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Latest Smithsonian Stories

Image 1 - Fossil Feathers Reveal Lineage Of Extinct, Flightless Ibis
2011-11-23 04:07:43

A remarkable first occurred recently at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History when ornithologists Carla Dove and Storrs Olson used 700- to 1,100-year-old feathers from a long extinct species of Hawaiian ibis to help determine the bird's place in the ibis family tree. The feathers are the only known plumage of any of the prehistorically extinct birds that once inhabited the Hawaiian Islands. Discovered with a nearly complete skeleton, the feathers retained enough microscopic...

Smithsonian Channel To Air Special 'Arthur Christmas' Segment Featuring NASA Spinoff Technology
2011-11-22 04:38:10

[ Watch the Video ] Have you ever been curious about where all the technology in your school, home, car, computer, or office comes from? You might be surprised that a great percentage of the technology we rely on each day was developed or enhanced by NASA. We all know about NASA's outstanding accomplishments in space, but few of us know just how much the space agency has accomplished right here at home. Except for Arthur. Arthur Christmas, that is. This year in the holiday release of...

Whale Skeletons, Other Fossils Discovered at Chilean Construction Site
2011-11-20 06:19:37

A team of researchers from the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History have been racing the clock to extract whale skeletons and other marine fossils from the Atacama Desert Region of northern Chile, according to published reports Friday. According to Carolyn Gramling of Science Insider, experts from the Washington D.C.-based museum discovered more than 20 complete whale skeletons and approximately 80 individual specimens, in addition to other types of marine mammals,...

Image 1 - Ancient Shark Attack Preserved In Fossil Whale Bone
2011-11-11 05:36:51

A fragment of whale rib found in a North Carolina strip mine is offering scientists a rare glimpse at the interactions between prehistoric sharks and whales some 3- to 4-million years ago during the Pliocene. Three tooth marks on the rib indicate the whale was once severely bitten by a strong-jawed animal. Judging by the 6 centimeter spacing between tooth marks, scientists believe the attacker was a mega toothed shark Carcharocles megalodon, or perhaps another species of large shark which...

Image 1 - Researchers Identify Sea Turtle 'Hitchhikers'
2011-11-09 04:18:20

"It is strange to think of a sea turtle as an ecosystem," says Amanda Feuerstein, program coordinator and research assistant at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, "but they are“¦they have all of these other animals living on their skin and shells." Feuerstein is co-author of a recent survey documenting the crustaceans, mollusks, algae and other marine organisms that make a home on the bodies Olive Ridley and green sea turtles living in the Pacific. For...

Image 1 - Air Pollution Fertilizes Tropical Forests
2011-11-04 03:15:28

Scientists braved ticks and a tiger to discover how human activities have perturbed the nitrogen cycle in tropical forests. Studies at two remote Smithsonian Institution Global Earth Observatory sites in Panama and Thailand show the first evidence of long-term effects of nitrogen pollution in tropical trees. "Air pollution is fertilizing tropical forests with one of the most important nutrients for growth," said S. Joseph Wright, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research...


Word of the Day
tessitura
  • The prevailing range of a vocal or instrumental part, within which most of the tones lie.
This word is Italian in origin and comes from the Latin 'textura,' web, structure.