Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History

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Operating as usual

Participate in paleontology through our Fossil Atmospheres citizen science project. Ginkgo trees evolved before the dino...
11/17/2020
Zooniverse

Participate in paleontology through our Fossil Atmospheres citizen science project. Ginkgo trees evolved before the dinosaurs, survived three mass extinctions, and one species is still living today. Our scientists are researching how the cells of leaves on ginkgos have changed over time, and whether we can use them to learn about the ancient atmosphere of the Earth. #FossilFest

https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/laurasoul/fossil-atmospheres

The Zooniverse is the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research.

#DYK you can manipulate, download, and 3D print a number of fossil specimens from our collections? It's a perfect #Fossi...
11/16/2020
Explore | 3D Digitization

#DYK you can manipulate, download, and 3D print a number of fossil specimens from our collections? It's a perfect #FossilFest activity. Visit our friends Smithsonian 3D Digitization to start exploring fossils (and many other objects).

“Since Darwin and before, it’s been recognized that species really do affect each other. But it’s very hard to tease tha...
11/16/2020
Interdisciplinary Study Shows How Species Interactions Affect Evolution

“Since Darwin and before, it’s been recognized that species really do affect each other. But it’s very hard to tease that kind of information out of the fossil record.” - Kay Behrensmeyer, curator of vertebrate paleontology.

Behrensmeyer recently co-authored a review paper in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution that shows how researchers can use the fossil record to study interactions among ancient species and how they impact evolution.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/blogs/national-museum-of-natural-history/2020/11/16/interdisciplinary-study-shows-how-species-interactions-affect-evolution/

The study shows that it’s possible to model how competition for resources, symbiosis or predation shapes the evolution and survival of species.

¿Te gustan los dinosaurios? Compartamos un viaje al pasado para conocer sobre “Los Gigantes del Sur” hoy a las 2:00 pm (...
11/15/2020
Historia Natural en Casa: "Los Gigantes del Sur"

¿Te gustan los dinosaurios? Compartamos un viaje al pasado para conocer sobre “Los Gigantes del Sur” hoy a las 2:00 pm (ET). #FossilWeek #SmithsonianEdu

https://naturalhistory.si.edu/events/historia-natural-en-casa-los-gigantes-del-sur

La exploración de la historia natural no solo tiene que suceder en el museo, ¡también puede ocurrir en tu hogar! Acompaña a los educadores del museo mientras guían a tu familia a través de actividades de desarrollo de habilidades científicas, leen libros de ciencia y naturaleza e introducen f...

During this previously recorded #FossilFest program, families can explore the question: How do we know what we know abou...
11/13/2020

During this previously recorded #FossilFest program, families can explore the question: How do we know what we know about long-extinct animals and their habitats?

Paleontologist Laura Soul reads Tylosaurus, a book about an extinct large marine reptile written by Gerry Bailey and illustrated by Karen Carr. After the reading, Laura shares an art activity your kids can do at home. #FossilFriday

https://s.si.edu/storytime2

Go behind the scenes in the museum’s #FossilPrep lab in a live webinar, Nov. 17! Fossil preparator Michelle Pinsdorf and...
11/13/2020
Fossils Live!

Go behind the scenes in the museum’s #FossilPrep lab in a live webinar, Nov. 17! Fossil preparator Michelle Pinsdorf and paleobiologist @KNanglu will answer audience questions. #FossilFriday #DistanceLearning #SciEd #FossilFest https://naturalhistory.si.edu/events/fossils-live

Get a special tour behind the scenes in the fossil prep lab at the National Museum of Natural History with fossil preparator Michelle Pinsdorf. She will show you how she cleans, prepares, and protects fossils that come to the museum from the field. She and paleobiologist Karma Nanglu will answer you...

Explore the epic story of how Earth’s distant past is connected to the present and informs our future.When you take a vi...
11/13/2020

Explore the epic story of how Earth’s distant past is connected to the present and informs our future.

When you take a virtual tour through #DeepTime, you will travel through ancient ecosystems, witness the evolution of life, and get up close to some 700 fossil specimens—all from the comfort of your home! #FossilFest

Your journey begins here: http://s.si.edu/deeptime

Explora el pasado, conoce sobre dinosaurios desudamérica, y aprende a dibujar uno este domingo, 15 de noviembre, a las 2...
11/12/2020
Historia Natural en Casa: "Los Gigantes del Sur"

Explora el pasado, conoce sobre dinosaurios desudamérica, y aprende a dibujar uno este domingo, 15 de noviembre, a las 2:00pm en el seminario webgratuito “Gigantes del Sur”. ¡En Celebración de la Semana de los Fósiles!

Entra al enlace para más detalles: https://naturalhistory.si.edu/events/historia-natural-en-casa-los-gigantes-del-sur

This program will be presented entirely in Spanish.

La exploración de la historia natural no solo tiene que suceder en el museo, ¡también puede ocurrir en tu hogar! Acompaña a los educadores del museo mientras guían a tu familia a través de actividades de desarrollo de habilidades científicas, leen libros de ciencia y naturaleza e introducen f...

Join paleontologists Karma Nanglu—whose drawing is featured here—and Laura Soul to learn one of the most important skill...
11/12/2020

Join paleontologists Karma Nanglu—whose drawing is featured here—and Laura Soul to learn one of the most important skills for their field: sketching and making observations of fossils.

Grab paper and a pencil to follow along with them as they guide you through the important features to look for, how to sketch them, how to label them, and how to work out what it all means! #FossilFest

https://naturalhistory.si.edu/education/teaching-resources/paleontology/webinar-drawing-fossils

“The things that you collect now, you simply can’t envision how they can be used in the future,” says Gary Graves, a cur...
11/11/2020

“The things that you collect now, you simply can’t envision how they can be used in the future,” says Gary Graves, a curator of birds at the Smithsonian. More than 30 years ago, Graves began to collect DNA samples from our feathered friends. Today, he's one of the co-authors on a monumental paper published in the journal Nature that describes the complete genetic codes of more than 300 bird species. About 40% of the new genomes came from Smithsonian samples. The Smithsonian’s biorepository includes bird species from dozens of expeditions all over the world and made the project possible. “These are the basic building blocks,” Graves said. “Without the biorepository, the project is dead in the water.”

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/blogs/national-museum-of-natural-history/2020/11/11/landmark-study-shares-smithsonian-bird-dna-collected-over-three-decades/

#DYK fossil leaves with insect damage show us ancient interactions between plants and insects? In this #FossilFest activ...
11/11/2020

#DYK fossil leaves with insect damage show us ancient interactions between plants and insects?

In this #FossilFest activity you'll be able to observe fossil leaves for insect damage. Compare the damage you see on one fossil to damage on another. Then go in your own neighborhood and see if you can find modern evidence of these ancient interactions. #SmithsonianEdu

https://s.si.edu/fossilleaves

Wed. 11/11, the Smithsonian opens the new National Native American Veterans Memorial. See a short, virtual program honor...
11/10/2020

Wed. 11/11, the Smithsonian opens the new National Native American Veterans Memorial. See a short, virtual program honoring the service and sacrifice of Native veterans and their families online at https://americanindian.si.edu/visit/washington/nnavm. #NNAVM

On this day in 1958, Harry Winston donated the Hope Diamond to @smithsoniannmnh. Learn more about this diamond's fascina...
11/10/2020
Get to Know the Hope Diamond’s Keeper

On this day in 1958, Harry Winston donated the Hope Diamond to @smithsoniannmnh. Learn more about this diamond's fascinating past and how scientists work with gems and minerals—big and small—to learn more about the natural world around us. #HopeDiamond

We caught up with Dr. Jeffrey Post to hear the story of this infamous blue diamond, see what makes the National Gem and Mineral Collection so special and learn about the countless things minerology can reveal about the past and future.

In this previously recorded, five-part natural history exploration, we invite students to join museum experts to learn h...
11/10/2020

In this previously recorded, five-part natural history exploration, we invite students to join museum experts to learn how to use fossils to understand and show what life on our planet looked like in the past, also known as "reconstructing," the past.

Through online artist demonstrations and conversations with museum scientists, students will use fossil evidence to create their own science-based mural of a North American ecosystem just before the extinction of the dinosaurs! The program is designed for students in grades 3 through 8. #FossilFest

https://s.si.edu/dinomural

125 years ago,  physicist Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-rays. The finding gave scientists a new way to see the world and...
11/09/2020

125 years ago, physicist Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-rays. The finding gave scientists a new way to see the world and transformed medicine and natural history research. Today, we’ll show you how our researchers use X-rays to study everything from spiders to marine life.

#ICYMI our friends at the Smithsonian Global Volcanism Program and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are celebrating 20 year...
11/09/2020
Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report

#ICYMI our friends at the Smithsonian Global Volcanism Program and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are celebrating 20 years of reporting weekly on global volcanic activity! To date they have published 16,098 individual reports on 305 different volcanoes! Read about their critical work and their "Top 50 Eruption Picks," here: https://volcano.si.edu/projects/wvar20/.

The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report is a cooperative project between the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program.

For today's #FossilFest check out this board game developed by artist-illustrator Hannah Bonner and our museum's Evoluti...
11/09/2020

For today's #FossilFest check out this board game developed by artist-illustrator Hannah Bonner and our museum's Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems Program.

"Evolve or Perish" takes you through 630 million years of evolution from life in the sea to life on land! The guidebook explains all the organisms and events in more detail and supports learning about the history of life on our planet. The game can be played at two levels: beginner and advanced.

The set-up is similar to Chutes and Ladders, you use chips and a die to reach the finish.

Play here: http://s.si.edu/evolveorperish

In 1923, paleontologist Charles W. Gilmore and his team collected much of a Diplodocus skeleton at the Dinosaur National...
11/08/2020

In 1923, paleontologist Charles W. Gilmore and his team collected much of a Diplodocus skeleton at the Dinosaur National Monument in Utah. They worked tirelessly to prepare the 70-foot-long sauropod dinosaur for display in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History #FossilFest

Channel your inner paleontologist and put together this diplodocus puzzle. http://s.si.edu/dinopuzzle

Thanks to our friends Smithsonian Institution Archives for creating this online game!

¿Quisieras hacer un viaje al pasado y conocer dinosaurios colosales? Con la ayuda del paleontólogo Fernando Novas y el p...
11/06/2020
Historia Natural en Casa: "Los Gigantes del Sur"

¿Quisieras hacer un viaje al pasado y conocer dinosaurios colosales? Con la ayuda del paleontólogo Fernando Novas y el paleoartista Sebastian Rozadilla, aprenderemos sobre los magníficos titanosaurios de la Patagonia y también podrás dibujar uno durante el programa. ¡Unete el Domingo 15 de Noviembre a las 2:00 pm y celebra con nosotros la Semana de los Fósiles!

Entra al enlace para más detalles: https://naturalhistory.si.edu/events/historia-natural-en-casa-los-gigantes-del-sur

#FossilFest #SmithsonianEdu

🖼 : Sebastián Rozadilla

La exploración de la historia natural no solo tiene que suceder en el museo, ¡también puede ocurrir en tu hogar! Acompaña a los educadores del museo mientras guían a tu familia a través de actividades de desarrollo de habilidades científicas, leen libros de ciencia y naturaleza e introducen f...

Join us for 10 days of fossil fun as we celebrate our annual Family Fossil Festival ONLINE!From November 7-17, we're off...
11/05/2020

Join us for 10 days of fossil fun as we celebrate our annual Family Fossil Festival ONLINE!

From November 7-17, we're offering digital programs and activities with paleontologists, fossil preparators, educators, and artists. #FossilFest

Register here: https://s.si.edu/fossilkids

“Although common in some areas, this small freshwater turtle (Clemmys guttata) is actually declining in numbers. Knowing...
11/04/2020

“Although common in some areas, this small freshwater turtle (Clemmys guttata) is actually declining in numbers. Knowing that sad fact and because of its whimsical polka dots, I’m always excited to spot these in the wild.” – Esther Langan, Div. of 🐍🐢🦎🐊🐸 #NatureNerding101

Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History's cover photo
11/04/2020

Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History's cover photo

“Rough Green snakes (Opheodrys aestivus) are beautiful, arboreal snakes common in many areas, yet are rarely seen becaus...
11/04/2020

“Rough Green snakes (Opheodrys aestivus) are beautiful, arboreal snakes common in many areas, yet are rarely seen because they blend into vegetation so well. They eat invertebrates like caterpillars, spiders, and grasshoppers” – Steve Gotte, Div. of 🐍🐢🦎🐊🐸 #NatureNerding101

In this photo, the jellyfish Pandea rubra may have been surprised by a camera light or in a defensive state, causing it ...
11/03/2020

In this photo, the jellyfish Pandea rubra may have been surprised by a camera light or in a defensive state, causing it to contract its red mantle and reveal its complex muscle anatomy. When startled it also retracts and coils its long tentacles, which can be up to 6 times its body length. Like many gelatinous, midwater animals, this jelly is host to other animals that live on its body. The tiny animals feed on the food the jelly catches and possibly the jelly itself. #JellyfishDay

Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History's cover photo
11/03/2020

Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History's cover photo

Like a typical jelly the tentacles of Haliscera biglowi trail behind it as it moves, causing water flow to push small or...
11/03/2020

Like a typical jelly the tentacles of Haliscera biglowi trail behind it as it moves, causing water flow to push small organisms into the path of the jelly’s deadly stinging grip. Like many midwater animals, this jelly’s stomach is red to prevent it from glowing when it eats bioluminescent prey. Although large jellies are most well-known, tiny jellies like this one, which is only about 1 inch (3 cm) in diameter, are extremely common.

Celebrate #JellyFishDay by following our friends The Ocean Portal

This steppe bison, Bison priscus is over 28,000 years old!The bison now rests in the @smithsoniannmnh's #DeepTime exhibi...
11/02/2020
Bison Mummies Help Scientists Ruminate on Ancient Climate

This steppe bison, Bison priscus is over 28,000 years old!

The bison now rests in the @smithsoniannmnh's #DeepTime exhibition and can be seen via virtual tour. Before you hang out in our halls virtually learn more about this bison's journey to the Smithsonian and how researchers use frozen mummies to look back in time and see how populations have evolved. #NationalBisonDay

See comments for link to our virtual tours.

Bison mummies hold valuable information for researchers who want to understand how biodiversity evolved and responded to climate change.

When you're one of the world's foremost cephalopod experts, you answer the squid phone when it rings. Day or night.
11/02/2020
‘They’re Calling You on the Squid Phone’

When you're one of the world's foremost cephalopod experts, you answer the squid phone when it rings. Day or night.

Cephalopod researchers were surprised by the sighting of a ram’s horn squid, a peculiar animal never before filmed in its natural environment.

👻👻👻 Before #Halloween wraps up, we wanted to share this not-too-spooky post from one of our research associates, botanis...
10/31/2020

👻👻👻 Before #Halloween wraps up, we wanted to share this not-too-spooky post from one of our research associates, botanist Bort Edwards: "Sassafras (Sassafras albidum), a common small tree in the deciduous forests of Eastern North America, known for its fragrant bark and leaves which are used in Creole gumbo.

They are also notable for commonly having three distinct leaf shapes, all of which can be found on the same plant: a typical 'oval', a two-lobed 'mitten' (left or right handed!), and a three-lobed 'ghost'! Quite why this happens isn’t entirely clear, however lobing allows leaves to be larger with more surface area, and thus collect more light without collapsing.

In sassafras, lobed leaves are found more frequently lower down on the plant where they are often larger in area and where the lobes create air movement over the surface of the leaf, both resulting in greater photosynthesis. This suggests an adaptation to low light in or under a crowded canopy and fits with their place as an understory plant, and one that often grows in large clonal clusters where competition for light is fierce. Whatever the reason, it’s kind of cool wandering through the woods and seeing little ghosts popping out at you."

"Well, that’s it from me! Thank you for following along! I hope everyone is geared up for a safe and spooky Halloween! 🎃...
10/30/2020

"Well, that’s it from me! Thank you for following along! I hope everyone is geared up for a safe and spooky Halloween! 🎃

But more importantly, I hope I’ve won over some new 🦇 bat fans or at least convinced you that a healthy planet depends on bats. Now go out and spread the word!"

- Kelly Speer, Biodiversity Genomics Fellow Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute #BatWeek #BatAppreciation #Bats #Halloween

"In reality, vampire bats share very little with the folklore of Dracula. Most importantly, vampire bats feed mainly on ...
10/30/2020

"In reality, vampire bats share very little with the folklore of Dracula. Most importantly, vampire bats feed mainly on livestock, like cattle and chickens. There are only three species of vampire bats (of >1400 total species of bats) and they are only found in Mexico, Central and South America. Vampire bats use their sharp front teeth to lance the skin of an animal, and then lick the blood from the wound. Their saliva contains two powerful anticoagulant compounds that medical researchers are currently examining for applications to human health."

- Kelly Speer, Biodiversity Genomics Fellow Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute #BatWeek #BatAppreciation #Bats #Halloween

📸 M. Brock Fenton

"Vampire folklore is rich and ancient. For example, ancient Egyptians worshipped Sekhmet, a powerful goddess who drank t...
10/30/2020

"Vampire folklore is rich and ancient. For example, ancient Egyptians worshipped Sekhmet, a powerful goddess who drank the blood of men during war. Stories of blood-feeding creatures are common across civilizations and through the ages, so when a blood-feeding bat was first described in Paraguay in 1810, the bat was named after the myth of vampires. Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” published in 1897, was the first to describe vampires shapeshifting into bats."

- Kelly Speer, Biodiversity Genomics Fellow Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute #BatWeek #BatAppreciation #Bats #Halloween

Picture: "Statue of the lion goddess Sekhmet in the precinct of Mut, Karnak, Egypt" National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution

"WE ARE ONE DAY AWAY PEOPLE! I’ve saved one of my favorite stories about bats for last. For my last takeover post and to...
10/30/2020

"WE ARE ONE DAY AWAY PEOPLE! I’ve saved one of my favorite stories about bats for last. For my last takeover post and to get everyone in a spooky mood, I’m going to tell you how the vampire bat got its name. Here is the Common Vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) flying with its mouth open to echolocate."

- Kelly Speer, Biodiversity Genomics Fellow Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural Historyand Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute #BatWeek #BatAppreciation #Bats #Halloween

📸 M. Brock Fenton

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The National Museum of Natural History is right off of the blue and orange lines of the metro. The Smithsonian station is located at 1200 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20004. For more information see the Washington Area Metro site at http://www.wmata.com/

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