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Latest National Museum of Natural History Stories

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2009-05-30 05:45:00

The prestigious Smithsonian Museum has been overrun with insects. A brand new exhibit, "Farmers, Warriors, Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants," debuts Saturday at the National Museum of Natural History and is open through Oct. 10. The display will include a living leaf-cutter ant colony from Ted Schultz, the museum's curator of ants. Also on display is a 6-foot-tall cast of an ant colony collected by Walter Tschinkel, a student of ant-nest architecture at Florida State University. There will...

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2008-12-11 17:04:42

A group of five endemic and recently extinct Hawaiian songbird species were historically classified as "honeyeaters" due to striking similarities to birds of the same name in Australia and neighboring islands in the South Pacific. Scientists at the Smithsonian Institution, however, have recently discovered that the Hawaiian birds, commonly known as the oo's and the kioea, share no close relationship with the other honeyeaters and in fact represent a new and distinct family of birds "”...

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2008-12-02 13:08:45

Researchers are getting a more detailed understanding of what people ate thousands of years ago in what is now Peru, thanks to poor dental hygiene back then. According to a report in Monday's online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, dental plaque scraped from the teeth of people who lived as much as 9,200 years ago revealed traces of cultivated crops, including squash and beans. The report by Dolores Piperno, a staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research...

2008-10-02 03:00:25

By Buden, Donald W Abstract: Eleven species of reptiles are reported from Nauru in the first systematic treatment of the herpetofauna. Four of the species are marine; the seven others include six lizards (four geckos, two skinks) and one snake. Gehyra mutilata (Wiegman), G. oceanica (Lesson), Pelamis platura (Linnaeus), and Ramphotyphlops braminus (Daudin) are recorded on Nauru for the first time. With the exception of Emoia arnoensis Brown & Marshall, which is endemic to eastern...

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2008-06-19 09:21:02

In time for National Pollinator Week, June 22 through June 28, biologists have completed an online effort to compile a world checklist of bees. They have identified nearly 19,500 bee species worldwide, about 2,000 more than previously estimated. There is a current crisis known as "colony collapse disorder," an unexplained phenomenon that is wiping out colonies of honey bees throughout the United States. This has highlighted the need for more information about bee species and their...

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2008-04-10 01:00:00

Researchers at the National Museum of Natural History, Paris were thrilled to finally confirm that a slab of Lebanese limestone depicts the body of a snake with two legs.Researchers at the European Light Source (ESRF) in Grenoble, France used a high-powered super camera to validate their suspicions about the fossilized reptile.Alexandra Houssaye, from the National Museum of Natural History, Paris, said that the X-ray technique is useful because it allows researchers to get an in-depth glimpse...

2008-02-14 00:30:00

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History will open a new butterfly pavilion this Friday.  The exhibit, called "Butterflies and Plants:  Partners in Evolution", will be a permanent part of the museum and will provide visitors the opportunity to interact with the colorful monarchs up close and learn about their close relationship with plants over millions of years.  The pavilion will be located next to the insect zoo, and will contain tropical gardens, brightly...

2007-05-25 07:59:27

WASHINGTON (AP) - A new exhibit that really dishes the dirt is in the planning stages at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Seeking to plow new fields of knowledge, the Fertilizer Institute announced it is making a $1 million grant to the museum to create an exhibit on soil science. "Through our sponsorship of the exhibit, we hope the museum's over 6 million visitors annually will gain a greater appreciation of the role modern agriculture plays in sustaining healthy soils,"...

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2007-02-21 11:15:00

WASHINGTON -- It's a mystery even for researchers at the Smithsonian Institution: What happened to the huge crowds at the National Air and Space Museum? The estimated number of visitors to the museum plunged to about 5 million in 2006 from a six-year high of 9.4 million in 2003, according to the latest attendance report from the museum complex. And the decline has been far sharper than that of the overall Smithsonian, which includes 18 museums and the National Zoo. Last year, attendance at...