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Latest Smithsonian Stories

Fungi-filled Forests Critical For Endangered Orchids
2012-01-25 04:15:43

Older forests with just the right fungi may be secret to saving vulnerable plants When it comes to conserving the world's orchids, not all forests are equal. In a paper to be published Jan. 25 in the journal Molecular Ecology, Smithsonian ecologists revealed that an orchid's fate hinges on two factors: a forest's age and its fungi. Roughly 10 percent of all plant species are orchids, making them the largest plant family on Earth. But habitat loss has rendered many threatened or...

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,...


Word of the Day
negawatt
  • A unit of saved energy.
Coined by Amory Lovins, chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute as a contraction of negative watt on the model of similar compounds like megawatt.