Biological engineer Dan Aneshansley dies at 79

Dan Aneshansley, Ph.D. ’72, professor emeritus of biological and environmental engineering, whose half-century of research impacted the state’s dairy and fruit production, died July 3 in Syracuse, New York. He was 79.

Aneshansley developed prototypes for an in-line, production inspection system of apples, and he helped to create near infrared and color imaging for bruise detection in apples.

Dan Aneshansley

As a frequent collaborator with the late Cornell entomologist Tom Eisner, Aneshansley authored several papers relating to the bombardier beetle – an animal famous for squirting enemies with boiling hot, noxious spray from the tip of its abdomen.

The joint papers provided visual proof – in a 35mm film format – on how the African bombardier beetle, Stenaptinus insignis, can aim its spray in virtually any direction when provoked. They showed that the beetle can target sites even when on its back and postulated that this ability to aim helps the animal defend itself against ants.

In collaboration, the professors also worked with students in neurobiology and behavior to devise a way to simulate how insects view the ultraviolet world.

Daniel J. Aneshansley was born in Piqua, Ohio on Nov. 24, 1942, to Clay Henry “Jim” and Marian Aneshansley. He grew up in Dayton, Ohio and earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 1965, and a doctoral degree from Cornell in 1972 in electrical engineering, as well as neurobiology and behavior.

 He is survived by Jan, his wife of 53 years, and their children, MaryJo Aneshansley of Chelan, Washington; Edward Aneshansley of Marblehead, Massachusetts; Jennifer Frank of Syracuse; and Jimmy Aneshansley of Fayetteville, New York.

A celebration of Aneshansley’s life will be held on Aug. 6 at the Eaton-Tubbs Fayetteville Chapel, Schepp Family Funeral Homes, 7191 E. Genesee St., Fayetteville. Calling hours will be 10 a.m. to noon. The memorial service will start at noon. Interment will be at the Fayetteville Cemetery immediately after the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests gifts in his memory to UNICEF for humanitarian support in Ukraine.

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