By Dave Crawley

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Dozens of kids got the chance to see what it’s like to be a scientist out in the field.

They took part in Carnegie Museum’s newest interactive feature, learning about the Amazon, complete with an animal encounter.

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Visiting children watch as a spiny tailed iguana named Chiquita eats a banana.

They hear the stories of Jose Padial, the museum’s curator of reptiles and amphibians. He tells them abut his expeditions to the Amazon Basin of Peru.

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Students from the Environmental Charter School learn that the habitat of many species is threatened by the expansion of farmland into the rain forest.

“We need to constantly make the case for the conservation,” the curator explains. “Look, we have these important animals here. We have this diversity, and we need to protect it. And that’s how the museum plays a role in conservation there.”

Jose Padial says he’s discovered more than fifty new species in his three trips to the Amazon. But he added that you could find a new species yourself, closer to home. Much closer. The curator talked about one such discovery.

“A zoologist made a bet and said, ‘I’m going to be able to find a new species in my backyard.’ And he did. You just have to go to the small things that nobody’s studying, and you will find new stuff that nobody’s found before.”

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