WASHINGTON--The lessons from the past tell a chilling tale about the warming of the future, according to paleontologists and anthropologists at the Smithsonian Institution. And now they too have joined in the debate about global change. Concerned that their institution, the National Museum of Natural History, has been overlooked by the nation's global change policymakers, they have exchanged lab coats for suit jackets and lab benches for podiums to let Washington know they want a larger role in the government's $1 billion research program.

"In some of these areas, I don't think there's anyone in the government that is producing the kind of long-term data we need," says Daniel Appleman, the museum's associate director for science. "Our scientists want to be part of this effort." Global change has occurred before, they warn, but not at the rate the earth's climate seems to be shifting today.

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