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Tool use by sea otters has little to do with genetic ties: Smithsonian study

A sea otter cracks open a clam by striking it against a rock balanced on its stomach. (Photo by Jessica Fujii / Monterey Bay Aquarium) Tool use by sea otters to break open well-armored food is not necessarily a family matter, according to a new study published this week by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) and partners.

Rules Don’t Apply: June Schwarcz’s Remarkable Copper Foil & Enamel Vessels

June Schwarcz, Apollo’s Pool (#2025), 1993, electroplated copper foil and enamel. Smithsonian American Art Museum, gift of Kenneth R.

Dead Zones May Threaten Coral Reefs Worldwide

Crabs were flushed from reef crevices by low oxygen conditions but ultimately succumbed to hypoxia. (Photo by Arcadio Castillo) Dead zones affect dozens of coral reefs around the world and threaten hundreds more according to a new study by Smithsonian scientists published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A Walk Among the Cherry Blossoms

Henry and Nancy Rosin Collection of Early Photography of Japan. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

Microplastics in our environment: A conservation with Odile Madden, Smithsonian plastics scientist

Odile Madden with a collection of plastic buoys, fishing floats and fuel containers found on the shore of Alaska’s Blue Fox Island in 2013.

Jeopardy’s Clew Crew visits the National Zoo

Jeopardy’s Clew Crew visits the Smithsonian’s National Zoo! The post Jeopardy’s Clew Crew visits the National Zoo appeared first on Smithsonian Insider.

Taína Caragol: Putting a focus on Latino faces at the National Portrait Gallery

Caja de Memoria Viva II: Constancia Clemente-Colon by Adrian “Viajero” Roman, charcoal on wood, audio recording, mixed media and artifacts, 2013.

Simultaneous hermaphrodites: Understanding Speciation in fish called “hamlets”

Golden hamlet (“Hypoplectrus gummigutta”). (Photo by Kosmas Hench) New species don’t just spring out of thin air.

Preserving the stories of Video Game Pioneers

One of the most important long-term projects to impact the video game industry is going on at the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.

Smithsonian To Convene Earth Optimism Summit April 21–23

On Earth Day weekend, the Smithsonian will convene the first Earth Optimism Summit, a three-day event featuring more than 150 scientists, thought leaders, philanthropists, conservationists and civic leaders, which will highlight what is working in conservation and how to scale up and replicate it.

Could Fast Radio Bursts Be Powering Alien Probes?

An artist’s illustration of a light-sail powered by a radio beam (red) generated on the surface of a planet.

For One Smithsonian Employee, Japanese Incarceration Exhibit Has Deep Family Ties

Evacuees were allowed to bring only what they could carry. The Watanabe family brought this wicker suitcase with them to the Minidoka camp in Idaho.

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company @ Portrait Gallery

Known around the world for personal and culturally inspired choreography, Dana Tai Soon Burgess has been named the Smithsonian’s first choreographer-in-residence at the National Portrait Gallery.

New Costa Rican shrew species named from a single specimen found 44 years ago

“Think of a lion shrunk to the size of a mouse that needs to eat every 20 minutes or so.” That is a shrew, says Neal Woodman, a U.S.

Mexican Masks: Tales Through Dance

Traditional Mexican dance mask representing La Malinche (Courtesy National Museum of Natural History) For centuries, cultures around the world have used masks in ritual dances and festivals to represent traditional characters.

Beetle and pollen trapped in 105 million-year-old amber reveal fourth major pollination mode in mid-Mesozoic

This 3D model of “Darwinylus marcosi” shows how the beetle may have looked before it became stuck in tree resin 105 million years ago.

Keeping Track of Kirtland’s Warbler All Year Long―A Scientific First

Being able to track a bird as small as the Kirtland’s warbler through its full annual cycle has revealed new and critical information for conservation and the bird’s future.

Trusted Sources: Why Museums and Libraries Are More Relevant Than Ever

The Smithsonian Castle on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Washington, D.C. is a city of symbols.

Of mice and mocchato: Bird Friendly® coffee gives a paw-up to small mammals as well

A harvest mouse captured and released during a Smithsonian sponsored mammal survey of coffee plantations in Mexico in 2014.

New Children’s Space Brings Play to Portraiture

In a pleasant purple room just past a portrait of Pocahontas, some of the National Portrait Gallery’s youngest visitors are conducting what Albert Einstein once called “the highest form of research.” “When children play, they develop cognitive, emotional, social and physical skills,” says Rhonda Buckley-Bishop, president and CEO of the Explore!