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Discovery: New ant species branched off as parasite inside its own colony

A newly-discovered species of ant supports a controversial theory of species formation. The ant, known to live only under a single eucalyptus tree on the São Paulo State University campus in Brazil, branched off from its original species while living in the same colony, something thought rare in current models of evolutionary development.

NASA’s Chandra Observatory searches for trigger of nearby supernova

New data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory offer a glimpse into the environment of a star before it exploded earlier this year, and insight into what triggered one of the closest supernovas witnessed in decades.

Crowdsourcing the Olinguito

One year ago, the olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina) stepped out of the forest shadows into the spotlight and onto the pages of science—the first carnivore species in the Americas to do so in 35 years.

University of Michigan forest preserve joins Smithsonian global network

A 57-acre research plot at a University of Michigan forest preserve northwest of Ann Arbor has been added to a Smithsonian Institution global network used to study tropical and temperate forest function and diversity.

Poison ivy primer

Ahhh, the sensations of summer…ocean sand between your toes, a cool drink in the shade, and red itchy welts courtesy of that three-leaved miscreant:  poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans).

Volunteers needed for massive Smithsonian digitization project

Today the Smithsonian launches its Transcription Center website to the public. The website is designed to leverage the power of crowds to help the Smithsonian unlock the content inside thousands of digitized images of documents, such as handwritten civil war journals, personal letters from famous artists, 100-year-old botany specimen labels and examples of early American currency.

Mysterious molecules in space

Over the vast, empty reaches of interstellar space, countless small molecules tumble quietly though the cold vacuum.

Bolivia’s golden bat: one of six new species found by the Smithsonian’s Bat Detective.

If you love new animal species and have an Internet connection, chances are you have already seen the beautiful new golden bat species, Myotis midastactus.

How do you dismantle a dinosaur?

The National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., has closed its Dinosaur Hall for a five-year renovation.

New study focuses on carabid beetles

The carabid beetle tribe Lachnophorini is the focus of an extensive new study by two Smithsonian entomologists just published in a special issue of the open access journal ZooKeys.

Biological fallout of shale-gas production still largely unknown

In the United States, natural-gas production from shale rock has increased by more than 700 percent since 2007.

Smithsonian & SVF launch rare-breed livestock conservation partnership

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the SVF Foundation have launched a new collaboration to strengthen rare and endangered livestock breed conservation through the preservation and study of frozen germplasm (semen and embryos), cell lines and other biomaterials from rare heritage breeds of food and fiber livestock.

Smithsonian celebrates 1st birthday of first Przewalski’s horse born by artificial insemination.

Scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute are celebrating the anniversary of the first birth of a Przewalski’s horse by artificial insemination.

Finding ET by searching for alien air pollution

Humanity is on the threshold of being able to detect signs of alien life on other worlds. By studying exoplanet atmospheres, we can look for gases like oxygen and methane that only coexist if replenished by life.

The bones talk: Smithsonian helps Wisconsin police narrow search in 20-year-old mystery

Investigators from Rock County, Wisconsin, are one step closer to solving the mystery surrounding the death of an unknown teenager thanks to Smithsonian scientists.

Chandra X-ray Observatory Celebrates 15th Anniversary

Fifteen years ago, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched into space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia.

Transiting exoplanet with longest known year

Astronomers have discovered a transiting exoplanet with the longest known year. Kepler-421b circles its star once every 704 days.

African giant snails: Q&A with Smithsonian mollusk curator Ellen Strong

It is one of the world’s most destructive invasive species, and possibly the slimiest. Thirty-five pounds of live African giant snails (Achatina fulica) were stopped this month by U.S.

Urban landscapes becoming increasingly bird-unfriendly

Tasty and easy to find, the heath hen was a favorite dish of America’s colonial settlers. This beautiful little bird, however, was no match for the appetite of a growing nation.

Sun-like stars reveal their ages

Defining what makes a star “Sun-like” is as difficult as defining what makes a planet “Earth-like.” A solar twin should have a temperature, mass, and spectral type similar to our Sun.