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Latest Smithsonian Stories

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2011-08-17 12:35:00

Scientists from the Smithsonian and partnering organizations have discovered a new eel that inhabits an undersea cave in the Pacific Ocean which they have dubbed a "living fossil". The U.S.-Palauan-Japanese team had to create a new taxonomic family to describe its relationship to other eels. The team say the eel's features suggest it has a long and independent evolutionary history stretching back 200 million years. The animal is brown and has very few of the anatomical characteristics of...

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2011-07-25 10:10:00

A genetic study focusing on the Central American river turtle (Dermatemys mawii) recently turned up surprising results for a team of Smithsonian scientists involved in the conservation of this critically endangered species. Small tissue samples collected from 238 wild turtles at 15 different locations across their range in Southern Mexico, Belize and Guatemala revealed a "surprising lack" of genetic structure, the scientists write in a recent paper in the journal Conservation Genetics. The...


Word of the Day
barghest
  • A goblin in English folklore, often appearing in the shape of a large dog and believed to portend imminent death or misfortune.
  • A ghost, wraith, hobgoblin, elf, or spirit.
The origin of 'barghest' is not known, but it may be from perhaps burh-ghest, town-ghost, or German Berg-geist (mountain spirit) or Bär-geist (bear-spirit).
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