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Five Microscopic Images That Will Blow Your Mind


By Micaela Jemison From bizarre bugs to penis spines on bats, our world is infinitely expanded when we look down the microscope!

The great night heron mystery at the National Zoo

Each year, a mysterious group of night herons flock to Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Then, they vanish.

Tiny “nanoflares’ might heat the Sun’s corona


This image from the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) shows emission from hot plasma in the Sun’s transition region-the atmospheric layer between the surface and the outer corona.

Nautilus shell deformity puzzles scientists


The shell of this nautilus at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo clearly shows the deformity–area characterized by black bands–that started after it began living in an aquarium.

Five amazing fossil finds that will make you want to be a fossil hunter


Smithsonian intern Catalina Suarez Gomez excavating a fossil in the Cerrejón coal mine in Colombia. By Micaela Jemison What do you want to be when you grow up?

New Book: A History of Life in 100 Fossils


Left-handed snails, giant wombats, spiny trilobites, zombie ants, glyptodonts…these are a few of the fascinating animals and plants whose fossils spring to life upon the pages of A History of Life in 100 Fossils, a new offering from Smithsonian Books.

Live Symposium: The Anthropocene


The world is changing at a rapid pace. Scientists have documented significant changes during the past century in climate, land-use and biodiversity that are unprecedented over the past thousand years.

Rockin’ out: Bats learn to love heavy metal music


By Micaela Jemison A fringe-lipped bat, Trachops cirrhosis (Photo: Sean Mattson/ STRI) How do you train a wild animal to come back to you after you have set it free?

Squat lobsters: colorful kings of the ocean floor


JOHN BARRAT The colorful Indo Pacific squat lobster “Allogalathea elegans.” (Photo by T. Y. Chan and C.

Meet the Smithsonian’s poop sleuth

Ever wonder what it’s like to be an endocrinologist at the National Zoo? Middle school students should check out, “Other Duties as Assigned: The Secret World of Zoo Jobs.” Meet Sarah Putman, endocrinologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.

Rare rusty-patched bumble bee discovered by Smithsonian scientists


The rusty-patched bumble bee (“Bombus affinis”) found by a Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute research team.

New Poison Dart Frog from Panama


The poison dart frog “Andinobates geminisae” A bright orange poison dart frog with a unique call was discovered in Donoso, Panama, and described by researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Instituteand the Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí, both in Panama, and the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia.

Diversity of resident crabs is key to coral survival


A predator crown-of-thorns sea star eats an undefended coral, leaving visible white scars of exposed coral skeleton where the tissue has been removed.

When will a volcano explode, ooze or lay silent?


Lava surface flow in the moonlight, Hawaii (Photo by: Bill Shupp) Volcanoes are a source of fascination for many, attracting a steady stream of visitors worldwide.

When will a volcano explode, ooze or lay silent?


Lava surface flow in the moonlight, Hawaii (Photo by: Bill Shupp) Volcanoes are a source of fascination for many, attracting a steady stream of visitors worldwide.

Why do lions roar?

Lion start vocalizing as soon as they’re born. But when and why do they start to roar? We ask caretakers at Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Maybe it’s safer riding a rhino. Genet expert poses new ideas on the mammal’s hitchhiking behavior.


A genet riding a rhino. (Photo: WildlifeAct) When some of the world’s largest mammals come your way, most animals steer clear.

Is Pluto a planet? The votes are in


On Sept. 18, 2014, audience members who attended the Observatory Night talk “What is a Planet?” voted to choose one of three possible definitions for a planet.

Simple tips to keep your backyard birds healthy this winter


What crunchy food did Americans spend $5.5 billion on last year—with sales that spiked before snow and ice storms?

Smithsonian scientists discover tropical tree microbiome in Panama


Human skin and gut microbes influence processes from digestion to disease resistance. Despite the fact that tropical forests are the most biodiverse terrestrial ecosystems on the planet, more is known about belly-button bacteria than bacteria on trees in the tropics.


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