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Latest Smithsonian Stories

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...

Image 1 - Coral Reefs May Support More Biodiversity Than Thought
2011-11-03 04:00:52

Smithsonian scientists and colleagues conducted the first DNA barcoding survey of crustaceans living on samples of dead coral taken from the Indian, Pacific and Caribbean oceans. The results suggest that the diversity of organisms living on the world's coral reefs is seriously underestimated. The team's research "The Diversity of Coral Reefs: What Are We Missing?" was published in October in the journal PLoS ONE. At depths of 26 to 39 feet, the scientists collected dead coral from five...

Scientists Determine Family Tree For Most-endangered Bird Family In The World
2011-10-21 03:44:28

Using one of the largest DNA data sets for a group of birds and employing next-generation sequencing methods, Smithsonian scientists and collaborators have determined the evolutionary family tree for one of the most strikingly diverse and endangered bird families in the world, the Hawaiian honeycreepers. Not only have the researchers determined the types of finches that the honeycreeper family originally evolved from, but they have also linked the timing of that rapid evolution to the...


Word of the Day
bellycheer
  • Good cheer; viands.
  • To revel; to feast.
The word 'bellycheer' may come from 'belle cheer', "good cheer".
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