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Ant bites inspire study of nectar organs on tropical trees


Scientific inspiration springs from many sources. In the case of Smithsonian botanist David Kenfack, ant bites were the inspiration for a recent paper he co-authored in the scientific journal Adansonia focusing on a genus of trees of the mahogany family.

Corn entered Southwest U.S. first along highland route, DNA shows


Corn (Photo by Doug Wilson) A new DNA study of ancient corn kernels and cobs from archaeological sites across North America has settled a long debate as to exactly where corn first entered what is now the United States.

5 Crazy Things You Didn’t Know About Orchids


The orchid “Dendrobium Regina Beauty” (Photo by Johnny Gibbons) Why do we love orchids so much? Tom Mirenda, Smithsonian Gardens orchid collection specialist, believes it is partly because orchids seem to look back at us with symmetrical faces.

DARK MATTER GUIDES GROWTH OF SUPERMASSIVE BLACK HOLES


This illustration shows two spiral galaxies – each with supermassive black holes at their center – as they are about to collide and form an elliptical galaxy.

Mismatched Twin Stars Spotted in the Delivery Room


The majority of stars in our galaxy come in pairs. In particular, the most massive stars usually have a companion.

How Do Ticks…Tick?


Did you know that the blood-sucking parasite known as the tick is actually nearly 900 different species?

3D imaging takes Smithsonian from Washington to the world

The Smithsonian has launched an ambitious project to scan millions of items and make them available to the world on a searchable database.

It’s Science: Zombies already Walk Among Us


This photo shows the fungus “Ophiocordyceps unilateralis,” which looks like a stick with a ball in the middle, coming out of the dead ant’s head.

New species of bright-yellow water frog discovered in Peru


“Telmatobius ventriflavum,” a new water frog from the Pacific slopes of the Andes in central Peru. A new water frog from the Pacific slopes of the Andes in central Peru has been described and named in the open access journal ZooKeys.

American Indians, colonists had healthy appetite for crabs, study shows


Flickr photo by Rhea C Native Americans and America’s early colonists ate many more blue crabs than modern researchers previously thought, according to a team of scientists studying crab remains unearthed at archaeological sites in the Chesapeake Bay area.

Reptile rejuvenation at National Zoo

Reptiles have a rough exterior that make them seem like they don’t need a lot of very specific care. The reality is quite the opposite.

Keeping Warm in Winter is for the Birds


Small birds like this European robin puff up their feathers in order to trap more air in them, which is then warmed by their body heat and keeps the bird toasty on a cold winter morning.

3-D Map of Supernova Remnant Reveals Frothy Interior


A web application powered by Javascript/WebGL has been developed to allow users to interact with a 3D reconstruction of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A.

Six Cold and Flu Medicines you’re Not Taking Today (And for Good Reason)


If it seems like this winter you and everyone else has been getting sick, you’re not imagining things—the U.S.

“Outside the Spacecraft,” a new exhibition at the Air and Space Museum

Get a look behind the scenes as we installed “Outside the Spacecraft: 50 Years of Extra-vehicular Activity,” a new exhibition on view at the Museum in Washington, DC January 8 through June 8, 2015.

New South Pacific cliff flower is critically endangered


A close-up of the newly discovered flowering plant “Bidens meyeri.” What plant species has just been discovered but is almost gone?

Lowering the Spirit of St. Louis for the first time in 22 years

For the first time in nearly 22 years, the Spirit of St. Louis is lowered onto the floor of the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall.

Bizarre ocean amphipod has 16 retinas in each eye


This image is a side view of “Paraphronima gracilis” showing the enormous mostly transparent eyes, row of orange retinas and transparent body with developing gonads (white).

Discovery: Marine crustacean has 16 retinas in each eye


This image is a side view of “Paraphronima gracilis” showing the enormous mostly transparent eyes, row of orange retinas and transparent body with developing gonads (white).

Museum specimens come to life in new “Skin and Bones” mobile app

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History released a new mobile app “Skin and Bones” Jan. 13.


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