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Beautiful meteorites hold clues to solar system’s violent start

When examined under a microscope with polarized light, ureilite meteorites appear in dazzling colors separated by black bands of graphite and space diamonds.

6 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Andean Bears

Giant Pandas. Grizzlies. Koalas. You’ve probably heard a lot about these bear species, but what about Andean bears?

Newly named mites have thick skins to deter predators

This tiny ambush predator, a mite from the family Cheyletidae, lurks on a leaftop waiting for a tasty victim to pass by.

Golden Frogs with Unique Skin Microbes Survive Frog-Killing Fungus

One of the Panamanian Golden Frogs involved in the study. (Photo by Brian Gratwicke) A new study published this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society by scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) found unique communities of skin bacteria on Panamanian golden frogs that survived chytridiomycosis (ki-TRID-io-MY-co-sis) infections.

Pa Bell Speaks—Through a Microscope

How do you bring Alexander Graham Bell’s voice to life out of old, cracked deteriorating wax sound recordings?

The Secret Life of Orchids – Part I: Fungi

We know some types of fungi turn ants into zombies, but fungi are not always the bad guys. In the case of orchids, fungi are actually the victims.

New App adds Virtual Flesh to Victorian-era Bone exhibit

Point your smartphone at the skeleton of a vampire bat mounted in a museum case, wait a minute and you will see it wiggle, jump down and scuttle away.

Coming soon: Vacancy at the crawdad hole?

The Chattooga River crayfish is known from about 20 locations in the Chattooga River system in northwestern Georgia and northeastern Alabama.

New Poison Dart Frog Hatched for the First Time in Captivity

The first “Andinobates geminisae” froglet to hatch in captivity. (Photos by Jorge Guerrel/Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute) Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) scientists working as part of the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project hatched the first Andinobates geminisae froglet born in captivity.

What squirms inside a tiny bird? Odd new tapeworm species

This image shows a fragment of the avian tapeworm “Cucolepis cincta,” described in 2012 by Anna Phillips.

Studying migratory connectivity of shorebirds on the Texas coast

Scientists from the Migratory Bird Center of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute are using transmitters to track the movements of shorebirds–the long-billed curlew, red knot, marbled godwit and black-legged plover–in the south coast of Texas.

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.


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.