, O. 2005. La Cueva del Infierno: Tafonomia de un sitio arqueológico de tradición mesolítica. Boletín del Gabinete de Arqueología 4.

Jimenez Vazquez, O, and J. Fernandez Milera. 2002. Canidos precolumbinos de las Antillas: mitos y verdades. Boletín del Gabinete de Arqueología, 2 (2): 78-87.

Jiménez Vázquez, O. 2001. Registro ornitológico en un residuario de dieta de aborígenes pre cerámicos cubanos. El Pitirre, 14 (3): 120-126.

Jiménez Vázquez, O. 1997. Seis nuevos registros de aves fósiles en Cuba. El Pitirre, 10(2): 49.

 
 

Varona's Fossil Monkey Paralouatta varonai from the Cuban Quaternary

 

Cuba's fossil monkey Paralouatta varonai Rivero and Arredondo 1991 


The following post is truly my first blog post collaboration. It deals with the interesting and important discovery of fossil monkey remains in Cuba, as described by one of its discoverers in its native Spanish. But first, let me introduce the author of that post.

Mr. Osvaldo Jiménez Vázquez is a mastozoologist, zooarchaeologist, and paleontologist specialized in Cuban and other Caribbean vertebrates. He is currently working at the Gabinete de Arqueología, a special section within the Historian's Office of scenic Old Havana, in Cuba. There he is involved in the restoration and analyzes of the faunal remains found in the old city. Other research takes him to other regions of the island where, like me, he is involved in cave exploration and the paleontology of cave deposits.

He has participated and collaborated with international scientists, for instance from the AMNH in New York, in localizing the fossil monkeys, the centerpiece of his post, and few of the Caribbean's oldest fossil vertebrates.

It is a true honor and a pleasure for me to share Osvaldo's first-hand account of such important discovery and lifelong dedication to the understanding of Cuba's fossil fauna.

Thus, without much further ado, it is my pleasure to introduce and post the work of Osvaldo.



Paralouatta varoni Rivero and Arredondo 1991 skull and mandible.


Brief Gist on Cuban Fossil Monkeys


The Cuban fossil monkeys were discovered in 1986 by groups of the Speleological Society of Cuba, then directed by Dr. Antonio Nunez Jimenez. Osvaldo had the great fortune to participate and discover some of these fossils himself.

These were particularly important and unexpected fossils. The first fossil monkeys from the Greater Antilles had been described by the Argentinian paleontologist Florentino Ameghino in 1911 and named Montaneia anthropomorpha based on loose teeth discovered by Luis Montane in 1888, in the hills of Banao, in what is now Santi Spiritus province. However, these, and despite Gerrit S. Miller's identification of said teeth as the Equatorial Ateles in 1916, it was not until MacPhee and Rivero (1996) radiocarbon dated one of those specimens to 300 years before the present that Montaneia was finally removed from the list of Cuban extinct fauna (see Silva et al., 2007:109-110 and references therein). The interesting teeth found by Montane were likely from a imported Ateles fusciceps (robustus?) escapee (MacPhee and Rivero, 1996) and thus, they did not represent a native form (MacPhee and Rivero, 1996).

Varona's fossil monkey Paralouatta varonai described by Rivero and Arredondo in 1991 in the prestigious Journal of Human Evolution (number 21) is now know from fossilized remains representing most the skeleton (see also the extensive study and references given in Silva et al., 2007). Anatomically Paralouatta varonai was a large monkey in comparison to the other Caribbean fossil monkeys and some of its continental brethren. It could probably howl like the Howler monkeys of the Neotropics, but they did not brachiate (the branch-hand to hand swing often observed in gibbons or spider monkeys). Varona's monkey was likely semi-terrestrial, likely feeding on fruits and leafs.

A similar monkey, Paralouatta marianae MacPhee and Iturralde-Vinent, 1995 was discovered in shallow marine sediments of the Zaza formation of Central Cuba, dated to the early Miocene. The holotype of this magnificent specimen was discovered by Osvaldo Jimenez Vazquez in 1993, during a joint expedition with Cuban and American scientists. This is one of the most extraordinary fossil finds, and truly one of the oldest land vertebrates remains found in the Greater Antilles! See his post on that discovery here.



Several of Osvaldo Jimenez publications include:


Brochu, A. and Osvaldo Jiménez Vázquez. 2014. Enigmatic crocodyliforms from the Early Miocene of Cuba. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 34 (5): 1094-1101.

MacPhee, R. D. E., M. Iturralde-Vinent, and Osvaldo Jiménez Vázquez. 2007. Prehistoric sloth extinctions in Cuba: implications of a new “last” occurrence date. Caribbean Journal of Science, 43 (1): 94-98.

MacPhee, R. D. E., I. Horovitz, O. Arredondo, and Osvaldo Jimenez Vazquez. 1995. A new genus for the extinct Hispaniolan monkey Saimiri bernensis (Rimoli, 1977), with notes on its systematic position. American Museum Novitates, 3134: 21 pp.
Jiménez Vázquez, Osvaldo, M. M. Condis Fernández, y E. García Cancio. 2005. Vertebrados post-glaciales en un residuario fósil de Tyto alba scopoli (Aves: Tytonidae) en el occidente de Cuba. Revista Mexicana de Mastozoología, 9: 85-112.

Jiménez Vázquez, O. 2005. La Cueva del Infierno: Tafonomia de un sitio arqueológico de tradición mesolítica. Boletín del Gabinete de Arqueología 4.

Jimenez Vazquez, O, and J. Fernandez Milera. 2002. Canidos precolumbinos de las Antillas: mitos y verdades. Boletín del Gabinete de Arqueología, 2 (2): 78-87.

Jiménez Vázquez, O. 2001. Registro ornitológico en un residuario de dieta de aborígenes pre cerámicos cubanos. El Pitirre, 1 (3).

Jiménez Vázquez, O. 1997. Seis nuevos registros de aves fósiles en Cuba. El Pitirre, 10(2): 49.


Cited Literature in text

MacPhee, R. D. E., and Rivero de la Calle, M. 1996. AMS 14C age determination for the alleged "Cuban spider monkey," Ateles (=Montaneia) anthropomorpha. Journal of Human Evolution.


Friday, May 15, 2015

In Memoriam: Dr. Carlos de la Torre y Huerta



On this date, Dr. Carlos de la Torre y Huerta was born. He was an eminent Cuban scientist and a pioneer of Antillean natural sciences. This post is a tribute to his career and to his valuable contributions to the Caribbean, but particularly to Cuban natural history and paleontology. In this post, I provide a basic sketch of his life and achievements, with the hope that his lifelong dedication to science is as inspirational to others as he is to me.


Figure 1: Young Dr. Carlos de la Torre y Huerta.
This Photograph was taken circa the late 1880s.

Carlos de la Torre y Huerta was born on 15 May 1858 in the city of Matanzas, on the scenic bay of Matanzas in northwestern Cuba. His mother was Rosa de la Huerta y Escobar, and his father Bernabe de la Torre y Fernandez. His father was a professor of "La Empresa", a college directed by the Guiteras brothers, which young Carlos attended.


Figure 2: De la Torre family house in Calle Rio no. 37, Matanzas city. This house was later converted into a middle school, where I attended from second to fifth grade (photo from Rodriguez, 1928).


From a young age, Carlos showed extraordinary interest in the natural sciences. Although he planned to be a medical doctor he became deeply interested in the natural history of mollusks and everything fossilized. While attending the Institute of Secondary Education of Matanzas (1871) he learned taxidermy, the art of embalming, from the Swiss Guillermo Gyssler, which was a professor there, but most importantly became closely acquainted with Don Francisco Jimeno y Fuentes (fig. 3 left) [Jimeno is also often spelled Ximeno, but I will use the former here]. Don Jimeno was a Matancero erudite and bibliophile who, as a patron, had ties with the Institute. He took a serious interest in young Carlos, who became his protégée. He gave him full access to his book collections and specimens, inciting and feeding the intellect of young Carlos for all natural philosophies. One can say that such relationship deeply fermented Carlos' predisposed interest and passion for science, allowing him to become the sage he was destined to become.



Figure 3: Don Francisco Jimeno on the left, and naturalist Dr. Felipe Poey Aloy on the right. Both among the most distinguished men of 19th century Cuban culture and science. Illustrations from "La Ciencia en Cuba" (1928) and Rodriguez (1958).  


In 1874 he starts medical school, for pharmacology, at the University of Havana, which was founded in 1728 and by then already a scholarly and prestigious institution, where he meets the already acclaimed scientist Dr. Felipe Poey (fig. 3 right). He was then only 16 years old.

During this time, he had assembled and exhibited a small collection of his specimens with the help of Don Jimeno at his father's new college "Los Normales". With the encouragement of Dr. Poey he had begun the serious study of mollusks and their shells; a branch is known as malacology (= conchology), a field of his preference, and what would become his doctorate dissertation.

Figure 4: Tintype of Dr. Carlos de la Torre y Huerta circa 1915 from Wikipedia.


However, by 1876 economical difficulties at his father's college back in Matanzas prompted his return home. He was in his second year of medical school when he became a full-time professor at his father's college. There his genius and excellence for detail began to show. He lectured about Charles Darwin and the new groundbreaking theory of evolution and the new "Darwinism". He also lectured on the evolutionary and revolutionary ideas of Georges Cuvier and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in contrast. All true paradigm shifts of his era. These he positively supported with his own research on land snails (Cerion), which the great evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr mentions in his "Population Species and Evolution" (1970:16-17). His teachings and philosophies as professor undoubtedly influenced countless students who later became key personalities in Cuba's history and culture including Pedro E. Betancourt, Carlos M. Trelles Govin, and later Antonio Nunez Jimenez to mention a few.

In 1879, he returned to the University of Havana to resume his medical studies. There along the way, and like many of us, relinquished a medical career to the pursuit of a life of scientific research. He graduated on 22 September 1881. That same year, and among other Cuban scientists including Dr. Poey and Dr. Johannes Gundlach, exhibited and lectured at the International Exposition of Matanzas (1881). He later attended other expos including that of Paris (1900), and geological congresses in Mexico (1906) and Stockholm (1911) (Carbonell, 1928).


Figure 5. Dr. Carlos de la Torre donating mollusk specimens to the Smithsonian institution. Photograph circa 1930's from the Smithsonian science archives.


His achievements, already great, granted him his doctorate in 1883 from the Central University of Madrid in Spain. His dissertation dealt with the geographical distribution of terrestrial and river mollusks of Cuba (ANH, Universidades, 6226, Exp. 8). He then traveled extensively especially around Europe and to the United States, surrounding himself with a plethora of acquaintances in all ecosystems of science.
He taught Natural History in Institue of Secondary Learning in San Juan, Puerto Rico between 1882 and 1885 (ANH, Ultramar, 262, Exp.22) and collaborated with Smithsonian scientists like Paul Bartsch in the identification and classification of Cuban mollusks both fossil and living; worked with Dr. Diller Matthew of the American Museum, Joseph Leidy of the University of Pennsylvania, Barnum Brown and several others regarding fossil mammals (see my post on the Cuban ground sloths). He had collaborated with luminaries likes Antonio Parra, Ramon de la Sagra, Rodriguez Ferrer, Fernandez de Castro, Luis Montane, and Thomas Barbour among many more. All these crucial players in the development of Antillean paleobiology and geology of the 19th and 20th century.



Figure 6. Photograph of Dr. Carlos de la Torre with the Cuban ground sloth specimen mounted at the AMNH in the Cuban National Archive. The bust on the left is that of his professor Dr. Felipe Poey. Circa 1920. He loved to take pictures with this specimen.


In 1886, he became the professor of comparative anatomy at the University of Havana, where his research and explorations were responsible for the study of the Cuban ground sloth Megalocnus rodens Leidy 1868 (originally Myomorphys cubensis of Pomel 1868, matching almost simultaneously with that of Joseph Leidy's).
This discovery so deeply figured into the discussions on the origin of past Caribbean faunas, and whether the Antillean islands were joined to the continental mainland during the Quaternary. This was a hot topic during the first decades of the 20th century. These issues were center matter in geological publications of the time (e. g., Hayes et al., 1901) and his own discourses (1909-1910).


Figure 7: Dr. de la Torre and his priced ground sloth Megalocnus rodens specimen mounted at the AMNH. He presented this specimen at the 11th Geology Congress in Stockholm, Sweden, 1911. From Carbonell (1928) pg. 278. Photograph circa 1916.

He was responsible for gathering the evidence that supported the presence of Mesozoic rocks in Cuba, reported since the explorations of Alexander Humboldt in his visits to Cuba in the early 19th century (Humboldt, 1826; Rodriguez Ferrer, 1876). He localized and published on the Jurassic formations in Pinar del Rio in western Cuba (1909-1910), where he discovered magnificent marine reptiles and mollusks called ammonites (like that on fig. 9) within the black shale of the San Cayetano and Vinales formations.

The importance of these discoveries transcends, and one hundred years later this fossil still serves as evidence of the life that inhabited the shallow seas that were to become the Cuban archipelago 160 million years later. It was definitive proof of the presence in Cuba of Jurassic rock beds, so formerly criticized by the earlier reports of Hayes, Spencer, and Vaughan (1901; see also 1918).



Figure 9: Fossil Ammonite (Mollusca) Perisphinctes cf. plicatilis? measuring 16 cm in diameter (see Judoley and Furrazola, 1968) from San Cayetano Fm, Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Courtesy of L. P. Orozco, 2002.  


Dr. de la Torre was a son of Matanzas' cultural golden age. He was respected and well regarded by his students and colleagues. Those who knew him called him "the sage without white hair" and considered him a great educator, orator, candid and funny. He was surely a renaissance man of multiple talents, bohemian, even a politician during the early Republican years at the side of  Maximo Gomez, one of the great generals of the Cuban War of Independence.

During the later years of his life, and still very much active, took on the position as dean of the University of Havana following in the footsteps of his professor Felipe Poey. He died gracefully on 19 February 1950 after a long and fruitful career. With him ended the first cycle of Cuba's geoscience golden age.

Dr. de la Torre is among one of those scientists that are easy to admire. In my case, even much before I planned to become a geologist/paleontologist. This I think was intensified and influenced by my intimate inhabitation in what used to be his house, his things, and his city. In exactly those places, but nearly a century later, I first took my first steps into the world of natural history and science.

In this way, life can be mischievous by allowing us to coincide in place, but not time, with such significant personalities. Standing exactly where they stood, seen almost what they saw, is a career-propelling, time-traveling experience that I have collected and delighted in since. One can but hope, but the dream to become someone close to these giants. People who have selfishly devoted their lives to the advancement of science and the education of others for the ideal of "helping all human kind". This may sound corny, but what a dream it is.

I will end thus with a quote from Jose Ingenieros (my translation):

"Life is worth more for the use we make of it, for the work we do. He who counts more years in life has not lived more than he who has felt a strong ideal".





References

This account of his life draws mostly from two sources listed in the references below. One, titled "Don Carlos de la Torre en la Instituciones de Matanzas" (1959) by Luis Rodriguez Rivero, secretary of the "Lyceum of Matanzas" which published that work. And the second written during his lifetime and titled "La Ciencia en Cuba" by Jose Manuel Carbonell and Rivero (1928) as part of a unique study series on the evolution of Cuban culture. Other, and otherwise unpublished records, come from the PARES archives in Spain, here cited in their original signature.


Carbonell and Rivero, J. M. 1928. La Ciencia en Cuba. Evolucion de la Cultura Cubana. Montalvo y Calvo, La Habana.

Hayes, W. C., T. W. Vaughan, and A. C. Spencer. 1901. Report on a geological reconnaissance of Cuba made under the direction of general Leonard Wood. Government Printing Office, Washington.

Humboldt, A. Von. 1826. Voyageaux regions equinoxiales du Nouveau Continent fait in 1799-1804. Gide, Paris: 229-231.

Judoley, C. M. and G. Furrazola-Bermudez. 1968. Estratigrafia y Fauna del Jurasico de Cuba. Academia de Ciencias, La Habana, Cuba.

Mayr, Ernst. 1970. Population Species, and Evolution. Belknap/Harvard University Press, Cambridge.

Rodriguez Ferrer, M. 1876, Naturaleza y Civilizacion de la Grandiosa Isla de Cuba. Primera Parte: Naturaleza. Imprenta J. Noguera, Madrid.

Rodriguez Rivero, L. 1958. Don Carlos de la Torre en las Instituciones de Matanzas. Ateneo de Matanzas, Matanzas, Cuba.

Torre y Huerta, Carlos de la. 1909. Excursion cientifica a Vinales, descubrimiento de ammonites del periodo Jurasico en Cuba. Anales de la Academia de Ciencias Medicas, Fisicas, y Naturales de la Habana: 99-103pp.

Torre y Huerta, Carlos de la. 1910. Excursion a la Sierra de Jatibonico: Osamentas fosiles de Megalocnus rodens o Mymoprhus cubensis. Sesion del 10 de Junio de 1910.
Imprenta Militar, La Habana

Vaughan, Wayland. 1902. Notes on Cuban fossil mammals. Science, 15 (369): 148-149.

Vaughan, Wayland. 1918. The geologic history of Central America and West Indies during the Cenozoic time. Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, 29: 615-630.