Superstitious sitings may have a root in human evolution
October 28, 2011 | By Sarah Zielinski
Three color varieties each have advantages and disadvantages relative to the others
October 26, 2011 | By Sarah Zielinski
A new analysis of a 2-million-year-old hominid shows that it had an intriguing mix of australopithecine and Homo-like traits
September 09, 2011 | By Erin Wayman
When the Ice Age began, these large mammals spread out to northern Asia and Europe
September 02, 2011 | By Sarah Zielinski
“Talking” apes are not just the stuff of science fiction; scientists have taught many apes to use some semblance of language
August 11, 2011 | By Erin Wayman
Project Nim and Rise of the Planet of the Apes are very different movies, but both question the ethics of chimpanzee research
August 05, 2011 | By Erin Wayman
What does a music teacher do when he ends up teaching science?
July 13, 2011 | By Sarah Zielinski
Do camouflaged predators explain why monkeys, apes and other primates evolved superior eyesight?
June 22, 2011 | By Erin Wayman
Humans may be near the top of the food chain now, but who were our ancestors’ biggest predators?
June 21, 2011 | By Rob Dunn
A newly released book brings new insight into the trial attorney made famous by the Scopes monkey trial
June 11, 2011 | By T.A. Frail
Smithsonian readers may recognize the Liaoning province of China as the place where amazing fossils of bird-like dinosaurs have been found:In a pine forest in rural northeastern China, a rugged shale slope is packed with the remains of extinct creatures from 125 million years ago, when this part ...
April 08, 2011 | By Sarah Zielinski
In 1925, John Scopes, a high school biology teacher, was put on trial in Tennessee for having the audacity to teach evolution to his students. In the 21st century, teachers don't have to worry about being arrested for teaching this fundamental topic in science, and the Supreme Court declared teachi...
April 04, 2011 | By Sarah Zielinski
This is the story of a missing link that never was
April 01, 2011 | By Sarah Zielinski
For animals in the Northern Hemisphere, this is a pretty exciting time. The day length is steadily increasing, which is the primary signal to seasonal breeders that it is time to seasonally breed. Hibernating species such as chipmunks wake up with enlarged gonads and ready to go; songbirds start si...
March 08, 2011 | By Laura Helmuth
Aah, springtime. Crocuses are blooming, squirrels are cavorting, birds are singing ... and the HVc region of the neostriatum, the robust nucleus of the archistriatum and area X of the parolfactory lobe are recrudescing. Those are the bits of a male bird's brain responsible for singing, and they are...
March 07, 2011 | By Laura Helmuth
Name: Quagga (Equus quagga quagga)Description: A type of zebra from South Africa whose stripes faded below the neck. Once thought to be a separate species, scientists who have performed DNA analyses on zebras now say that the quagga is a subspecies of the plains zebra.Why the Quagga is "Lost": Larg...
March 01, 2011 | By Sarah Zielinski
If the movie Jaws scared you away from swimming, perhaps you should avoid the "Journey through Time" section of the Sant Ocean Hall at the National Museum of Natural History. There you'll find a collection of fossil marine life dating back as far as 500 million years ago. In one case is possibly th...
January 26, 2011 | By Sarah Zielinski
Do you remember the doll Great-aunt Mary gave you for Christmas when you were six? You could never figure out why that doll made you uncomfortable. She was meant to be pretty and lifelike, but she stared at you from the top shelf in the bedroom and gave you the occasional nightmare. You couldn't ex...
December 22, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
Announcing your presence would seem to be a bad strategy for a bird that survives through kleptoparasitism—stealing food from others. But that's just what the fork-tailed drongo (Dicrurus adsimilis) of the Kalahari Desert does. And the drongos seem to have taken some lessons from the Italian mafia,...
December 15, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
Originally mistaken for dinosaur fossils, whale bones uncovered in recent years have told us much about the behemoth sea creatures
December 01, 2010 | By Brian Switek